Fiskars is the best known of a number of ironworks villages that were established in the early 17th century to the Pohja area. A crushing mill was established by the lower rapids in 1649, with a blastfurnace on the opposite bank. The founder of Fiskars ironworks was the Dutch businessman Peter Thorwöste, who was allowed by Queen Christina of Sweden to manufacture cast iron and forged products, with the exception of cannons.
The Russian occupation of Finland (the Great Wrath) affected also Fiskars. Nearby was a center of Russian civilian and military administration, and in 1713 the ironworks at Fiskars and Antskog were plundered and wrecked by the Russians.
The heyday in the history of Fiskars began in 1822 when it was bought by Johan Julin (1787-1853). Under Julin, work at the ironworks focused on refining iron. The ironworks and the village of Fiskars started to grow quickly. In 1850 there were about 500-600 employees and the total number of inhabitants was approximately 1400. Throughout the period from into the 1960s, Fiskars purchased several works and companies in the steel business. In the 20th century the industrial operations required more up-to-date facilities, production was moved to Billnäs.
Today there are many workshops and boutiques providing Finnish handicrafts, arts and design thoughout the Fiskars village and visitors can spend time just wandering around in the beautiful ironworks area.
Sweetheart Abbey was a Cistercian monastery, founded in 1275 by Dervorguilla of Galloway in memory of her husband John de Balliol. His embalmed heart, in a casket of ivory and silver, was buried alongside her when she died; the monks at the Abbey then renamed the Abbey in tribute to her. Their son, also John, became king of Scotland but his reign was tragic and short. The depredations suffered by the Abbey in subsequent periods, have caused both the graves to be lost. The abbey, built in deep-red, local sandstone, was founded as a daughter house to Dundrennan Abbey; this Novum Monasterium (New Monastery), became known as the New Abbey.
The immediate abbey precincts extended to 120,000 m2 and sections of the surrounding wall can still be seen today. The Cistercian order, also known as the White Monks because of the white habit, over which they wore a black scapular or apron, built many great abbeys after their establishment around 1100. Like many of their abbeys, the New Abbey's interests lay not only in prayer and contemplation but in the farming and commercial activity of the area, making it the centre of local life. The abbey ruins dominate the skyline today and one can only imagine how it and the monks would have dominated early medieval life as farmers, agriculturalists, horse and cattle breeders. Surrounded by rich and fertile grazing and arable land, they became increasingly expert and systematic in their farming and breeding methods. Like all Cistercian abbeys, they made their mark, not only on the religious life of the district but on the ways of local farmers and influenced agriculture in the surrounding areas.
The village which stands next to the ruins today, is now known as New Abbey. At the other end of the main street is Monksmill, a corn mill. Although the present buildings date from the late eighteenth century, there was an earlier mill built by and for the monks of the abbey which serviced the surrounding farms.