History and Influential People
The name Huittinen appears in documents as early as 1366, when Finland’s ‘Laamanni’ (a legal official) Arvid Kustaanpoika signed a document regarding a border matter here on 27 September. Already in those days Huittinen is mentioned as a rural municipality. Permanent dwellings in the area go back much further; one indication of this is the hill in Sampu known as Räätikäsvuori. The hill was a so-called ‘fortress hill’ during the Finnish Iron Age, to which locals would flee their threatening enemies. Another indication of the age of the town can be found by the number 12 road at the meeting point of Huittinen, Köyliö and Kokemäki meet, where a large stone acts as a border marker. This stone is referred to in documents from the 1400s, and already then it is referred to as an ‘ancient’ marker – so the regional borders must be very old.
The oldest archaeological indications of permanent dwelling found in Huittinen are from the 400s – around 1500 years. Even earlier indications have been found of hunters moving through the area. The best-known find from the Finnish Stone Age is a sculpture of an elk’s head, found in Palojoki (near Huittinen), which is estimated to be 7000 years old.
Karhiniemi is considered Huittinen’s oldest village. Karhiniemi is Huittinen’s only village on the northern side of the river Kokemäenjoki. The first church in Huittinen was in the village in the 1200s, and near it at Hiidenkallio was a spring in which, according to tradition, the first Huittinen Christians were baptised.
On the opposite side of the Kokemäenjoki river to Karhiniemi is the Ripovuori hill, rising 36 metres above the surface of the river. Ripovuori was an important pagan place of worship, and the remains of Bronze Age burial cairns were found there; unfortunately they were destroyed before archaeological excavations were carried out. Stories have circulated for centuries of giants who lived on Ripovuori – and on Pyölönvuori, another, even higher hill.
Huittinen is the birthplace of some influential people: President Risto Ryti, Professor Lauri Leppänen, MP (school head mistress and girls’ school teacher) Ida Vemmelpuu, MP (Archbishop) Erkki Kaila, commercial pioneer Victor Forselius and MP (teacher) Mandi Hannula.
Culturally significant people from Huittinen include jazz musician Jukka Perko.