The rock paintings at Syrjäsalmi are reached along a needle-lined path that turns off from the road. Visitors pass between the two large erratic boulders standing guard at the start of the path, and continue to weave their way through the bouldery landscape to the rock painting site. The situation was different thousands of years ago, when our ancestors chose the steep rock wall as the canvas for their rock paintings. Back then, they travelled to the site by boat during the summer or by skiing across the frozen lake in winter, because the water level was higher than it is today. The paintings are estimated to be between 6,000-3,500 years old.

There are two groups of paintings in the Syrjäsalmi rock painting area. The left-hand group contains two stick figures around 5.5 metres above the current water level and the right-hand, more extensive group spans three height levels, containing depictions of figures and a large patch of red colour. The rock paintings were painted with red ochre, possibly mixed with blood, fat or egg yolk. An opalescent layer of silica has accumulated over the millenia and protects the paintings from wear.

The rock paintings were painted onto 1.9-billion-year-old veined gneiss, consisting of dark mica gneiss and lighter granite veins and dikes.

We humans have a tendency to attribute human characteristics to inanimate objects. This is why people often see a human face in the rocks in the rock painting area. Half of the human face can also be found in the steep rock wall of Syrjäsalmi, above the rock paintings.

Contents of the Saimaa Geopark sign at the Syrjäsalmi rock paintings (pdf)

You can also find more information about the Syrjäsalmi rock paintings and how to get there here


Coordinates: x=569860,717 y=6822763,309 (ETRS-TM35FIN)

The above coordinates are working in GPS-devices and for example in service.

The below coordinates are working in Google maps service, which uses geographic coordinates:

Coordinates: 61.532115862, 28.313759248 (ETRS89 maantieteelliset(~WGS84))


Image: Kaisa-Maria Remes