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OULU AND ROVANIEMI, FINLAND – PART TWO

September 6, 2015

FROM MAY 26 TO JUNE 9, 2015  LEONARD EPSTEIN AND JANELLE BURGESS, TRAVELED THROUGH FINLAND AND NORWAY   –   PART TWO

OULU, FINLAND

FIRST A BIT OF HISTORY

Finland was a province and then a grand duchy under Sweden from the 12th to the 19th centuries and an autonomous grand duchy of Russia after 1809. It won its complete independence in 1917. During World War II, it was able to successfully defend its freedom and resist invasions by the Soviet Union – albeit with some loss of territory. In the subsequent half century, the Finns made a remarkable transformation from a farm/forest economy to a diversified modern industrial economy; per capita income is now on par with Western Europe. As a member of the European Union, Finland was the only Nordic state to join the euro system at its initiation in January 1999.

Oulu  is a city of 190,000 inhabitants in Oulu province, northern Finland. In2009, the municipality of Ylikiiminki  was consolidated with the city of Oulu, increasing Oulu’s land mass nearly quadruple-fold. As one of the results of the merger, Oulu is now officially an area where one might encounter reindeer.

Oulu is the capital of the province of Oulu and the region of Northern Ostrobothnia. It is the sixth largest (fourth largest if you exclude Espoo and Vantaa) city in Finland, and the largest and most important in Northern Finland. Oulu is known for its high-tech focus, with free wireless internet access, Panoulu  in the city center. A lot of Finnish IT companies, including Nokia, have offices in Oulu or nearby areas.

The City of Oulu is on the Gulf of Bothnia and the capital of northern Finland. The Oulu Region is the fastest growing region in Finland. Nowadays the region is well known for its technology, the hi-tech growth having started after the establishment of Oulu University in 1958. There are two science parks in the region: Technopolis Plc, Scandinavia’s first science park, and Medipolis Ltd., as well as a technology centre, Ii Micropolis Ltd. The region is home to many hi-tech companies, such as Nokia, and the sector currently employs over 10,000 people.
Today the people of Oulu design software, produce the finest paper in the world, do business all over the world and provide high quality services for each other and the many tourists visiting the region.

Here are some photos of the city:

FAMOUS FAT POLICEMAN SCULPTURE IN THE OULU MARKET SQUARE

FAMOUS FAT POLICEMAN SCULPTURE IN THE OULU MARKET SQUARE

The Oulu Market Square is the main market square of the city of Oulu, Finland. The market square is located in the city centre, in the Pokkinen district, on the waterfront of the Oulujoki river. The Rotuaari pedestrian zone starts from the square behind the Toripolliisi statue. In addition to the traditional market stalls, many old warehouses restored as bars and restaurants are bordering the square nowadays. The market hall was opened on the square in 1901 mainly to get selling of meat out of the open square.

The Oulu Market Square is the main market square of the city of Oulu, Finland.
The market square is located in the city centre, in the Pokkinen district, on the waterfront of the Oulujoki river. The Rotuaari pedestrian zone starts from the square behind the Toripolliisi statue.
In addition to the traditional market stalls, many old warehouses restored as bars and restaurants are bordering the square nowadays. The market hall was opened on the square in 1901 mainly to get selling of meat out of the open square.

OULU MARKET PLACE STALL

OULU MARKET PLACE STALL

OULU MARKET PLACE STALL

OULU MARKET PLACE STALL

OULU MARKET PLACE STALL

OULU MARKET PLACE STALL

OULU MARKET PLACE STALL

OULU MARKET PLACE STALL

OULU UNIVERSITY,NORWAY

OULU CITY THEATER

WOODEN HOUSES OF OULU

OULU, FINLAND

OULU, FINLAND

OULU, FINLAND

OULU, FINLAND

OULU, FINLAND

OULU, FINLAND

OULU, FINLAND

OULU, FINLAND

OULU, FINLAND

OULU, FINLAND

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ROVANIEMI

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 kilometres (6 miles) south of the Arctic Circle.

The rova part in the name Rovaniemi has often been considered to be of Saamic origin, as “roavve” in Saami denotes a forested ridge or hill or the site of an old forest fire. In Southern Saami dialects, however, rova means a heap of stones, a rock or a group of rocks in a stretch of rapids, or even a sauna stove The niemi part of the name means “cape”.

