Punkaharju is one of the most popular holiday area in Finland. It is located in the mid of the Saimaa lake area between and crystal clear lake Puruvesi and lake Pihlajavesi, famous for the Saimaa ringed Seal. The situation ensures the beautiful lakeside scenery.
In the 19th century Punkaharju was the border region between Sweden and Russia and the ridge had great strategic importance. In the Turku peace treaty (1743) the border line was assigned just above Punkaharju and cut the lake Puruvesi into two. The southern part of Kerimäki together with Punkaharju belonged to Emporership of Russia and the northern part was a part of the Kingdom of Sweden.
On June the 13th 1803 Russian emperor Alexander the 1.st visited Punkaharju. It was a military inspection trip to the South Eastern forefront of the empire. After seeing the beauty of Punkaharju he ordered a ban to cut log and fertilize the ground by the traditional method of burning the forest. In 1843 Punkaharju was made a royal woods area. 1990 it was made a conservation area.