Finland’s coast boasts the world’s largest archipelago. Old wooden towns, lighthouses, historical manors and stone churches, large national parks stretching over land and sea – this all sums up coastal Finland in a nutshell.
The laid-back islander lifestyle and a strong maritime culture are key characteristics of this fascinating area. Finland’s capital, Helsinki, has also held onto its maritime charm. Beaches, handicraft markets, small town events, cafes and village shops – Finnish coastal towns are especially alive in the summer months.
Finland holds seven Unesco World Heritage sites of which three can be experienced in the coastal area.
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Åland is an autonomous and monolingual Swedish region of Finland and consists of more than 6 500 islands. The capital, Mariehamn, a cute village-like town with a strong maritime and shipping heritage, is the only city in the unspoiled, ruggedly beautiful archipelago.
The Petäjävesi Old Church (Finnish: Petäjäveden vanha kirkko) is a wooden church located in Petäjävesi, Finland. It was built between 1763 and 1765, when Tavastia was still a part of Sweden. The bell tower was built in 1821. It was inscribed in 1994 on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The church is located about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) to the west of the centre of Petäjävesi. The church went out of use in 1879 when the new church was built. The old church has retained its original appearance and its interior decoration exceptionally well. It is a popular church for weddings in the summer, and there is a church service on most Sundays.
The church was built as the chapel for the area of Petäjävesi, which has belonged to the congregation of Jämsä.
As Rauma reaches its 575th year, residents of this surprisingly cosmopolitan city will celebrate its the beauty of its Unesco-listed old town, and its history as an important medieval port.
The city of a smidgen under 40,000 people on Finland’s west coast, clustered around an immaculate Unesco-garlanded wooden old town, celebrates its 575th anniversary this week. Depending on how you classify these things, that makes Rauma either the country’s third, fourth or fifth oldest chartered town. Anyway, it’s old … with enough of a concentration of culture to make Unesco look twice: the bronze age cairns at nearby Sammallahdenmäki also made it on to the World Heritage list.
“It means a lot,” says 33-year-old freelance writer and travel blogger Saana Jaakkola, who has lived here for 12 years. “People here are very proud of their roots.”