The year was 2015.

The place was Sastamala. A stone-throw away from the famous Nokia municipality.

The spotlight? Kivilinna Stone Castle.  A pile of hand-picked giant stones in a shape of a house. Not just any house, but the one shares an uncanny resemblance to the House emoji: One house in the summer with trees and green bushes and chimney.

I had just arrive to Finland 6 months earlier, keen to learn about my new timbered country ( I believe I still am keen to this day). Everything was mysterious and enchanting. 

The Kivilinna Castle are located in Pirunvuori.

The word Castle might seem like a bit of a stretch, but this studio is quite a different add for a hiking. You wouldn’t know there were house unless you walk closer and noticing the signpost.

The sign tells about painter Emil Danielsson and his wife built the castle and lived there on summer.

The surrounding area seemed like it’s built to hide the Castle itself. In fact, this building was built for a hidden art studio in wilderness. To visit the castle, one must walk a fairly kilometer-long path through the Caravan area at Ellivuorentie 131, Sastamala. 

The walking paths are beautiful! It’s enough to distract you from the Castle’s early sighting on your right side.

For many, the Kivilinna Castle looks like the start of any Grimms Brother’s children story. Dark, sturdy and stumpy plus it was made of humble rocks instead of the famous Romanesque Disney castles and their perfect bricks. Despite it all, Kivilinna, that was completely built in 1913, has its charms with its square roof and narrow chimney. Later I found that the chimney actually works.

The Kivilinna Castle behind the trees looks like an elevated Giant’s house among clouds of grasses.

The walls truly showing off the handy work. Layers by layers of rocks builds like a puzzle. It was built by Emil Danielsson, a Russian born Finnish artist who built this castle from natural stones. No mortar nor other material were used between the stones, simply shaped with sledge hammer and chisel so they fit together and then laid on top of each other. He hired a few local men and after it was built, he displayed some of his art work there. On other occasions he brought water and sandwiches to the castle then sold them to the tourist. 

Side profile of the Castle

In order to give you the idea of how big the building is, here I present my photo standing next to it. My height is 164 cm.

From afar it didn’t seem like it’s a big house but it was large building. Amazing to imagine how people build them in old days.

In 2015, there were art exhibition inside Kivilinna Castle. It was recorded that 2017 were the peak of the amount of visitors: 5.200 visitors. Pirunvuori was a popular place to visit on mid- 1800s already and the government of Sastamala keeps the place open on summer until today. 

One corner of the Kivilinna Castle that day.

One of the art installations.


Another art work and brochure about the castle.

Nestled in 93 meters above the  surrounding lake, The Stone Castle of Kivilinna poses a medieval look. Both from inside and outside.

A stone-made hearth on the corner inside the Kivilinna Castle

The hearth was useable and despite the lack of water source in the area, I read that Emil Danielsson’s wife, Aurora, managed to use it on their visits. It’s such a romanticism of a primitive life!

Chairs made of logs at the Kivilinna Castle

There were also reminder of Emil Danielsson and his wife Aurora’s life inside the castle.

The corner where Emil Danielsson painted were reserved to give more appreciation of the artist’s work space.
The table were displaying photos of the couple, guest book and other details about the art exhibition on the time we visited the Kivilinna Castle in 2015.

All and all, was memorable and pleasing visit to a one of a kind art studio in the woods. I will definitely go back in the future to see what kind of art they are offering in summers. I hope they will show Emil Danielsson’s art one day. Would be interesting to see the finished art of the very person who had the idea of building an unrefined art sanctuary in the wilderness. It’s a brilliant idea to be able to enjoy your own introvert-self among art world’s exhibitionist nature with your loved ones.

Sources :

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