Joensuu is a city and municipality in North Karelia in eastern Finland. It is located in the province of Eastern Finland and is part of North Karelia region. It was founded in 1848. The population of Joensuu is approximately 58,000 (2005).
The European Forest Institute, the University and many other institutes and export enterprises such as Abloy and John Deere Forestry give Joensuu an international flavour.
The city of Joensuu, which was founded by the Czar Nicholas I of Russia in 1848, is the regional centre and the capital of North Karelia. During the 19th century Joensuu was a city of manufacture and commerce. When in 1860 the city received dispensation rights to initiate commerce, former restrictions against industry were removed and the local sawmills began to prosper and expand. Water traffic was improved by the building of the Saimaa Canal. Consequently, a lively commerce between the regions of North Karelia, St.Petersburg and Central Europe was enabled. At the end of the 19th century Joensuu was one of the largest harbour cities in Finland.
Throughout the centuries Karelian traders have plied the Pielisjoki River. The river has always been the lively heart of the city. Canals - completed by 1870 - increased the river traffic. Thousands of steamboats, barges and logging boats sailed along the river during the golden age of river traffic. The Pielisjoki River has also been an important log raft route, providing wood for the sawmills and for the entire lumber industry.
During the last few decades, the formerly modest agrarian town has developed into a vital center of the province. Success in regional annexations, the establishment of the province of Karelia and investments in education have been the most decisive actions in this development. At the beginning of 2009 the municipalities of Eno and Pyhäselkä will become a part of Joensuu. There will then be approximately 72 000 inhabitants in the Joensuu municipal area.
The University of Joensuu has, in twenty-five years, expanded to eight faculties. The University of Joensuu is one of the mainstays for the vitality of the city and so for all North Karelia. Diversified international cooperation in science, industry and commerce benefits the whole region.
The proximity of the eastern border has been an important factor in the history of the city. The Republic of Karelia is once again a significant area for cooperation with nearby regions in Russia. Export companies in Joensuu continue the pre-revolutionary traditions in foreign trade. Joensuu offers varied cultural activities. A series of events - Ilosaarirock, Joensuu Music Winter, Festival of Visual Culture Viscult, Gospel festivals - and the unspoilt environment increase the attractiveness of the city.
Joensuu is sometimes referred to as the 'Forest Capital of Europe', mainly due to the fact that the European Forest Institute is based there. Other forestry research and educational facilities are also based in Joensuu.
Distances to other Finnish cities:
Joensuu has a railway station, which offers intercity connections to Helsinki and local connections to several other places. Numbered bus service is available to all parts of Joensuu. It also has an airport, with flights to Helsinki.