The word “hurskas” means devout or wise and “vuori” means mountain (in this case a small one). According to auricular tradition, the area of Hurskasvuori is an ancient place where bonfires were burned in May to celebrate and drive away the evil spirits. Later there was a large village swing at the top of the mountain. As rich Iron Age graves have been found in the vicinity, it is likely that Hurskasvuori has been a place for various events since prehistoric times due to its special shape and location.
After medieval time the smooth area on the top of the hill was a popular meeting place and circle dances were danced on spring Sundays. According to D. Skogman’s narration in 1864, the devils were heard and seen in Hurskasvuori! For this reason, the children have always been afraid of the darkest parts of the mountain.
In 1916, the Russians equipped themselves in Finland against the enemy. As the roads from Tottijärvi, Vammala and Turku conjoined in Narva, the area was tactically very important place and had to be fortified for battle. In addition to the Russian management, the large construction site had more than 200 Finnish employees and the popular place was shattered while making trenches. The forts remained unused in their original purpose, but in the battles of Civil War in 1918 there was a Red Army cannon on the mountain.
Covered, wood-reinforced trenches built in the fields were demolished and blocked in the early 1920’s, but the constructions in the forest and on the mountain have preserved quite well. More than a kilometer of trenches can be seen in Hurskasvuori. One large dugout, part of the trench and crew shelter has been restored in 1985. Nowadays the entire area is managed by the Finnish Heritage Agency.
At least since 1906 the Narva Woodwind Orchestra has continued the shepherds first of May playing tradition. According to old beliefs, the farmers’ harvest would fail if the May Day concert was not held. Later, the concert was moved to the center of Narva, where the tradition was continued even in Corona Spring by 7 players without an audience.
The name Hurskasvuori, is mysterious due to its many meanings. While meaning “wise”, the word “hurskas” has also had meanings like “fierce, unrestrained, cheerful, extravagant”, describing quite well the unrestrained history of the mountain. According to the old people, the more original name would be “Urkasvuori”,due to being a place for either sacrifice or spying. The word “urkas” also had a meaning of a border – Hurskasvuori was a border between Narva and Kostiala villages in the Iron Age