Hostel Ukonlinna’s History
The beautiful nature of the Ukonniemi region on the shore of the Lake Saimaa was still a forested area in the 1930s, which had only small forest roads for horse-drawn carriages and pebbles used by landowners, fishermen and sandy swimmers. As early as 1930, the Board of Imatra Workers ‘College considered a summer vacation place to be established in Ukonniemi, but only in 1938 they got the permission from the Workers’ Association to build a summer place. Ruokolahti owned the land area where the summer place was planned to be built, so the land was rented from Ruokolahti. Ukonlinna was completed in 1939 largely by student workforce. The funky, lush-like appearance of Ukonlinna has been drawn up by Master Urho Räsänen, and the building has been called Ukonlinna since that day. In 1955, electricity was delivered to the castle and the following year the phone line. The dance floor at Ukonlinna’s property was completed in 1958, and it was rebuilt and roofed in 1999. This dance floor is used to organize several summer dances, weddings and midsummer dances during the summer.
The renovation work was carried out in 1966, when the kitchen and sauna were enlarged and the covered terrace of Ukonlinna facade was built. In 1945, the Workers’ College rented Ukonlinna to Tainionkosken Tähti ry and in 1949 the ownership was transferred to to Tähti altogether. For two years Ukonlinna was used as a summer home for members of the club, but this changed in a couple of years when foreign guests began to visit the castle. In the winter of 1949 Ukonlinna again experienced a new change when the castle was started to be used as a skiing cottage in the winter time. The building was painted in 1954, when Ukonlinna was painted from outside and from inside. In 1952 the dining room was painted as well. The walls got pictures of the different sports that have been carried out by the sports club Tainionkosken Tähti ry. Paintings were made by Aatos Hasu and Veikko Lampinen and they are still existing on the walls of the diningroom.
In 1954, Tainionkosken Tähti ry joined the Finnish hostel association and Ukonlinna became a hostel for the area. Ukonlinna has been operating since then all year round: in winter as a skiing cottage and in summer as serving refreshing drinks and snacks for people on the beach. Today Ukonlinna is a popular hostel with large number of international and Finnish visitors annually.