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Finland

Main attractions

Olavinlinna castle, Finland
Olavinlinna castle / Walter Rodriguez, Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0

Tlandscape and art of this northern land is somewhat restrained, but nevertheless Finland offers diverse and interesting landmarks. The most exciting among them are archaeological and architecture monuments.

Natural landmarks

Uvarovite from Outokumpu Mine, Finland
Wonderful crystal of uvarovite over 8 mm, from Outokumpu Mine, Finland / Wikimedia Commons, Rob Lavinsky. CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Björkö (Korsholm) moraine ridges - Kvarken Archipelago, Ostrobothnia. Impressive landscape formed 10,000 - 24,000 years ago by De Geere moraines formed by the melting of continental ice sheet. Area is experiencing one of the quickest uplifts in the world, 8 - 10 mm per year.
  • Julma Ölkky canyon lake - Northern Osthrobotnia. Impressive, narrow, more than 3 km long lake surrounded by up to 50 m (100 m?) high granite cliffs. Ancient paintings.
  • Karikkoselkä - Central Finland. Lake of approximately round form, formed in meteorite impact crater. Diameter of the crater is 1.4 km, depth 150 m, but now the lake is 26 m deep. Formed approximately 240 million years ago, in Triassic period.
  • Lostenen - Ostrobothnia. Largest (at least - tallest) erratic boulder (piece of bedrock moved by glacier) in Finland, 16 m high.
  • Outokumpu uvarovite - Northern Karelia. Here are found the most beautiful uvarovites - rare green garnets, which reach 2 cm size and often are lucid.
  • Paasselkä devils - Southern Savonia. Light phenomena occasionally appearing above Lake Paasselkä and areas near it, mentioned since 18th century. Usually it is ball of light which sometimes behaves as if has its own will. Paasselkä lake has formed in meteorite crater.
  • Pihtsusköngäs - Lapland. The most powerful waterfall in Finland, height 17 m.
  • Ylämaa spectrolite - South Karelia. This area has the highest concentration of spectrolite - unique iridescent variety of labradorite feldspar.

Man made landmarks

Archaeological monuments

Värikallio rock art, Finland
Värikallio rock art / Aleksi Stenberg, Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0

The specific geology of Finland with its numerous bare rock surfaces and boulders as well as sparse population have been beneficifal for preservation of interesting archaeological monuments which are lost elsewhere in the world. This includes interesting stone settings, including numerous labyrinths and cliff paintings.

  • Astuvansalmi rock paintings - Southern Savonia. Group of 65 rock paintings at the rocky shores of lake Yövesi. The paintings possibly are made in 2200 - 3800 BC, they show elks, people, boats and other features.
  • Finby stone labyrinth, Nauvo - Finland Proper, Vartiosaari stone labyrinth in Helsinki, Uusimaa, Mustaviiri stone labyrinth (Kymenlaakso) and approximately 100 other stone labyrinths (jatulintarha) are found along the coast of Finland. The oldest may be from Viking time, while the newest - even from the 19th century.
  • Lampuvuori cliff painting on Valkeisaari - Saimaa Lake, South Karelia. Faint paintings on a cliff of this island show boat with elk-head sculpture as a prow and four figures in this boat and another undecipherable painting. Below these drawings have been found pottery sherds, bones. Painting possibly is made in 3600 BC. Cliff itself resembles a giant sculpture of man - this might be a reason why this site has been special to ancient people.
  • Pattijoki Kastelli - Northern Ostrobothnia. Prehistoric structure, built approximately 2000 BC. It represents a stone circle - 36 x 62 m large, 2 m high rampart with 6 gateways. There are more, although less impressive kastelli in Finland.
  • Sammallahdenmäki - Satakunta. Impressive Bronze Age burial site consisting of 36 granite cairns of different styles. Developed in 1,500 - 500 BC.
  • Shrine of Ukonsaari (Äijih) - Lapland. Ancient sacred site of Saami people with Ukonkivi - sacrifice stone. Possibly used by Saami until 19th century. Contains also sacrifice cave on western side - a fragment of silver jewelry was found here.
  • Värikallio rock art - Kainuu. Oldest rock paintings in Northern Finland, drawn circa 1500 - 2500 BC. Among other shows also humans with triangular heads.
  • Wolf Cave of Vargberget (Susiluola) - Ostrobothnia. Large cavern in granite rocks, unique in Northern Europe as it shows that people lived here, in this cave before the last Ice Age, 120,000 years ago.

