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About Finland

Finland (Fact sheet)
Finland is situated between the West and the East, offering the best of both traditions, Finland was in union with Sweden for more than 600 years, until 1809 when it was incorporated into Russian Empire as a Grand Duchy. On the 6th of December 1917 Finland declared itself free and independent state. Discover Finland's pure and varied nature with four seasons, four different rhythms of living. Spring is green, explosive and energetic. Summer is a long, warm celebration of light and the blue sky. In the midnight sun you just want to dance through the night and enjoy the gift of life. Autumn is cool, crisp. It brings the spectacular colours of "ruska". In the darkness of winter you can enjoy the glistering whiteness of the snow and ice, the starry twilight and the magical Northern Lights dancing in the sky.The beauty of Finland and privacy found in this country are highly appreciated by foreign visitors. With the contrast between unspoiled nature and high level infrastructure, Finland has become a fairly popular tourist destination and one of the top 15 conference destinations in the world. During the last decades Finland has also gained reputation for its rich cultural life with new museums, opera houses and concert halls and the country also stands out as the country of modern "high tech", which all in all giver these visitors vast possibilities.
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By the millennium Helsinki celebrated its 450th anniversary. Finland's intimate and charming capital is truly a crossroads of eastern and western culture, the city is lively but not bustling. With its beautiful location, superb collection of architecture, plenty of comfortable hotels, international culinary delights, world-class museums and performing arts, Helsinki entertains and captivates visitors throughout the seasons. Visit to Senate Square with its monumental buildings and the large Lutheran Cathedral, the Market Square and the harbours, the busy Mannerheim Street, the monolithic Parliament Building, Alvar Aaltos angular Finlandia Hall, the stadium of the 1952 Olympic Games and the Sibelius Monument and do not miss one of Helsinki most unique attractions the famous "Church in the Rock". The city is linked to the nearby islands with ferries and the most interesting of them all is the mighty fortress island Suomenlinna. Helsinki is surrounded by two other cities, Espoo to the East and Vaanta with the Herureka technology and science centre and the international airport to the North.
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The town of Porvoo is an attractive tourist destination, 50 km East from Helsinki. Porvoo is famous of it's old medieval town with cobblestone streets, wooden houses and brick-coloured riverside warehouses. In the Empire-style part of the old town belongs to the classical town plan where the streets form squares. The main sights are the old Cathedral and the home of Finland's greatest poet, Johan Ludvig Runeberg.
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Hameenlinna, 100 km to the North from Helsinki, is the oldest inland town in Finland, founded in 1639. However, Hameenlinna was a trading place hundreds of years before it became a town. The medieval castle is the symbol of the town, and within a short distance from Hameenlinna, there is another important historical monument, the Vanajanlinna castle on the shore of lake Katumajärvi. Hameenlinna is also the birthplace of Finland's greatest composer, Jean Sibelius.
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The first city of Finland and the former Swedish capital was born in 1229. The river Aura flowing to the sea offers boulevards many kilometres long at it banks and for those who want to encounter 700 years of European cultural history the biggest attractions are the Cathedral, the Turku Castle and the Old Town Square, all three of them monumental medieval constructions. Visit also the Luostarinmäki Handicrafts Museum and the Sibeluis Museum.
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Tampere is the largest inland city of all the Nordic Countries, founded in 1779 on the banks of theTammerkoski Rapids. It was the most industrialized locality in Finland during the 19th century. Today it is an important centre of Southern Finland when it comes to education and research. With its two universities, theatres and events focusing on music, literature, arts and architecture Tampere is widely known for its vital cultural life. The main sight is the Tampere Cathedral, build in the National Romantic Style.
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The Lakeland
This eastern area earned Finland the reputation as the land of thousands of lakes, and is an ideal destination when seeking the peace of the countyside or adventure amidst the lakes, rivers and forests. The lake district is the largest in Europe. The whole water district is about the size of Belgium. It is like a blue labyrinth of lakes, rivers and canals connecting vital Lakeland cities like Lappeenranta, Mikkeli, Savonlinna and Kuopio.Lappeenranta is the centre of South Karelia. It is connected with the Saimaa canal into Russia. The canal is a sight in itself and is best experienced by a canal cruise. Mikkeli in the heart of the Lakeland has a number of authentic sights, like the Headquarters Museum and the Lokki Communication Centre. Savonlinna is famous for its Opera Festivals and the Olavinlinna Castle. Kuopio offers in summertime various activities on lakes, as well as cultural attractions.
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The Lapland region north of the Polar Circle with its fells (rounded treeless mountains) differs greatly from the rest of Finland. Lapland offers the spectacle of complete darkness in the winter and constant sun in the summer and the possibility of seeing the Northern Light. The arctic winter takes about six months of the year with its glistering whiteness of the snow and ice. The summers are short and hectic and relatively warm.A visit to the boreal forests in Lapland, perhaps the last true wilderness in Europe, is an unforgettable adventure. Tours by riverboats and shooting rapids by quick water boats, gold washing and conducted hiking tours in the mountain country are popular options. In wintertime, downhill and cross skiing are among top options, as well as reindeer and snowmobile rides.Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland, is located at the Arctic Circle. It's a town of all seasons of the year. The city of Kemi is world famous for its Snow Castle, which is build each year and for its ice-breaker cruises. In Northern Lapland, the main city is Ivalo famous for its midnight sun and polar nights. The city has an airport of international standard and a flight to Helsinki takes 1,5 hours.
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