24.6.2014 Satakunnan silta & Patosilta – bridges I think you know this moment: you fall into your dreams during a long day by staring out window and find yourself looking at people in the streets. I have to confess, for me this is maybe too usual. But who wouldn´t, if they had a view of Satakunnan silta –bridge. Satakunnan silta –bridge is located between Finlayson –factory district and beautiful jugend-style fire department. The bridge was built between years 1897-1900 to replace previous bridges during times of flood. Then our lakes´ water surface (Näsijärvi- and Pyhäjärvi lakes) was almost two meters higher than normal. Architect of the bridge was K. Snelman. Particularly its beautiful railings reminds of timeless design. Behind the bridge is a little island called Konsulinsaari (Consul’s island) There was café-restaurant in 19th century. Many citizens support that idyllic place should put to use again. Have you ever hung up a lovelock? Tradition to commemorate love´s endurance has also been here to stay. Our hive of romanticism is Patosilta-bridge next to Satakunnansilta –bridge. In 2010 ´One love´-art group stole dozens of locks for their work of art. They melted them to one big cube. I heard a point of the act was to show that love doesn´t hamper or handcuff, but rather exempts people. The cube and making of – video are shown in TR1 art gallery. Near both bridges you can find many interesting cafés and restaurants. Motto of the nearby restaurant Jack the rooster always makes me laugh: “Don´t come as you are, come as a rock star”. The area is located between old factory district and modern Tampere. There it´s easy to navigate between a beat of the city, Central Square or access to factory district of Finlayson and Tampella. Landscape which opens out onto bridges has been chosen Finland´s national landscape. So recommend to start your sightseeing here.
25.6.2014 Palatsinraitinsilta –bridge is the connection between Finlayson and Tampella. In the year 2012 people’s life came much easier: two very important neighbourhoods came together. No one has needed to strain themselves going around to the Satakunnansilta –bridge. Building the Palatsinraitinsilta –bridge was a part of repairing a dam of Tammerkoski. Managing director of Tampere´s electric utility Jussi Laitinen said that the aim of the project was for example to increase the security of the dam and make a complete renovation for both old factory districts. Other advantages were to relieve moving and advance the cycling routes of Tampere. The last one is the most important point for us. The bridge itself is quite boring I think but an area surrounding it is all the more interesting. The bridge begins from Wilhelm Nottbeckin puisto –park. This is the “Finlayson side” of bridge. There you can find the one of most romantic parks of Tampere. There is the Finlayson palace in the middle of it. Nowadays it´s a restaurant but in the end of the 18th century Wilhelm Nottbeck´s son built it as his own home. The Nottbeck family has been famous owner of the factories in Tampere and influential people in Finnish economy life. Wilhelm Nottbecks´ three sons built three palaces, which have always shone in factory worker´s practical Tampere. Two of them are located nearby Palatsinraitinsilta –bridge: Finlayson´s palace and Näsinlinna palace. The other end of the bridge is also significant for the history and architecture of Tampere. Vapriikki museum can be found at the end of the bridge. Vapriikki is a versatile museum where you can explore history and culture in picturesque industrial surroundings. There are both temporary and permanent exhibitions in there. I especially like the interactive war exhibition about a civil war of Finland which tells about the important happenings that occurred in Tampere during 1918. For kids and them who have a child like minds I recommend the scientific museum, which is located also in Vapriikki. There you can experience the Finnish nature with all your senses. New architecture at the end of the bridge is quite interesting. It has divided opinions on how it combines new and old neighbourhoods together. What do you think? Quite different than any other parts of Tampere, isn´t it? I recommend to reserve lot of time for the area surrounding Palatsinraitinsilta –bridge. Especially if you love to stop and feel the vibe of old times or venture and find out more about the contemporary places.
