In 1831 Mr. Franzen, the owner of the Salahmi Ironworks was given permission to establish a blast furnace and a bar-iron forge at Jyrkkäkoski. The early years were difficult, because Jyrkkäkoski was not at any close distance of main travel routes and sufficient labour was not available. In 1856, the ironworks was obtained by Paul Wahl & Co. as part of a larger consortium. A new Scottish-type blast furnace of English brick was erected at the site in 1874.
The ironworks produced pig and bar iron, as well as nails and cast products. In the early 1900s the Ironworks even had its own small steam boat. Many prominent cultural figures were seen at Jyrkkä, including the author Juhani Aho who courted the beautiful daughter of Brax, the manager of the works. The Jyrkkäkoski Works was in operation unti1 1919.
Finland’s National Board of Antiquities carried out conservation and reconstruction works at Jyrkkäkoski in 1996-98. The old ironworks has become an architectural attraction in North Savo. The blast furnaces now have impressive protective structures. In connection with the Scottish blast furnace is Ruukintupa, a cafeteria serving snacks. "Herrala", the manager’s residence dates from the 1830s and the log buildings in the yard area are even older.
Reference: Sonkajärvi Municipality
Olargues is a good example of a French medieval town and rated as one of the most beautiful villages in France. It was occupied by the Romans, the Vandals and the Visigoths. At the end of the 11th century the Jaur valley came under the authority of the Château of the Viscount of Minerve. The following centuries saw a succession of wars and epidemics, and it was not until the 18th century that Olargues became re-established. This was due to the prosperity of local agriculture and artisanal industry.
The Pont du Diable, 'Devil's Bridge', is said to date back to 1202 and is reputed to be the scene of transactions between the people of Olargues and the devil. The old village is clustered around the belltower, which was formerly the main tower of the castle (Romanesque construction). The old shops have marble frontages and overhanging upper storeys. A museum of popular traditions and art is to be found in the stairs of the Commanderie.