The Winter War Monument is a field with thousands of natural stones erected in memory of Finnish and Red Army soldiers who fell in the Battle of Suomussalmi in 1939-40. The field is encircled by forest battered by artillery. The idea of the monument is to use visual means to make people think about the suffering and havoc wrought by war. The memorial is also a tribute to all veterans of the Winter War. Some 900 Finnish soldiers fell in Suomussalmi. No-one is able to count the exact number of Red Army lives lost. Although immediately after the Winter War, Finland estimated the number of lives lost to be around 24,000, estimates have varied greatly through the years. Two Red Army divisions, the 163rd and 44th rifle divisions, crossed the border into Finland at Suomussalmi. During the Winter War a Soviet division was around 17,500 men strong. The 44th division was virtually entirely wiped out along Raate Road.
The “Open Embrace” memorial in the middle of the Winter War Monument has 105 brass bells, one for each day of the Winter War. The bells ring in the wind. The Winter War Monument covers 3 hectares and has around 17,000 large natural stones, which visualise the numbers and suffering of the victims of war.