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Lappeenranta is a city and municipality in the region of South Karelia, about 30 kilometers from the Russian border and 64 kilometers from the town of Vyborg.

Mile building: Lappeenranta — Helsinki | Places in teams


Pollen analysis has shown that the modern-day municipality of Lappeenranta has been continuously inhabited for at least 2,000 years. Lappeenranta’s original core settlement, Lapvesi, later Lappee, was originally formed around a headland jutting into Lake Saimaa, the site of the present fortress. The public market was established here, which became so important as a trading place that general Governor Count Per Brahe the Younger proposed that the Swedish government should grant town privileges to Lapvesi. The town was chartered in 1649 by Queen Christina of Sweden. At the time, Lapvesi was an important port for tar.

Between 1721 and 1743, Lappeenranta was the capital of Kymmenegård and Nyslott County and during this period the Swedes built the fortress out in stages.

In 1741, the Battle of Villmanstrand was fought between the Swedish and Russian armies in the Russo-Swedish War of 1741–1743. The battle ended in a Russian victory. The town was pillaged, wooden structures including the provincial chancellery were burnt and the ecclesiastical archives damaged. Lappeenranta, along with a portion of Old Finland, was ceded by Sweden to Russia per the Treaty of Turku. Following the creation of the Grand Duchy of Finland in 1809, Old Finland (including Lappeenranta) was joined to the Grand Duchy in 1812 as a gesture of goodwill by Alexander I of Russia

Lappeenranta incorporated the neighboring municipalities of Lappee and Lauritsala on 1 January 1967, Nuijamaa on 1 January 1989, Joutseno on 1 January 2009, and Ylämaa on 1 January 2010.


The old fortress, with a number of museums, cafés and the oldest Russian Orthodox church in Finland. The Lappeenranta Fortress is a valuable part of the Finnish, Russian and Swedish cultural heritage and is part of the Castles and Fortifications chain of cultural destinations. The oldest buildings, including the guardhouse at the Main Gate that nowadays hosts the Cavalry Museum; the South Karelia Museum of Art buildings, the Orthodox Church and the Commandant’s House date from the latter part of the 18th century. Most of the wooden buildings are from the late 1800s, whereas the red-brick military barracks date from the early 20th century.

The city landscape

The harbor area, with cruises to Vyborg and the nearby Saimaa Canal.

St. Mary’s Church of Lappee, an 18th-century wooden church in the center of the city.

St. Mary’s Church of Lappee is a wooden Evangelical Lutheran church in the center of Lappeenranta, Finland. The construction began in April 1792 and the church was consecrated partially unfinished in June 1794. The adjacent bell tower was built half a century later in 1856.

The church was built by Juhana Salonen, a church builder from Savitaipale, and has a capacity of 840 people. Architecturally it is a so-called double cross church and the only surviving such church from the 18th century in Finland. The altarpiece was painted by Alexandra Frosterus-Såltin in 1887 and depicts the Ascension of Jesus.

The beautiful Harbour area in Lappeenranta begins at the Shore Park (Rantapuisto), also known as the Kasino Park and continues all the way to the largest sandcastle in Finland and the Myllysaari area. The magnificent boardwalk runs along the City Bay to the Harbour and past the Kasino Restaurant. From the City Bay (Kaupunginlahti) Harbour, you can sail away on an archipelago cruise of Lake Saimaa and the Saimaa Canal for a few hours.


Helsinki is the capital, primate, and most populous city of Finland. Located on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, it is the seat of the region of Uusimaa in southern Finland, and has a population of 656,250.

Founding of Helsinki

Helsinki was established as a trading town by King Gustav I of Sweden in 1550 as the town of Helsingfors, which he intended to be a rival to the Hanseatic city of Reval (today known as Tallinn). In order to populate his newly founded town, the King issued an order to resettle the bourgeoisie of Porvoo, Ekenäs, Rauma and Ulvila into the town. Little came of the plans as Helsinki remained a tiny town plagued by poverty, wars, and diseases. The plague of 1710 killed the greater part of the inhabitants of Helsinki. The construction of the naval fortress Sveaborg (in Finnish Viapori, today also Suomenlinna) in the 18th century helped improve Helsinki’s status, but it was not until Russia defeated Sweden in the Finnish War and annexed Finland as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland in 1809 that the town began to develop into a substantial city. Russians besieged the Sveaborg fortress during the war, and about one quarter of the town was destroyed in an 1808 fire.


