The area of Rauha and Tiuruniemi was shaped by the ice age over ten thousand years ago. Historians estimate that the area was first inhabited some 5000-6000 years ago.
Travel entrepreneur Gustaf Alm
In the nearer past Imatra and Rauha has been a popular tourist destination from 1800. The area has long traditions in spa and hotel activities. As early as 1894 the area’s first hotel spa - Rauha pensionaat för turister - was established by area’s first real travel industry entrepreneur Gustaf Alm.
Alm continued until 1912 when a Russia-born physicist Dimitri Gabrilovitsch bought the place to transform it into a sanatorium. The clinic’s services were quite exotic at the time: dozens and dozens of different kinds of baths as well as galvanic and bright light treatments. Even the food was modern: diet and vegetarian meals were served regularly.
The clinic had visitors from Russia, Poland, Romania, Prussia and even America. The visitors were the celebrities of the time: counts, countesses, princes and princesses from the Tsar’s court, not to mention the numerous business men.
The clinic becomes a hospital
The original building burned down in 1923, after which the area was sold to the hospital district of Viipuri. A new hospital building was built and taken into use in November 1926. The hospital was designed by architects Axel Mörn and Jalmari Lankinen. During the WW2 the building acted as a military hospital and in 1946–1954 it was also a maternity hospital. The hospital was closed in 2000.
The new beginning, the construction work is already in progress
Now more than a century later Saimaa Gardens continues those old traditions.
In 2005, the area was purchased by the city of Joutseno. In June 2006, Miriensis Oy and the city made a planning and development agreement. According to it, Miriensis Oy is in charge of developing the service structure of the whole area. Joutseno will invest 10,7 million Euros on the infrastructure of the Saimaa Gardens.
The general plan for the Saimaa Gardens resort was approved in May 2007. The construction work for the area’s road network, water and electricity is in progress and will be partially finished in spring 2008. The project is scheduled to be finalized by 2015.
Honoring the colorful history of the area has been one of the design principles of Saimaa Gardens. Old and new buildings will form a functional whole. The area’s total permitted building volume is 187,000 square meters.