Hupisaaret islands – a green oasis in the town centre
The Hupisaaret islands are a green oasis in the immediate vicinity of the centre of Oulu. The area consists of several dozen small islands in the Oulu estuary, separated from each other by picturesque streams. Grouped together by white bridges, the lush islands have parks as well as almost unspoiled meadows and groves.
The River Oulujoki estuary with its islands is a regionally valuable landscape area. The history of the Hupisaaret islands dates back to the seventeenth century. In the eighteenth century, the islands were used for grazing and hops and other plants were grown there. In the nineteenth century, the Hupisaaret islands were reconditioned and a daycare centre was opened, making them a park for the whole town. In 1826, a topiary garden was opened in the park area. The nature of the area went wild after the wars, until in the 1960s the dams and bridges were repaired and the University of Oulu botanical garden was established. The legacy of the botanical garden later transferred to Linnanmaa, and it continues to flourish on two of the islands, Paratiisisaari and Kiikkusaari.
Kiikkusaari is home to the Hupisaaret central playground, a barbeque area, a summer cafe, a rose garden and a sample greenhouse open to the public.
The Hupisaaret islands also include the northern Ostrobothnian museum, the Oulu Museum Of Art, the new architecturally impressive summer theatre pavilion, and the Merikoski fishway built along the River Oulujoki are also places to visit. The fishway allows migratory fish to rise from the sea past the power plant upstream of the River Oulu. Remnants of salmon weirs and of an embanked bypass waterway for tar boats can be seen near the fishway.
Late in the autumn in the Hupisaaret streams, endangered sea trout can be seen spawning. The Lasaretinsaari area is one of the most culturally important sites in northern Ostrobothnia in terms of its history, buildings and overall landscape.