Finnish Lakeland Attractions Järvi-Suomi
Situation and characteristicsThe Finnish Lakeland, with its intricately patterned lakes and thousands of islands, covers almost a third of Finland's total area, earning it the name of the "land of 60,000 lakes": in fact the latest count makes the total more than 180,000.
To the east the lakes extend to the Russian frontier, on the south they are bounded by the massive terminal moraines of the Salpausselkä and on the north by the Suomenselkä ridge, which forms the watershed between the gulfs of Bothnia and Finland. The harmonious mingling of woodland and water makes this a paradise for nature-lovers and sailing enthusiasts.Within this extensive area in southern Finland are three main lake systems. To the west, north of Tampere, is Näsijärvi, the smallest of the three; in the center the long, straggling Lake Päijänne; and to the east the large Lake Saimaa, which is drained by the river Vuoksen, flowing southeast into Russia. All these lake systems lie between 76 and 78m (250 and 255ft) above sea level.The Finnish Lakeland is traversed from south to north by three important roads, linked by a number of transverse roads. E 75 runs along the western edge of the lake region from Lahti by way of Jyväskylä and Kärsämäki to Oulu; Road 5 runs through the center of the area from Lahti via Mikkeli and Kuopio; and Roads 6 and 18 extend in a wide arc round the eastern edge of the lake region by way of Lappeenranta and Joensuu to Kajaani and Oulu.
The town of Lahti lies at the southern tip of Vesijärvi (area 113sq.km/44sq.mi), which forms the south end of Lake Päijänne. In the northern outskirts of the town Road 5 branches off E 75 on the right and runs northeast to Mikkeli on Lake Saimaa, while E 75 continues through hilly and wooded country to the little town of Vääksy (Tallukka Museum of Veteran Cars). Here there is a swing bridge over the Vääksy Canal, constructed in 1871 to link the Vesijärvi with Lake Päijänne (4m/13ft lower; lock). The road now follows the western shore of Päijänne.
Lake Päijänne, lying 78m/255ft above sea level, is 140km/87mi long and up to 28km/17mi wide, with an area of some 1,111sq.km/430sq.mi. Its shores are wooded and for much of the way rocky and rugged. Immediately beyond the bridge Road 314 goes off on the right to Asikkala (pop. 7,600), continuing over the narrow isthmus of Pulkkiilanharju, 8km/5mi long, to the eastern shore of Lake Päijänne, along which it runs north to Sysmä (pop. 7,000), with a fine stone-built 15th century church and a Doll Museum and dolls' house (Onkiniemi).
20km/12.5mi beyond the turning for Asikkala, E 75 comes to the village of Padasjoki (pop. 4,800), and then continues by way of Kuhmoinen (side trip to Mt Linnavuori; fine views) to Jämsä (pop. 12,000), an industrial town (papermaking) at a road junction where Road 9 (E 80) goes off to Tampere. Jämsä has an interesting Troll Park.
Kelvenne is a high island about 8km long. There are two lakes on the island and two lagoon-type natural harbors. The ancient geological eras have left kettleholes, stony shores and embankments.
Gosta Serlachius Museum of Fine Arts, Mantta, Finland
38km/24mi northeast of Jäsmä is Mänttä, a town whose economy depends on woodworking. Here, in Joenniemi, a country house designed by Jarl Eklund (1935), is displayed the fine art collection (including Flemish and Italian masters) of the industrialist Gösta Suerlachius. The road from Jämsä to Mänttä traverses the impressive Synninluko gorge.The town is also noted for the Mänttä Art Festival in August.
E 75 continues by way of the beautifully situated village of Korpilahti to Muurame, with a church designed by Alvar Aalto. Beyond this, off the road to the right, is the village of Säynätsalo, with a parish house also designed by Alvar Aalto.The River Muurame passes through the center of town.
Jyväskylä - Saarijärvi
E 75 then comes to Jyväskylä, situated on the northern shore of the Jyväsjärvi. Here Road 9 branches off on the right to Kuopio. E 75 continues north, past a side road (No. 13) to the beautifully situated village of Saarijärvi (Kolkanlahti manor house museum; park with aquatic animals).
From the turning for Saarijärvi E 75 continues to Äänekoski (pop. 11,000), 1.5km/1mi off the road to the right, a woodworking town (museum of the papermaking firm Metsä-Serla). At the outflow of Lake Keitele is a hydroelectric power station. 8km/5mi southeast is the busy little industrial town of Suolahti (pop. 6,200).Annualy in July, Äänekoski hosts an international jazz festival that runs for three days highlighting the jazz music scene in Finland.
E 75 stretches via Konginkangas (off the road to the right) to Viitasaari, on an island at the north end of the long and much ramified Lake Keitele. To the north of the village, which is reached on a causeway, is a lookout tower. Pleasant boat trips on the lake; good fishing. A Festival of New Music (part of the Finland Festival) is held at Viitasaari in summer.
Time of Music
The Time of Music International festival runs for one week in early July and is considered one of Finland's major festivals.A central component of the festival is computer music, although other contemporary forms of music are also featured. Musicians from all over the world perform throughout the week.
Pihtipudas lies at the northwestern end of the Kolimajärvi, on the northern border of central Finland. On the shores of the Pyhäjärvi (alt. 141m/463ft) is the mining town of Pyhäsalmi (iron ore, precious metals). Here E 76 leaves the Finnish Lakeland and continues via Kärsämäki and Leskelä to Oulu on the Gulf of Bothnia.
Rauhalinna Villa was built in the late 19th century on the eastern shores of Lake Haukivesi, and was influenced by a number of cultural styles including Russian, Oriental and Swiss. It was built by an officer in the Tsar's army for his wife and now serves as a restaurant and hotel.