Vaasa

The city of Vaasa is located on the west coast of Finland, at the narrowest point of the Gulf of Bothnia, a mere 80km (or 4 hours by ferry) from Umeå in Sweden. The city can trace its beginnings to the 14th century when Korsholm Castle was built near the village of Mustasaari, which was granted city status in 1606. In 1611 it was renamed Wasa, or Vaasa in Finnish, to honour the Swedish royal lineage. In 1852 most of the old town burned down, and was relocated 6km northwest when it was rebuilt, undergoing yet another change of name in the process: Nikolainkaupunki, in honour of Czar Nikolai I. The name of the city reverted to Vaasa once Finland proclaimed its independence in 1917.

Tourist attractions Vaasa, Finland

Vaasa is quite a large city, with a population around 65,000, and has an abundance of museums to explore. These include the Vaasa Museum of Labour, Vaasan Sotaveteraanimuseo (War Veterans Museum), the Maritime Museum, Car & Motor Museum, Brage Open Air Museum, the Ostrobothnian Museum, Tikanoja Art Museum, KUNTSI Museum of Modern Art, Library Museum, Sundom Local Museum, and the Nelin-Cronström Home of Art. A must see is Terranova, which introduces the wonderful Kvarken Archipelago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is undergoing extremely fast uplift, at least by geological standards. The archipelago, which contains some 5,600 islands, is rising at a rate of about 8mm per annum, which is enough to create 1 square km of new land every year. The archipelago also has the distinction of being Finland's first World Natural Heritage site. Another very unusual attraction in the area is Meteoria Söderfjärden, which is located in the centre of an impact crater, and which houses an exhibition telling the 520 million years long story of Söderfjärden.

Vaasa also has a rich calendar of events which includes the Vaasa Choir Festival, an annual 5 day international event which usually takes place around the weekend of The Feast of the Ascension, or Ascension Day. There is also the Jorma Panula Conducting Competition, one of the most prestigious in Europe where the next generation of talented conductors display their talents. Visitors might also take in a performance by the Vaasa City Orchestra, who perform in Vaasa City Hall.

Since 1983 the Korsholm Music Festival, also called Chamber Music & Light Nights, has brought leading Nordic and international artists to perform in one of Finland's most recognised chamber music festivals, with music ranging from baroque compositions to classical chamber works and new music. The quality of the musical performances combined with the famous daylight at night brings its own mood to this delightful coastal region, with music resounding in concert halls, restaurants, museums and idyllic church buildings.

There are a wealth of activities to choose from in Vaasa, whether you are of the fit and adventurous mold, or seeking something more relaxing. Nature lovers can explore the Kvarken archipelago, or choose one of the many hiking paths or tours. One of the most popular tours is the Nature Trail at Öjberget, where you can take 'a walk from the Öjbergsmossen bog to a giant's pot hole and over a devil's field to the dwarfed pine-tree-covered meteorite crater rim of Söderfjärden'. You can go bowling, hunting, cycling, parachuting, kayaking, canoing, swimming, or play tennis or golf. Families can enjoy the Wasalandia Theme Park, or the Tropiclandia Water Park with its amazing selection of water rides and chutes. In winter the usual pursuits are available, downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, taking a snowmobile safari, or even ice-fishing in the sea.

 

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