Finnish Lapland (Finnish and Sámi: Lappi, Swedish: Lappland) is the   Arctic far north in   Finland, strictly defined as the province of the same name, but in practice starting near the Arctic Circle.

Temperatures can plunge as low as -50°C (-60°F) in the winter and the sun is not seen for days on end during the polar night (kaamos). By contrast, summer brings out the Midnight Sun and temperatures can occasionally rise to 30°C, although summer temperatures in the 10–20°C (50–70°F) are mostly the norm. July is the warmest month.

History

There has probably been continuous settlement in the Rovaniemi area since the Stone Age.Periodic clearance of new land for agriculture and the practice of slash-and-burn cultivation began around 750–530 B.C. Artifacts found in the area suggest that an increasing number of travelers from Karelia in the east, Häme in the south and the Arctic Ocean coast in the north must have come there from 500 A.D. onwards. The Sami are considered to be Lapland’s own indigenous population.

It is first mentioned by name in official documents in 1453, existing effectively as a set of small villages whose inhabitants earned their living mainly in agriculture and animal husbandry – with fishing and hunting the most important offshoots.

The exploitation of Lapland’s natural resources in the 1800s boosted Rovaniemi’s growth. Extensive logging sites and gold fever attracted thousands of people to Lapland. As the mining of natural resources was increased, Rovaniemi became the business center of the province of Lapland.

During the Second World War, Finland signed the Moscow Armistice and found itself involved in the Lapland War with its former German ally. Retreating German forces utilized scorched earth tactics, and though initially German General Lothar Rendulic ordered only the public buildings in Rovaniemi to be destroyed, on 13 October 1944 the German army received orders to destroy all the buildings in Rovaniemi, only excluding hospitals and houses where inhabitants were present.

While the German rear guard was going about the destruction, an ammunition train in Rovaniemi station exploded and set fire to the wooden houses of the town. The German troops suffered many casualties, mainly from glass splinters. A Finnish commando unit claimed to have blown up the ammunition train and may well have been the primary cause of the town’s ruin. The cause was then unknown and generally assumed to be the deliberate intent of Rendulic. During these hostilities 90% of all the buildings in Rovaniemi were destroyedThere is a German cemetery 19km from Rovaniemi where soldiers killed fighting in Lapland during the war are entombed.

Because of the unspoiled nature and numerous recreational opportunities, tourism is an important industry in Rovaniemi. The city has a number of hotels and restaurants located both in the center and on the outskirts of the town.

Since Rovaniemi represents the capital of the Province of Lapland, many government institutions have their offices there. About 10,000 of the inhabitants are students. Rovaniemi is home to not only the University of Lapland but also the Rovaniemi University of Applied Sciences (formerly known as the Rovaniemi Polytechnic), which comprises institutes of information and traditional technology, business, health and social care, culinary studies, forestry, rural studies and sports. Local newspapers include the Lapin Kansa, Uusi Rovaniemi and Lappilainen.

Rovaniemi’s most prominent landmarks include the Jätkänkynttilä bridge with its eternal flame over the Kemijoki river, the Arktikum House which rises out of the bank of the Ounasjoki river, the Rovaniemi Town Hall, the Lappia House which serves as a theatre, concert hall and congress centre, and the library. The last three mentioned buildings are by the famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. Rovaniemi is considered the official home town of Santa Claus,and is home to the Santa Claus Village at the Arctic Circle and Santa Park, which is located 8 km (5 mi) north of the centre. The Arktikum is a very comprehensive museum of Finland’s and the world’s Arctic regions.

A phenomenon also attracting numerous tourists is the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. In Finnish Lapland the number of auroral displays can be as high as 200 a year whereas in southern Finland the number is usually fewer than 20.

HERE ARE PHOTOS OF ROVANIEMI:

 PANORAMA of Jätkänkynttilä bridge with its eternal flame over the Kemijoki river,


PANORAMA of
Jätkänkynttilä bridge with its eternal flame over the Kemijoki river.

