Mikkeli (Swedish: S: t Michel) is a city in Finland and the regional center of Southern Savonia, located on the northwestern shore of Lake Saimaa in the province of Southern Savonia.

The city has a population of 53,028 and an area of ​​3,229.57 km², of which 681.22 km² are water bodies. There are about 700 lakes and ponds in the city. The population density is 20.8 inhabitants / km². Outside the city center and the immediately related areas of Rantakylä and Moisio-Tuukkala, the most densely populated areas are the church villages of the former municipalities of Anttola and Ristiina, the town of Otava and the Asemankylä of Haukivuori.

Mikkeli's neighboring municipalities are Hirvensalmi, Juva, Kangasniemi, Mäntyharju, Pieksämäki, Puumala and Savitaipale.

Mikkeli is located on the watershed between the Vuoksi watershed and the Kymijoki watershed. The city center is on the shores of Saimaa's Savilahti. The lakes in the eastern part of the city belong to the Vuoksi watershed. In the west, the city reaches Puulavesi, which is part of the Mäntyharju route in the Kymijoki watershed. To the north, the city extends to Kyyvesi, which flows into Puulavesi.

The mayor of Mikkeli is Timo Halonen. When the Mikkeli council elected the mayor in the spring of 2015, Halonen won Olli Naukkarinen's vote 33-26. Halonen took up the position in early autumn 2015.

Mikkeli has the largest number of holiday homes in Finland.



The oldest found signs of settlement in the Mikkeli region are from the Stone Age combing period 4000–2000 BC. The finds known from this era consist of dwellings. It has been speculated that the oldest settlements have disappeared under the floodwaters that left the Vuoksi outbreak. Archaeological excavations in the region have been carried out in the Iron Age settlements of Tuukkala, Visulahti, Orijärvi and Kenkävero, among others. The Iron Age castle mountains are the castle mountains of Sairila, Otava, Vatila and Otrala.

Historical time
The oldest written mentions of the settlement of the present-day Mikkeli region date back to 1323 from the Treaty of Peace on Pähkinäsaari, by which the Savilahti pogo (Novgorod parish) was transferred from Novgorod to Sweden. According to the archangel Michael, the place Mikkeli was named at the beginning of the 16th century at the latest. The members of the German colony moved to the shores of Lake Tarsalanjärvi in ​​1540, to the then parish of Vesulahti (Visulahti). Mikael Agricola paid an inspection visit to Savilahti in 1549.

In the Battle of Suur-Savo of the Mallet War in 1597, more than 200 peasant rebel soldiers were killed in the Mikkeli parish rectory in Kenkävero.

In the War of Gustav III, in 1789, a few kilometers south of the church village of Mikkeli, the Battle of Porrassalmi was fought, in which Swedish-Finnish troops won the victory over the overwhelming Russians.

Mikkeli received city rights in 1838 from the Russian emperor Nicholas I. Its town plan was drawn up by C. L. Engel. The formula was a grid layout, with most blocks comprising six plots. The county government of Mikkeli county, founded in 1831, moved from Heinola to Mikkeli in 1843.

The time of independent Finland
During the Civil War (1918), Mikkeli was one of the places from which the activities of the government, the forces of the Republic of Finland, ie the whites, were led. During the Second World War, during the Winter, Continuation and Lapland Wars (1939–1940, 1941–1944 and 1944–1945), the Finnish Army headquarters were located in Mikkeli and the war leadership was housed in the Mikkeli Central School, completed in 1902. was opened in 1989. Due to the location of the headquarters, Mikkeli was one of the most bombed cities in Finland during the war. During the Second World War, the Liaison Staff of the Nazi German Army Nord also operated in Mikkeli. After the war, a settler from Raud was stationed in Mikkeli.

Mikkeli is the only Finnish place to have been awarded the Cross of Liberty - the 4th grade Cross of Liberty with its swords - in 1944 as a thank you for serving as the headquarters city in every four wars of independent Finland. The coat of arms of the city bears the coat of arms of Mikkeli, at the top of which there are two crossed marshal sticks, also in memory of serving as the headquarters.

In August 1986, a car exploded on the outskirts of Mikkeli Square during a police siege, which had escaped the man who had robbed the Kansallis-Osake-Pankki branch in Jakomäki, Helsinki, the previous day. The blast killed a bank robber and one of his three hostages. The series of events is known as the Mikkeli hostage drama.

In the county reform in 1997, Mikkeli became the capital of the Province of Eastern Finland and, after the counties ceased to exist, the headquarters of the Regional State Administrative Agency of Eastern Finland and the Etelä-Savo Center for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment in 2010.

In 2001, Mikkeli, Anttola and the rural municipality of Mikkeli merged to form the new city of Mikkeli. Haukivuori joined Mikkeli in 2007, and in 2013 Ristiina and Suomenniemi also joined Mikkeli.