The page is being refreshed. Route will be officially opened at the end of 2022.
The off-road trail is intended for outdoor walking and mountain biking when there is no snow. The trail has an indicative direction of travel and the trail markings are set accordingly. However, be aware that there may be oncoming traffic on the trail. Dogs must be kept on a leash.Route direction signs and the markings on the trees are in blue.The trail mainly includes off-road paths, forest roads, paths next to railroad tracks, and transitions on pavements and streets. There are also main road crossings on the trail, so use caution.The terrain is very varied in terms of difficulty. The trail contains a few very challenging sections due to the steepness of the trail. Travel the trail at your own risk. Please note that there are roots, rocks and tree trunks on the path sections, which may be slippery when wet. The trail is available when there is no snow, as there is no winter maintenance.
The route also includes two technical tracks, in the sports park (Urheilukuja 1) and Marttinen (Herrasentie 16), where you can practice mountain biking skills.
The maintenance of the trail is the responsibility of the Town of Virrat, tel. +358 3 485 111
The Marttinen house was confirmed as the vicarage of Virrat already in 1696. The house was destroyed in the Finnish War, but the assistant vicar at the time, Karl Fredrik Långhjelm, restored the house at his own expense. In 1823, however, an imperial decree came down, according to which the Marttinen vicarage had to be rebuilt. All the houses in Virrat had to participate in the construction of the main building. The vicarage was completed in 1825 and 1826. The house remained in use until the 1890s.
In 1864, Karl Gustaf Törnqvist's ministry as assistant vicar was in its infancy. He had been elected temporary assistant vicar until Virrat would become an independent parish. This could only be announced after the death of the then vicar of Ruovesi. Time passed and eventually Törnqvist's "temporary" post became a 30-year one. During this period, no major renovations were made to the Marttinen vicarage, as a new vicarage would soon have had to be built when the vicar took office. The old one became badly dilapidated during this wait.
Karl Gustaf Törnqvist can be regarded as the priest who had the greatest influence on the town and its conditions. As a preacher, he was known to be very temperamental, and, at times, he would get carried away with unnecessarily harsh rebukes. Despite all this, however, he was sure that he would be elected as the first vicar of Virrat.
When the vicar of Ruovesi passed the age of 90, a decision was made to start building a new vicarage in Virrat. The requirements were that the building had to be large and that there would be no compromise on its quality. In addition, a separate living building was to be built in the area, which also housed a laundry room and a bakery. The courtyard was also to include a stable, a stone barn, a granary, a food storehouse and a drying barn. Karl’s own son Onni designed the main building Törnqvist, who later changed his surname to Tarjanne.
In 1891, the secular journey of the vicar of Ruovesi came to an end and it was time for the long-awaited election of the vicar. The election took place just before the final completion of the Marttinen vicarage. The election result was unexpected. Törnqvist was not elected vicar. His overtly harsh criticism of others may have led to his downfall. So he was also unable to live in his long-awaited, brand new and magnificent Marttinen vicarage.
According to the story, Karl became very bitter and when he left he said that he would return. Nowadays, it is said that the windows in the Marttinen vicarage close on their own and, sometimes, you may even hear music playing in the house. Has Karl Gustaf finally made it to his vicarage?
Today, the Marttinen vicarage is one of the youth centre's activity spaces, where various events can be organised.
Rajaniemi is a beautiful old parsonage on the shores of Lake Siekkisjärvi. Construction of the house began in 1896, when a decision was made to open a second pastorate in Virrat after the election of the vicar. For the pastor, the Rajaniemi and Rantapappila farmhouses were considered as a home. The committee carefully estimated the costs and finally came to the conclusion that Rajaniemi would be built as a second vicarage. Rajaniemi was a much quieter place to live and would be less expensive, according to the committee. The contractor for the project was Matti Mäkinen.
Rajaniemi, the vicar’s official residence, was completed in 1900. Matti Mäkinen received a lot of praise for a job well done. In reality, he lost out on his contract because the church chose to pay only part of his additional claim during the construction phase.
In 1961, the parish of Virrat sold the parsonage to the Finnish Tuberculosis Association. Rajaniemi became a summer colony for children from poor families with tuberculosis. Later, as medical science improved, tuberculosis declined, reducing the use of Rajaniemi. The building became dilapidated.
In 1974, the Tuberculosis Association sold the parsonage to the Central Association of Finnish Pensioners, which still owns the building today. The new owner thoroughly renovated Rajaniemi, while preserving the building's original appearance. The holiday and training centre began operations in Rajaniemi in 1976.
Despite its name, Rantapappila (“Lakeside Parsonage”) has never been an actual parsonage, but a large farmstead of the vicar's residence Marttinen. However, there were large fields in Rantapappila and the local farmer had two farmhands and two maids to help him.
There is much less information about Rantapappila than the others, but the farm is mentioned in the oldest surviving parish register of Virrat, which dates back to 1749. It can be assumed that the year of construction of the parsonage predates this.