Umea Tourist Attractions
Umeå, chief town of the county and province of Västerbotten, lies on the left bank of the Umeälv 5km/3mi above its outflow into the Gulf of Bothnia. A port and commercial town, it is also the cultural center of northern Norrland, with a library, an opera house, a university (founded 1963) and a college of forestry. Umeå has the annual Jazz festival, the Norrland Opera, annual film and music festivals and several notable museums. It has a variety of industry, in particular woodworking.Umeå received its municipal charter in 1622, but its development really began only with the rise of the woodworking industry in the second half of the 19th century. In 1888 three-quarters of the town and its three shipyards were destroyed in a great fire, and thereafter it was rebuilt with broad streets lined by birch trees. The town is particularly attractive in May, when the trees burst into leaf.
In the center of Umeå is Rådhustorget (Town Hall Square), in which is a large bust of Gustavus Adolphus, founder of the town. To the south of the square, in Storgatan, is the town's principal church (1892), brick-built in neo-Gothic style. Beside the church stands an obelisk marking the common grave of a Swedish colonel, J. Z. Duncker, and a Cossack colonel, Aerekoff, who were killed in the fighting at Hörnefors in 1809. In Döbeln Park, adjoining the church, can be seen a monument commemorating General von Döbeln, commander of the last Swedish-Finnish army, which was disbanded here after the war with Russia in 1808-09, when Sweden was compelled to cede Finland to Russia.
Gammlia Open-Air Museum
On a hill northeast of Umeå is the Gammlia open-air museum, with the Västerbotten Museum (folk museum). Among the buildings in the open-air museum is an 18th century house, Sävargården, which was the headquarters of the Russian General Kamensky during the Swedish-Russian war. The Helena Elisabeth Church, originally a fishermen's chapel on the island of Holmö (off Umeå in the Gulf of Bothnia), is in part built of timber from wrecked ships. An example of an old craftsman's house is Lars Fägrares Gård, now a Skiing Museum.
17km/10.5mi southeast of Umeå is its outer harbor, Holmsund (large sawmills). From here there are ferries to Vaasa in Finland and to the island of Holmö (swimming pool; Stora Fjäderägg nature reserve). Holmsund lies on the "Blue Highway", which cuts across E 4 and E 79 to the west of Umeå and runs through the magnificent scenery of southern Lapland into Norway, following the Umeälv, on which there are numerous rapids.
Klabböle Energy Center
9km/5.5mi west of Umeå on E 12, which runs alongside the Umeälv, we reach Klabböle, with the Energy Center (informative displays on the technology of power production).
Sörfors - Power Station
At Sörfors, 15km/9mi northwest of Umeå, the large underground hydro-electric power station of Stornorrfors has a fall of 75m/250ft and a turbine hall 24m/80ft high hewn from the rock (conducted visits in summer). Here too is the Stornorrfors salmon hatchery, which releases 100,000 salmon annually into the Umeälv. The salmon can be seen leaping up the small waterfall below the huge dam.
The country around the small village of Bjurholm, to the west of E 12, is of great scenic beauty and has many features of geological interest. Here there is a bridge over the Öreälv. From the Balberg (487m/1,598ft) there are extensive views; on the south side of the hill is a very varied flora.
Northwest of Umeå, on the Vindelälv, one of the Norrland rivers which has not been artificially regulated, visitors can enjoy a "waterfall trip" down the river. Farther upstream is the Mårdseleforsarna nature reserve, with tumultuous waterfalls crossed by suspension bridges. From Åmsele there are canoe trips on the Vindelälv.