Jätkänkynttilä bridge with its eternal flame over the Kemijoki river, (Detail)

Jätkänkynttilä bridge with its eternal flame over the Kemijoki river, (Detail)

ROVANIEMI SIGN

ROVANIEMI SIGN

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ROVANIEMI CHURCH

The present church of Rovaniemi was completed in 1950. The previous church building was destroyed during the razing of the town in 1944. The construction of a new church so soon after the war would
scarcely been possible without great financial help from churches in Sweden and the United States.
The church was designed by architect Bertel Liljeqvist, and the artist Antti Salmenlinna conceived the striking interior.
The 14 meters high fresco Elämän lähde (The fount of Life) on the altar wall was painted by professor Lennart Segerstråle in 1951 .The church is 43 meters in length, and 18.5 meters across. The steeple with its cross is 54 meters high. 1000 people can be accomodated in the church.
The new organ was consecrated in February 1987. The organ contains 4000 pipes, and possesses 45 registers, three manuals and a pedal. It was designed and constructed by the Bruno
Christiansen factory in Denmark.

ROVANIEMI CHURCH

ROVANIEMI CHURCH

ROVANIEMI CHURCH

ROVANIEMI CHURCH

ROVANIEMI CHURCH ALTER

ROVANIEMI CHURCH ALTER

ROVANIEMI CHURCH

ROVANIEMI CHURCH

ROVANIEMI CHURCH ORGAN

ROVANIEMI CHURCH ORGAN

ROVANIEMI CHURCH

ROVANIEMI CHURCH

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LAPPIA HALL - Lappia Hall, Rovaniemi (Finland) Roof top of the Lappia Hall in Rovaniemi. Design: Alvar Aalto, 1975. The building serves as a theater, concert hall and conference center. Housed in the same building is the Lapland Provincial Museum.

LAPPIA HALL – Lappia Hall, Rovaniemi (Finland)
Roof top of the Lappia Hall in Rovaniemi. Design: Alvar Aalto, 1975.
The building serves as a theater, concert hall and conference center. Housed in the same building is the Lapland Provincial Museum.

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REINDEER SCULPTURE NEAR LAPPIA HALL

REINDEER SCULPTURE NEAR LAPPIA HALL

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 SANTA CLAUS VILLAGE. 8 km north of Rovaniemi and right on the old computed place of the Arctic Circle (currently computed to be 2km north), is a tourist trap if there ever was one – but few tourists can miss the chance to meet Santa himself. Apart from meeting the man, there are also other attractions like small-scale sledding hills for kids, the Santa Claus post office with special stamps and souvenir shops. The village hosts also several safari companies that organize various activities. During dark times the village has nicely lit ice sculptures. Bus number 8 goes from town to the village

HERE ARE SOME PHOTOS:

SANTA CLAUS POST OFFICE

SANTA CLAUS POST OFFICE

SANTA CLAUS POST OFFICE

SANTA CLAUS POST OFFICE

CROSS ROADS SIGN SHOWING DISTANCES FROM SANTA CLAUS VILLAGE

CROSS ROADS SIGN SHOWING DISTANCES FROM SANTA CLAUS VILLAGE

IT IS ALWAYS A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR AT THE SANTA CLAUS VILLAGE

IT IS ALWAYS A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR AT THE SANTA CLAUS VILL

AN OLD ARCTIC CIRCLE COTTAGE AT THE SANTA CLAUS VILLAGE

AN OLD ARCTIC CIRCLE COTTAGE AT THE SANTA CLAUS VILLAGE

SANTA CLAUS VILLAGE SITS DIRECTLY ON THE ARCTIC CIRCLE

SANTA CLAUS VILLAGE SITS DIRECTLY ON THE ARCTIC CIRCLE

WE ARE NOW ABOUT TO MEET SANTA AT HIS WORKSHOP

WE ARE NOW ABOUT TO MEET SANTA AT HIS WORKSHOP

THE EARTH'S ROTATIONAL SPEED REGULATOR - HE HAS ALL SORTS OF MACHINERY TO HELP HIM

THE EARTH’S ROTATIONAL SPEED REGULATOR – HE HAS ALL SORTS OF MACHINERY TO HELP HIM

SANTA'S GIFTS WITH A CERTIFICATE FOR THE LARGEST GIFT LIST EVERY RECEIVED BY SANTA

SANTA’S GIFTS WITH A CERTIFICATE FOR THE LARGEST GIFT LIST EVERY RECEIVED BY SANTA

PEOPLE ARE PATIENTLY WAITING TO MEET SANTA

PEOPLE ARE PATIENTLY WAITING TO MEET SANTA

AFTER MEETING SANTA PEOPLE CAN PURCHASE OF THEMSELVES WITH SANTA

AFTER MEETING SANTA PEOPLE CAN PURCHASE OF THEMSELVES WITH SANTA

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 SODANKYLA

Sodankyla is a small town located in the province of Lapland, Finland and lies at the Northern end of Finnish national road 5. The municipality has a population of 8,823 (30 June 2015) and covers an area of 12,415.46 square kilometres (4,793.64 sq mi) of which 718.65 km2 (277.47 sq mi) is water.