The biggest historical museum in Helsinki is the National Museum of Finland, which displays a vast collection from prehistoric times to the 21st century. The museum building itself, a national romantic-style neomedieval castle, is a tourist attraction. Another major historical museum is the Helsinki City Museum, which introduces visitors to Helsinki’s 500-year history. The University of Helsinki also has many significant museums, including the Helsinki University Museum „Arppeanum“ and the Finnish Museum of Natural History.

The Finnish National Gallery consists of three museums: Ateneum Art Museum for classical Finnish art, Sinebrychoff Art Museum for classical European art, and Kiasma Art Museum for modern art, in a building by architect Steven Holl. The old Ateneum, a neo-Renaissance palace from the 19th century, is one of the city’s major historical buildings. All three museum buildings are state-owned through Senate Properties. The city of Helsinki hosts its own art collection in the Helsinki Art Museum (HAM), primarily located in its Tennispalatsi gallery. Around 200 pieces of public art lie outside. The art is all city property.


Helsinki has three major theatres: The Finnish National Theatre, the Helsinki City Theatre, and the Swedish Theatre (Svenska Teatern). Other notable theatres in the city include the Alexander Theatre, Q-teatteri, Savoy Theatre, KOM-theatre, and Teatteri Jurkka.

Rovaniemi, Lapland

Lapland is the largest and northernmost region of Finland. The municipalities in the region cooperate in a Regional Council. Lapland borders the region of Northern Ostrobothnia in the south. The area of Lapland was split between two counties of the Swedish Realm from 1634 to 1809. The northern and western areas were part of Västerbotten County, while the southern areas were part of Ostrobothnia County. The northern and western areas were transferred in 1809 to Oulu County, which became Oulu Province. Under the royalist constitution of Finland during the first half of 1918, Lapland was to become a Grand Principality and part of the inheritance of the proposed king of Finland. Lapland Province was separated from Oulu Province in 1938. During the Interim Peace and beginning of the Continuation War the government of Finland allowed the German Army to station itself in Lapland as a part of Operation Barbarossa. After Finland made a separate peace with the Soviet Union in 1944, the Soviet Union demanded that Finland expel the German army from her soil. The result was the Lapland War, during which almost the whole civilian population of Lapland was evacuated. The Germans used scorched earth tactics in Lapland, before they withdrew to Norway. A lot of destruction followed. Ninety percent of Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland, was burned to the ground, with only a few pre-war buildings surviving the destruction. After the Second World War, Petsamo municipality and part of Salla municipality were ceded to the Soviet Union. The decades following the war were a period of rebuilding, industrialization and fast economic growth. Large hydroelectric plants and mines were established and cities, roads and bridges were rebuilt from the destruction of the war. In the late 20th century, the economy of Lapland started to decline, mines and factories became unprofitable and the population started to decline rapidly across most of the region. The provinces of Finland were abolished on January 1, 2010, but Lapland was reorganized as one of the new regions that replaced them.

Rovaniemi is a city and municipality of Finland. It is the administrative capital and commercial center of Finland’s northernmost province, Lapland. It is situated about 10 kilometers south of the Arctic Circle and is between the hills of Ounasvaara and Korkalovaara, at the confluence of the river Kemijoki and its tributary, the Ounasjoki. The city and the surrounding Rovaniemi maalaiskunta were consolidated into a single entity on 1 January 2006. The new municipality has an area of 7,581.86 square kilometers and an approximate population of 62,000.

For the lovers of sports or the extreme, the area is perfect for skiing snowboarding and snowshoeing, even biking or ice climbing. There are also various opportunities for ice- swing and fishing. In addition, zoo tours or taking a ride in a husky-led shed will bring you closer to the native fauna and flora.

Santa Claus Village

The village is situated 8 km to the north of Rovaniemi and is full of things to see and do. Its charming atmosphere offers an unforgettable experience for young and old alike. Apart from taking a stroll down one of the magical paths or grabbing a bite at one of the many topical restaurants, you can also meet Santa Claus in his office or Mrs. Claus at her cottage all year round. Other activities include crossing the Arctic Circle, the southernmost latitude where the sun can stay continuously above or below the horizon for 24 hours, visit Santa’s reindeer a nd huskies or go to the Elf’s animal farm.

Northern Lights

The Northern Lights are one of the most beautiful and memorable natural phenomena. The appearance of the Northern Lights at Arctic Circle latitudes requires a clear sky, suitable space weather, and of course a bit of luck. Here, you can even “spy” on the Auroras through a glass igloo.