26.6.2014 Hämeensilta –bridge =the bridge When it was decided to establish a new town by the river – a bridge was needed. In Tampere’s case The Bridge is Hämeensilta –bridge. Present Hämeensilta –bridge was completed in 1929 although mentions of a bridge in same place can be found all the way from 1556. I was six-year-old when our family moved to Tampere. On our very first tour around Tampere, I noticed traffic and busy people on the bridge. “There happens a lot” I thought. Nowadays one can see busy life even from a distance, but when looked more closely you will see spectrum of people: citizens, tourists, buskers and artists, happy people, sad people – every one on the Hämeensilta bridge. If you are interested in Tampere´s ordinary life, stop and watch the people passing by. Bridge is also best place to pause for a moment and note: ”I´m here in Tampere”. Take a postcard-like pic of Tammerkoski –waterfall and maybe selfie in front of it. The opening view is in fact The View which you see if you google Tampere. On your visit you can’t miss the four statues on the bridge. They are called Pirkkalaisveistokset. When you walk from railway station on your right side are Kauppias (merchant) and Eränkävijä (ranger). On your left you´ll see Veronkantaja (taxman) and Suomenneito (maiden of Finland) statues. The statues show typical characters of the local historical people in the middle ages. In the statues you can see 1920s ideal human bodies, sporty men and curvy woman. If you are wondering why the statues look a bit funny for example their very wide shoulders, it’s a mistake due to misinformation. The sculptor Wäinö Aaltonen designed statues originally for four meters high pillars. Due to financial difficulties pillars were never built and this wasn´t told to sculptor Aaltonen before he started his work. At both ends of the bridge there are a lot of shops and beautiful architecture. At the west end of the bridge you can find the Central Square with City Hall and Tampere Theatre. The Central Square is the main place for summer events. Also the first Monday every month the Square is filled with local delicasies when the Central Square changes to central market. The eastern end will change this summer; Private motoring will be forbidden there. East side has famous cafés, nice bars and restaurants and since the motoring ban the street should be even more welcoming.
27.6.2014 Back and forth on Vuolteensilta –bridge Shopping modern way in a mall or traditional way in a market place? How often have you carried a H &M plastic bag or enjoyed fresh strawberries in the market place? If I asked my friend that question he would say: “quite often”. So Tampere thing! Vuolteensilta-bridge has connected two original shopping places together since 1985. The newer one Koskikeskus –shopping centre was built near Tammerkoski river´s stream pool. There are almost hundred shops, restaurants and cafes. For busy shoppers, this is the must place. You can find both Scandinavian chain stores like Lindex and quality fashion like Marimekko. Marimekko, by the way, has a 50-year-old birthday party this year. You remember Jackie Kennedy´s Marimekko-dress back in the sixties? With my friends we love huge sundaes in the ground floor´s Movie Theater, Cine Atlas or if we like to taste something new, we go to Minetti. There are ice creams called Superman and Ali Papa. How exiting! During the summers I tend to take my lunch snack from Laukontori- market place. When the sun is shining, waves in the stream pool ripple and you smell warm market whiff… It´s perfect. This summer the market place is open also during the evenings. Laukontori has named after the first steamer that sailed on Pyhäjärvi –lake. The harbour in Laukontori is the most used freshwater harbour in Finland. A cruise to Viikinsaari –island is excellent way to access to Finnish nature. Before building Koskikeskus the milieu surrounding the stream pool was almost chosen to Unesco World Heritage list, but modern architecture blocked it. Laukontori is encircled with jugend-style apartment buildings. Traditionally, since 1905, the apartments have been some of the most wanted in Tampere. Between very old and new is Kehräsaari. I can´t classify it, but there you can find art and handicraft shops, cafés and art house cinema Niagara. Proximate factory TAKO has been powered by Tammerkoski since 1865. Have you ever eaten on the back yard of a factory? Beautiful red brick factory surroundings give Kehräsaari it’s unique feel and imagination becomes active. What life could have been if I had lived in 19th century Tampere?
30.6.2014 New practical landmark – Laukonsilta -bridge ”Isn´t quite weird?” “I love it! How elegant and gorgeous it is!” Opinions of citizens vary from side to side, when talking about Laukonsilta –bridge. Especially at first, when the bridge was built, the conversation about it was eager. Nowadays, we have gotten used to the modification in the stream pool´s landscape. The bridge is a new landmark in Tampere, almost like Näsinneula tower. WPS Finland LLC won the design competition about the bridge in 2010. Their “Kellopeli” ( Chimes) –proposition was also chosen “The bridge of year” in 2011. A member of design workgroup Jussi Tervaoja said that they wanted to create drama around the environment of the stream pool. In the evenings the bridge is lighted brilliantly. “It´s like an environment art work” he said. I think the bridges different appearance from the other bridges of Tampere made citizens skeptical. Laukonsilta connects the brand new neighbourhood in Ratina cape and traditional Laukontori –market place together. Significant part of Ratina cape is the Ratina stadium. It was built 1965 in the pit of old sand digs. Nowadays there are played football matches and listened great concerts. I still remember Red Hot Chili Pepper´s gig in 2012 where all my friends went, but I missed it. The gig was immediately sold out. There are awesome boat restaurants ashore in the stream pool in front of the stadium. I also love to visit Ratina´s Minetti –ice cream bar. The milieu is calm and lovely. At the moment Ratina is transforming. Functionalism-style buildings will be renovated and a new mall will be built to the Ratina´s cape. By 2017 Ratina cape will be dramatically changed. Something new, something old, definitely something cool.