LINJA AUTOASEMA (BUS STATION)

LINJA AUTOASEMA (BUS STATION)

BUS STATION REST STOP

BUS STATION REST STOP

BUS STATION REST STOP

BUS STATION REST STOP

———————–

SODANKYLA OLD CHURCH

SODANKYLA OLD CHURCH - This is one of the oldest churches in Lapland. The church was built in 1689 for the people of Middle Lapland. The church was restored in 1926, and the shingles and the boarding were re-done between 1991-1995 by the National Board of Antiquities and Historical Monuments. The church has retained its atmosphere through the centuries, and it is very popular wedding church. Services are held in the summertime.

SODANKYLA OLD CHURCH – This is one of the oldest churches in Lapland. The church was built in 1689 for the people of Middle Lapland. The church was restored in 1926, and the shingles and the boarding were re-done between 1991-1995 by the National Board of Antiquities and Historical Monuments. The church has retained its atmosphere through the centuries, and it is very popular wedding church. Services are held in the summertime.

HEADSTONES AT THE SODANKYLA OLD CHURCH

SODANKYLA OLD CHURCH HEADSTONE

SODANKYLA OLD CHURCH HEADSTONE

SODANKYLA OLD CHURCH HEADSTONE

SODANKYLA OLD CHURCH HEADSTONE

SODANKYLA OLD CHURCH HEADSTONE

SODANKYLA OLD CHURCH HEADSTONE

—————————

 

TANKAVARAA GOLD MUSEUM

The International Gold Museum presents the history of Finnish gold, as well as the history of the world’s major gold rushes. A display called Golden world, tells the story of gold in more than 20 countries. The outdoor museum is housed within several historic buildings and the courtyard is decorated with a large bronze statue of a gold prospector, by the artist professor Ensio Seppänen. The museum’s stone and mineral collection has more than 2500 samples on display from around the world.

HERE ARE PHOTOS OF A VISIT TO THE MUSEUM:

TANKA VARAA GOLF MUSEUM

TANKA VARAA GOLD MUSEUM

TANKA VARAA GOLF MUSEUM

TANKA VARAA GOLD MUSEUM

TANKA VARAA GOLF MUSEUM

TANKA VARAA GOLD MUSEUM

TANKA VARAA GOLF MUSEUM

TANKA VARAA GOLD MUSEUM

TANKA VARAA GOLF MUSEUM

TANKA VARAA GOLD MUSEUM

TANKA VARAA GOLF MUSEUM

TANKA VARAA GOLD MUSEUM

TANKA VARAA GOLF MUSEUM

TANKA VARAA GOLD MUSEUM

TANKA VARAA GOLF MUSEUM

TANKA VARAA GOLD MUSEUM

TANKA VARAA GOLF MUSEUM

TANKA VARAA GOLD MUSEUM

TANKA VARAA GOLF MUSEUM

TANKA VARAA GOLD MUSEUM

TANKA VARAA GOLF MUSEUM

TANKA VARAA GOLD MUSEUM

TANKA VARAA GOLF MUSEUM

TANKA VARAA GOLD MUSEUM

TANKA VARAA GOLF MUSEUM

TANKA VARAA GOLD MUSEUM

TANKA VARAA GOLF MUSEUM

TANKA VARAA GOLD MUSEUM

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THE SAMI PEOPLE

The Sami people (also Sámi or Saami), traditionally known in English as Lapps or Laplanders, are an indigenous Finno-Ugric people inhabiting the Arctic area of Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway. The Sami are the only indigenous people of Scandinavia recognized and protected under the international conventions of indigenous peoples, and are hence the northernmost indigenous people of Europe. Sami ancestral lands span an area of approximately 388,350 km2 (150,000 sq. mi.), which is approximately the size of Norway, in the Nordic countries. Their traditional languages are the Sami languages and are classified as a branch of the Uralic language family.

