Genius loci – Paikalliset pyhiinvaellusreitit Keski-Pohjanmaalla (Genius loci – Local pilgrimage routes in Central Ostrobothnia)

The project has started in 2010, and the focus is on the viable and original cultural heritage in Central Ostrobothnia. At the first stage of the project, about 500 place stories were recorded from the research area and filed to a database. The work is carried out as a part of European wide movement of pilgrimage, spiritual tourism and place spotting of silences but also as a part of the ethical thinking related to environmental and cultural sustainability.

The idea is to concentrate to the places (and narratives) which are located on the bypaths of the highways of rural tourism but also to places which are suitable for self-made, ecological and spiritual travelling. The Latin phrase ‘genius loci’ describes well the pivotal content of the project. It means spirit (genius) of place (loci). Originally it meant guardian spirit of place in ancient Rome.

Target of the project is, hopefully, to find places characterised by different spiritualities. The target is also to search places which hold deeply meaningful human symbols being important for an individual quest of “holy” or “silent” and again, being important for community’s identity building. At long sight, the purpose of the project is that entrepreneurs, associations, public sector and even individual citizens produce and build routes and services for region’s inhabitants and visitors.


Luoto, Ilkka (2011). Genius loci − Paikkoja, kertomuksia ja kulttuuria. Kartoitusvaiheen tuloksia. (Genius loci − Places, stories and culture. Results of the preliminary study in Central Ostrobothnia.) University of Jyväskylä. Kokkola University Consortium Chydenius. (In Finnish.) Available:

Further information: Ilkka Luoto and Olli Rosenqvist

Funding: Leader action groups Pirityiset ry, Rieska-LEADER ry, Keskipiste-Leader ry and Aktion Österbotten r.f. In addition, project has been funded also by Keski-Pohjanmaan liitto, Keskipohjanmaan-säätiö ja Chydenius-Instituutin kannatusyhdistys

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