ABOUT KÖKAR

Kökar - The nature of Kökar is in many respects completely different from that on Main Åland, the landscape is dominated by naked gray bedrock of gneiss, covered in small brushwood, with alder, birch and juniper and by the open sea with the thousands of treeless islands and skerries.



The hunting site at Otterböte is the oldest sign of human activity in the Kökar archipelago and the only one from the Bronze Age. In the late medieval period, Kökar became a very important fishing area, and at the same time the islands were used as a harbor on international sailing routes. These factors led, around 1450, to the foundation of a Franciscan friary. The building complex, located on the small island of Hamnö (the Harbor Island), has been subject to extensive archeological investigation. In the past, the economy of Kökar was almost entirely based on fishing and hunting. Most important was the seasonal fishing for Baltic herring that took place at the outmost skerries Ören and Mörskär.

Today, the economy of Kökar is dominated by tourism, transport and tourism-related industry, combined with some farming. The area of the island is around 58 km/sq. The population reached its maximum around 1920, when some 1000 people lived in the five villages. In 2011, the permanent population amounted to about 260.

An artisans' village will be founded by the Kökar rural museum. The aim is to create a working millieu for professional artists and artisans (smithery, ceramics, textile) and a place where seminars and courses will be organized.



The Coast-guard Station has an important function to play in Kökar nowadays, especially during the summer time when houndreds of tourists come to these waters in their own boats. Above the Coast-guard Station are the main parts of the fortifications from both world wars. The remains of the foundations for canons, machinegun posts, roads, barracks and houses etc., are to be found here.



The island of Källskär is situated southwest of the main Kökar. It is an unique place in the Kökar archipelago because of the red granite rock, in various places marked by the passing glaciers of previous ice ages. The stone acre and the Källskär Kettle are remnant of that grim period. The Kettle was hollowed by rocks set in rotation by water from melting glaciers. In the 1960s a Swedish Count Åkerhielm erected remarkable building constructions on Källskär, designed by the famous Finnish architects Reima and Hilkka Pietilä. Today, the buildings are mainly used by Nordic artists visiting the island.



The Åland Islands form a bridge between Sweden and Finland in the Baltic Sea, geographically as well as culturally. The largest islands so called Main Åland are situated in the northwest, and here live today most of the 25,000 inhabitants of the Åland Islands. Mariehamn, the only town in the Åland Islands, is the administrative capital of Åland and the seat of its parliament and government. The Åland Islands are an autonomous province of Finland, which means that the inhabitants of Åland largely manage their internal affairs themselves. The Åland Islands are exempt from military service, since Åland is a demilitarized zone.



An extensive archipelago of nearly 6,500 small islands and skerries, divided into six different parishes, stretches to the east and the southeast from Main Åland. Kökar is the outmost one, located at the edge of the open Baltic.
The atmosphere of the archipelago is intensively affected by the seasonal changes. In winter the days are short as the sun stays behind the horizon most of the time, while in summer the midnight sun disappears only for an hour every night.



The archipelago is a world of contradictions, it is calm and wild, large and little, rich and poor, all at the same time, and this has had an effect on the traditions and the lifestyle of people living on the islands. In earlier days, the islands were isolated and therefore the inhabitants had to learn to live on their own; they were fishermen and farmers, they built boats and houses, they sewed their clothes, etc. Everything had to be done at home. Women and men worked together. Therefore, the tradition of handicraft is still living in the Åland Islands.