It happens sometimes that first time visitors to Närpes get a wide eye surprise when they go past the church right outside of the downtown core. Rows and rows of small, red, windowless buildings, app. 150 in total, can be seen there. These are the unique church stables. They were used in the old days for housing horses during the church service. The stables were built for the horses and the long protruding roofs were intended to offer protection for sleighs and buggies.
The oldest preserved church stables stem from the end of the 18th century, but some were built in the beginning of the 20th century. At the most 400 stables were once in use. Nowadays you can walk freely around the area of the church stables, but those who want to know more can also book a guide.
With its 700 km long shoreline, Närpes is a genuine coastal region. Visitors should always make a trip to the archipelago. In the coastal villages there are old fishing posts, where visitors can admire beautiful, old fishing huts, the archipelago nature and of course the sea. In many places there are also local beaches, small summer kiosks and cafés and even an archipelago restaurant.
Imagine lying on a beach, listening to the seagulls and the lapping waves on a cloud free summer day, or watching the sun go down in the Bay of Bothnia on a balmy summer evening. Even in the winter there is a certain charm to the archipelago, when you can take a walk or cross country ski on the ice on a sunny day. Don’t hesitate to contact the tourist information for more information on the hot spots of the archipelago.
The well known preacher and author Frank Mangs was active in Finland, Sweden, Norway and even the U.S.A, during the 20th century. He grew up in the small village of Ståbacka in southern Närpes. His home has now been transferred into an educational institute. The area encompasses Mangsgården, which is the old farmhouse where you can still find traces of Frank Mangs; Tröskhuset with a large auditorium and modern equipment for sound and movies, as well as kitchen and dining hall for 120 people and finally Elisgården with accommodation. There are many events organized in the building and it can also be rented for conferences and such.
If you wish to admire the archipelago from the sea you can make an excursion to the island of Gåshällan located in the Bothnian Sea. The island is a couple of hundred meters wide and about 800 m long. On the north end of the island you can find the former pilot cabin and on the southern part the disused coast guard station. (The southern part of Gåshällan is also called Långbådan.) Both stations are nowadays kept in shape by volunteers. The Gåshällan area is part of Natura 2000. Most of the island is a bird sanctuary, limiting freedom of movement on the island during the breeding season of from May 1 to July 15.
The Pilot Cabin – a gathering point for skippers
The pilot cabin was completed in 1909 and remains today although the pilot station was shut down in 1968. The national Forestry Administration (Metsähallitus) rents Gåshällan to Skepparklubben Närpes. The association has had Gåshällan as its gathering point since 1970. The club’s members take care of maintaining the pilot cabin, the docks, a boathouse, a sauna, a barbecue spot and a playhouse. During summer various activities are organized, such as Open House Day with fish soup, diploma handout and sea dance. In summer time, Gåshällan is today an important gathering place for boaters and others. Gåshällan is meant to be used by everyone. Anyone who wants to can take a dip in the sea and enjoy the wood-burning sauna as well as use the barbecue area.
Gåshällan Nature station
Naturstation Gåshällan r.f. is operating in the former coast guard station since spring 2006. The association aims to promote and develop the conservation of archipelago traditions and archipelago culture, taking into account the sensitive nature and birdlife in accordance with the national Forestry Administration’s (Metsähallitus) directives on the use of land areas.
The nature station is suitable for boaters, school camps, companies, individuals, bird watchers, courses and many other kinds of groups. The station provides accommodation, meeting and sauna services to groups on order.
Nature station website: www.gashallan.fi
Närpes church is one of the medieval churches in Ostrobothnia and its oldest part was built in 1435. Up until the 1770's it was extended several times.
The altarpiece was painted by Swedish church painter Pehr Hörberg in 1803. The most unique item is the crucifix dating back to the 15th century. The pulpit is from the 1730's and six tombstones from the 17th century have been preserved inside the church.
The church stables, the clergy house and the rest of the buildings make this area unique and historically significant.
The church is open mon-fri 8-16
Öjskogsparken is an open-air museum with some 20 historic museum buildings. The main building, Bengtsgården, is an old 18th century farm house with a well preserved interior. Other buildings include Haga’s village store, the school house, the apothecary museum, the green house museum and other functional buildings, a drying house, a windmill and minor log-cabins. In the summer there is a guide in the park as well as many organized events. Guiding can be arranged according to agreement at other times. There is also the possibility to rent a restaurant hall.
The church in Övermark was built 1875-1878, because the parish had been granted independency from the parish of Närpes by the tsar in 1871.
According to the architect Theodor Granstedt the church ought to be painted yellow and the roof painted with tar and red paint, but the architect Krister Korpela gave the church a new look in 1967 by suggesting that the church should be painted in two different shades of purple with white corners and greyish blue ornaments.
In 1933 the painter Axel Haartman from Turku painted the altarpiece, which is three meters tall and depicts the crucifixion. Before the church was built, there was a small school cottage mentioned already in 1674.
In summer the church is open to visitors mon-thu 8-15.
Besides from visiting a farm house from the beginning of the 20th century as well as a windmill and other buildnings, you can also visit a mail expedition museum in Övermark. The first mail post between Vasa and Kristinestad was opened here, and many curios from that time have been preserved.
The construction of the church in Pörtom started in 1781 and it was ready for consecration in September 1783. The bell tower was built in 1790, and the pulpit was made by Natanael Rönnlund in 1818.
During the 20th century several reconstructions and renovations were undertaken. The altarpiece painted by the vicar's daughter Toini Kallio in 1913 was taken into use. The old altarpiece is stored in the attic.
Several old objects can be found in this church: a crucifix made of oak tree, and a chandelier marked in 1762, from a preceding church in Pörtom.
In summer the church is open to visitors mon-thu 8-16.
At Dahlbacken, about 3,5 kilometers north of the center of Pörtom, is Pörtom local history museum. There are many different buildings, such as Ahlholma manor with rare items from Berga Glassworks and Småttgården (a farmhouse from the 18th century) as well as artist Viktor Dahlbo’s studio and school museum. Art exhibitions and other events are often organized at the museum area in the summers.
Operation Stella Polaris was a secret operation during World War II with the intention of moving sensitive intelligence material from Finland to Sweden so that it would not end up in the hands of the Soviets’. The base of the operation was in the little fishing village of Nämpnäs in Närpes, from where the archive was shipped to Swedish harbors. As a memorial, a rock has been raised on Österfjärdsvägen in Nämpnäs.