The Kvarken archipelago

By | Category: Travel destinations
old stone lanyrinth ©

old stone lanyrinth ©

Consisting of 5,600 islands, Kvarken Archipelago was formed by ice sheets up to 24,000 years ago. Ten years ago they became a UNESCO World Heritage Site so this year there are celebrations in honour of that birthday.

Events start this month and include specially designed archipelago cruises, exhibitions including one that charts the changing landscape and wildlife over the last decade and the Korsholm Music Festival.

Kvarken Archipelago is joined by six cultural World Heritage Sites across Finland.  Suomenlinna, located at the entrance of Helsinki’s harbour is one of Finland’s best-known attractions.  Once a Swedish fortress, this small group of islands is a spectacular example of military architecture.  Now the area is recognised as a suburb of Helsinki and around 850 people live here in renovated ramparts and barracks.

The oldest of Finland’s UNESCO sites is the Bronze Age Burial Site of Sammallahdenmäki.  More than three million years old, Sammallahdenmäki was the first prehistoric archaeological site discovered in Finland.  The 36 burial cairns are considered the most representative of Western Bronze Age culture in Scandinavia.

Situated in one of the oldest harbours in Finland, Old Rauma is the largest unified wooden town in any Nordic country.  Built around a 15th Century Francisan monastery, the old Nordic city comprises of idyllic wooden houses, traditional cobbled streets and impressive public buildings.  Despite being hit by by fire in the 17th century the buildings are still inhabited and represent a magnificent example of medieval architecture.

Petäjävesi Old Church is an example of Finland’s architecture.  Built from logs in 18th Century, this magnificent building is located on a peninsula at Lake Solikkojärvi and open to visitors throughout the summer months.

For an insight into Finland’s industrial past tourists can visit Verla Groundwood and Board Mill.  This unique, small-scale industrial complex dates back from the early years of the Finnish wood processing industry.  Within its rural setting, the area includes mills, power plants and workers’ housing all open to visitors.

One of the most contemporary structures to receive recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage site is the Struve Geodetic Arc.  Struve Geodetic Arc is a chain of survey triangulations originally produced as part of a survey by Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Struve between 1816 and 1855.  The points stretch from Hammerfest in Norway to the Black Sea, through 10 countries and over an astounding 2,820 km.

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