Kajaani (Swedish: Kajana) is a city in Finland and the provincial center of Kainuu, located east of Lake Oulujärvi along the Kajaaninjoki River in Kainuu Province.

Kajaani's neighboring municipalities are Paltamo, Pyhäntä, Siikalatva, Sonkajärvi, Sotkamo, Vaala and Vieremä, of which Paltamo and Sotkamo belong to Kainuu, Pyhäntä, Siikalatva and Vaala to Northern Ostrobothnia, Sonkajärvi and Vieremä to Northern Savonia.

Elias Lönnrot worked as a district doctor in Kajaani from 1833 to 1853, collecting poems for the Kalevala from Viena Karelia. The poet Eino Leino is also one of Kajaani's great figures, and President Urho Kekkonen attended his school at Kajaani Lyceum.

The Kainuu Brigade is located in Kajaani, with a strength of about 4,000 conscripts and about 500 personnel.



Kajaani Castle


The settlement of the Kajaani region has its roots in the past millennia.

The city of Kajaani was founded on March 6, 1651 by Count Peter Brahe as the center of his Free Duchy. A separate rural municipality of Kajaani existed in 1655–1786 and 1897–1977. Its center was to the north of the city and the river. Kajaani had a population of only 400 in the 1650s, and there were a few dozen houses in the city. In 1815 the population was 313 and still in 1900 it was only 1,264 people.

The 20th century was an important time for Kajaani in terms of growth. During World War II, Kajaani suffered hardships, as a significant portion of its residential buildings were destroyed in several bombings. Many commercial buildings in the city center were also destroyed. Construction and population growth were particularly strong, especially in the post-Continuation War period. The city has suffered a loss of migration since the mid-1990s, when young age groups in particular have moved to Oulu, among other places.