Traditionally, the Sami have pursued a variety of livelihoods, including coastal fishing, fur trapping, and sheep herding. Their best-known means of livelihood is semi-nomadic reindeer herding. Currently about 10% of the Sami are connected to reindeer herding, providing them with meat, fur, and transportation. 2,800 Sami people are actively involved in herding on a full-time basis.For traditional, environmental, cultural, and political reasons, reindeer herding is legally reserved only for Sami people in certain regions of the Nordic countries.

Sami cuisine is the cuisine of peoples from the Sápmi territory of the Sami people, which spans Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. Its traditional cuisine of each area has individual traits.

Traditionally, the cuisine of Sápmi has been based on local materials, like fish, game, reindeer and berries. Berries have been important food, because other kinds of vegetables were not available during the long winters. Nowadays berries are parts of delicate sauces and desserts. The most valued berry of Sápmi is the cloudberry. Milk consumption was not very common.

In eastern parts of Sápmi, reindeer herding became a way of life in the 19th century and, before that, people were hunters and fishers. These days reindeer is essential for Sami cuisine, but game, fish and wild birds are also important. The cuisine of Sápmi consists of a variety of dishes which stem from differences in geography, culture and climate.

Reindeer, fish and game meats are staple foods, with literally thousands of recipes and flavors, although spices other than salt are very rare. The local cuisine varies a lot depending of access to food. Sápmi’s history with its many cultural influences has led to an array of dishes. Most dishes are made of reindeer meat, although some also are made of moose or sheep. Smoking and drying have historically been used to preserve meat and fish.

Fishes in the mountains and forest areas of Sápmi include: Salmon, Common whitefish, Perch, Roach, Char Fishes of the coastal areas of Sápmi include: Cod

In the last decades new influences have been introduced in traditional Sami cooking. A well-known dish of this cross-cooking is the Suovaskebab, which consists of sliced suovasbierggo, cucumber, salad and garlic dressing in a pita bread. The Suovaskebab can be found at festivals and fairs in northern Scandinavia. These days the old food culture is evolving and adapting. Fast food restaurants in Sápmi can have reindeer hamburger on their menus.

HERE ARE SOME PHOTOS OF A TRADITIONAL LAPP DINNER –

Traditional Lapp Dinner –  in a traditional Lapp dinner which took place just outside Rovaniemi, in a “kota-hut” restaurant, which is a wooden hut with a central open fireplace. In this unique atmosphere the staff are dressed in traditional “sami” costumes and whilst listening to Lappish background music.

KOTA-HUT RESTAURANT - ROVANIEMI

KOTA-HUT RESTAURANT – ROVANIEMI

KOTA-HUT RESTAURANT - ROVANIEMI - THE HOST IN TRADITIONAL DRESS

KOTA-HUT RESTAURANT – ROVANIEMI – THE HOST IN TRADITIONAL DRESS

KOTA-HUT RESTAURANT - ROVANIEMI

KOTA-HUT RESTAURANT – ROVANIEMI

KOTA-HUT RESTAURANT - ROVANIEMI - REINDEER ANTLERS HANGNG FROM THE CEILING

KOTA-HUT RESTAURANT – ROVANIEMI – REINDEER ANTLERS HANGNG FROM THE CEILING

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A VISIT TO A SAMIE REINDEER FARM

We were met by a “ceremony man” dressed in Lapp costume who met  us at the reindeer farm. There you we were  able to see the reindeers, see how the farm is run and also learned about reindeer lassoing. We also participated in an Arctic Circle ceremony where ever one was  received a certificate.

REINDEER FARM HOSTS IN COSTUME

REINDEER FARM HOSTS IN COSTUME

REINDEER FARM HOSTS

REINDEER FARM HOSTS

REINDEER FARM HOST

REINDEER FARM HOST

REINDEER FARM HOST

REINDEER FARM HOST

REINDEER FARM HOST PERFORMING OUR ARCTC CIRCLE CEREMONY

REINDEER FARM HOST
PERFORMING THE ARCTIC CIRCLE CEREMONY

REINDEER

REINDEER

REINDEER

REINDEER

REINDEER

REINDEER

A RARE ALBINO REINDEER

A RARE ALBINO REINDEER

FEEDING THE REINDEER

FEEDING THE REINDEER

LEARNING HOW TO LASSO A REINDEER

LEARNING HOW TO LASSO A REINDEER

PHOTOS:

LEONARD EPSTEIN

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