Churches

Petäjävesi old church, Finland
Petäjävesi old church - unique wooden church from 18th century / Honza Soukup, Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Helsinki Cathedral - Helsinki, Uusimaa. Imposing domed building in Neoclassical styloe, built in 1830 - 1852. One of symbols of Helsinki.
  • Kerimäki Church - Southern Savonia. Considered to be the largest wooden church in the world, built in 1844 - 1847, 37 m high, suited for 3,000 people.
  • Petäjävesi old church - Central Finland. Unique wooden church built in 1763 - 1765, clock tower in 1821. It is considered that the church is built in Renaissance style even with some Gothic influences that late.
  • Temppeliaukio Kirkko - Helsinki, Uusimaa. Rock cut church, made in 1969. Topped by unusual dome made of copper wire.
  • Turku Cathedral - Turku, Finland Proper. National shrine of Finland, one of historically most important buildings in Finland. Consecrated in 1300, belongs to the brick gothic style characteristic for Northern Europe of this time.

Fortresses and castles

  • Olavinlinna - Savonlinna, Southern Savonia. Impressive medieval castle from 15th century, the northernmost medieval castle of the world still in use. Located on small granite island.
  • Suomenlinna (Sveaborg) - Helsinki, Uusimaa. Enormous fortress complex, built on six islands. Construction started in 1748 by Swedes, further fortified by Russians in 19th century and early 20th century. Idea of star fort here has been adjusted to rocky islands.
  • Turku Castle - Turku, Finland Proper. Largest surviving medieval castle in Finland and oldest building in Finland still in use. Construction started in 1280 by Swedes, mainly built in 16th century.

Other monuments of architecture

Old Rauma, landscape with hedgehog, Finland
Old Rauma, note the hedgehog crossing the street / Wikimedia Commons, user Pöllö. CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Bengtskär - Finland Proper. 52 metres high lighthouse built in 1906, very impressive addition to the rocky landscape of this southernmost inhabited place in Finland.
  • Cliff carvings of Gaddtarmen (Hauensuoli) - Uusimaa. More than 600 carvings left in the granite cliffs of small island, the oldest from 15th century AD. Many carvings contain coats of arms of local noble families. Carvings represent a kind of "guestbook" left by sailors.
  • Helsinki Central railway station - Helsinki, Uusimaa. Beautiful national romanticism architecture by Eliel Saarinen, built in 1909 - 1919.
  • Old Porvoo - Eastern Uusimaa. Second oldest town in Finland, retained medieval street network and numerous old wooden buildings, including a group of unique storage houses.
  • Old Rauma (Vanha Rauma) - Satakunta. Unique, well preserved complex of 19th century historical wooden architecture complete with historical streets, typical for Northern Europe.
  • Paimio Sanatorium (Paimio Hospital) - Finland Proper. Great example of modernist architecture, built in 1929 - 1932, designed by Alvar Aalto. Also the interior and furniture was designed in harmony with the building.
  • Päijänne Water Tunnel - Southern Finland. World's second longest continous rock tunnel after Delaware Aqueduct in United States. 120 kilometres long, runs 30 - 100 m under the surface. Tunnel is large enough for truck to go through. Provides fresh water to large cities of Southern Finland. Built in 1972 - 1982.
  • Verla Groundwood and Board Mill - Kymenlaakso. Well preserved factory settlement from 19th century, formed around paper mill working on water power. It was founded in 1872, operated until 1964. Preserved technological equipment.

List of described attractions by regions

Finland is divided into 20 regions (maakunta).

Åland Islands
Central Finland
Central Ostrobothnia
Eastern Uusimaa
Finland Proper
Kainuu
Kymenlaakso
Lapland
Northern Karelia
Northern Ostrobothnia
Northern Savonia
Ostrobothnia
Päijänne Tavastia
Pirkanmaa
Satakunta
Southern Ostrobothnia
Southern Savonia
ArrowPaasselkä devilsMeteorological phenomena, Site of legends, Impact crater
South Karelia
Tavastia Proper
Uusimaa

Map of Finland