History and culture of the border towns
Gustav II Adolf founded the city of Tornio in 1621. At the time Tornio was the northernmost city of the world. The significance of the medieval trading city grew after the founding and for some years Tornio was the richest city of the Swedish kingdom.
After the War of Finland in 1809 Sweden lost Finland to Russia and the new border was drawn to River Tornio. The village of Haparanda became a part of Sweden and Tornio a part of Russia. Haparanda benefitted from the closeness of Tornio and the newly founded customs. Haparanda became a borough in 1827 and because of the modern buildings constructed, in 1842 Haparanda got town privileges.
The city of Haparanda has gone through many exciting periods during its history. During the First World War the city was a gate between east and west. The amount of goods transported via Haparanda was so massive that the post office had to build an aerial cable line over Tornio River. The line was in use in years 1917-1918.
Thomas Cook, one of the first tour operators, has defined a globetrotter in 1800s. According to him, a globetrotter has visited Timbuktu, Samarkand and Haparanda.