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"May they have the privilege to burn tar and build tar burning pits in the forests" is written in the town privileges granted to Oulu and signed by the Swedish king Charles IV on 26 September 1610. (City archives of Oulu HI:1 OMA)
The golden age of the Finnish tar trade began around the same time as the founding of Oulu. Except for its salmon and butter, the city was also well known for its tar. The protected site Turkansaari, an island outside the coast of Oulu, is situated along the old tar transport route and maintains its tar burning traditions. In June, a tar burning pit is built up from pyre and its lighting on Midsummer Day marks the beginning of tar burning week. Today, children no longer enjoy eating the "tears" of the tar burning pit, but prefer salty liquorice out of candy boxes. But history lives on by telling stories and upholding traditions.
Warm cobblestones caress my bare feet, the street surface smoothed by years of cartwheels and history. High heels are easy to carry; water dripping from my skirt hem points to a midnight swim at Kiikeli Island. The kiss we just exchanged tingles my lips, a clover flower bobs behind my ear. Over the Hupisaari islands the sun is already blazing; perhaps it didn't set at all last night. The city is still asleep, dreaming of another sun-drenched day in town. Nocturne sounds in my ears, this night belongs to me.