These southern parts of Karelia are known to be the oldest-settled parts of modern Finland. First markings of Vehkalahti as a continuous settlement or village are dated in 1336, when it had become a major place for east/west trading. The plans to build a town grew slowly as the place become crowded. In 1653 the area surrounding the village church officially became a town, which was called Vehkalahden Uusikaupunki (Swedish: Veckelax Nystad, English: Newtown of Vehkalahti). You can read more of this in the article about Hamina.
While the area in the immediate vicinity of the church building became a town, the surrounding land remained countryside. Formerly the area of Vehkalahti was much larger, almost the entire Kymenlaakso, but later many areas became new municipalities. Biggest population centers are Husula, Salmenkylä, Uusi-Summa, Poitsila and Neuvoton, there are also many rural villages like Reitkalli, Kannusjärvi and Pyhältö.
In literature, Vehkalahti is particularly renowned for its peculiar medieval petty nobility, knaappiaateli (families Husgafvel, Pilhjerta and Brandstaka), which also acted as a link between Vehkalahti and the Vyborg Castle. Built by Swedes, about 100 kilometres (60 mi) east of Vehkalahti, it became a place of great military importance for European east/west foreign communication. Today it is located in Russian territory.
The Vehkalahti church (now known as St. Mary's church, or Marian kirkko in Finnish) was build in the 14th century at the place were the town of Hamina is now.
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