1.7.2014 Keep going! There is a tasty prize on the top My feet are wiggling. There are several meters left. I´m climbing to the top of Pyynikki observation tower. First I had to cycle to the top the world´s highest esker. Now I´m climbing endless stairs. I want to do that because of the prize there is worth it. Pyynikki observation tower was built in 1929 on account of Tampere´s 150 birthday. Earlier there was a wooden observation tower since 1888. Designer of the tower was Georg Scherck, who is also the designer by our city hall and a few others top-architecture buildings in Tampere. Also café-tradition is not new invention Pyynikki esker. Pyynikki-neighborhood has always been known about its lively café-culture. In 1868 to the best place of the esker was established Ilomäki-huvilahuone (“Happy hill -villa”) whose tradition goes on even nowadays. Lapland has its fjelds, here in southern Finland we have our eskers. During the decline of the Ice Age the retreating ice massed different kinds of material to Tampere. Eskers are our own specialty here in Finland and so is their wild-life. The Pyynikki esker consists of moraine, which is a mix of different soils. There you can find protected tree species, for example junipers. Some of the trees have also holes of bullets from Finland´s civil war in 1918. The eskers relaxing views and harsh hills lure to work out. Local classic is running the 310 step´s of stairs. Do you have courage to test shape? There are color marks like traffic lights by the stairs. If you can run to the green mark in two minutes you are really good shape. After exercising you can take burned calories back, by visiting one of the most popular café in Tampere. Legendary doughnut is the prize that I told. A recipe is almost thirty-years-old and is unraveled all the time. Café´s founder, Eva Suoste´s recipe isn´t a secret, but atmosphere is original. Warm, welcoming area makes enjoying your doughnut special. My allergic friends are happy, because they make also egg-, dairy- and and gluten free doughnuts and all the ingredients come from Finland. Climbing (or taking an elevator) to the top is the other prize. Views are amazing and best photos of Tampere are taken here in fresh air. At the end I leave watching the beautiful different-style houses on the esker. I recommend taking a cycle around the streets. Houses are protected now like the esker, but still in 1970 everything was under a demolition threat. Luckily, we can still enjoy Pyynikki full of history.
22.7.2014 How many implicatures and symbols you´ll find? -Tampere cathedral All the gildings in catholic churches, domes in orthodox churches and mysterious mosques I’ve seen, have been gorgeous. Tampere´s cathedral has its rugged, very Finnish-style atmosphere with attracting twist and is surely worth a visit.
There were hard times when the church was built. In 1902-1907 Russification of Finland was at its peak. The art from this period is full of symbols – hidden and in plain view. When you step into main doors you´ll be impressed by size and somehow gloomy atmosphere. There may peek out grates under the mat. During old times the church was warmed up in burning wood and warmth came trough the grates. That led to blacken of whole church (soot) and warmer habit became modern. You can see a little grey ray on the altarpieces left top corner. Architect of the church was Lars Sonck. He designed it Romantic Nationalism-style. Except bells, every material and labor force is from Finland. Everything is handmade. Finnish national composer Jean Sibelius gave approval for bells so maybe bell are almost Finnish after all.
Painters and decorators made the main work to hide symbols. Painter Hugo Simberg, one of leaders in the artistic silence rally hid plenty of them into the church. His main works are located here: The Garden of Death and The Wounded Angel frescos. Tampere cathedral is my “home church” so I visit there quite often. The fresco on the middle of the ceiling always draws my attention. There is a snake. What? The beginning of all evil is located on the most holy place? Yes, but look again. The evil is surrounded by god´s guards, angels. Like in a real world says bible. Frescos and the other decorations were a bitter pill to swallow to contemporary people. Nowadays people are used to these paintings and the symbolism behind the art.
The church has been a center point of many interesting historical events. The church has protected victims of civil war and there have been electric light bulbs among of the first places in Finland. The bulbs don´t have lampshades because they wanted to show that Tampere is a pioneer. Nowadays there are lots of events and concerts in Tampere cathedral. Acoustics are pretty expressive. Tampere cathedral is almost like from Da Vinci code. Now it’s your time to become symbology scientist and find all the hidden codes.
24.7.2014 This can’t be a church There are two buildings in Tampere which don’t reveal their uses easily. Yes, there is a cross..Yes, there is written ´library´. Behind these interesting places Tampere main library Metso and Kalevan kirkko church are architects Raili ja Reima Pietilä. Especially Reima´s style isn´t really mainstream. His touch has always gone just opposite direction than the fashion was in those days. And that was worth it; the couple built a successful career. They are known as the most popular Finnish architects after Alvar Aalto.
Even if they have some masterpieces like a residence of our president or Finnish embassy in New Delhi, they came back to Tampere. Kaleva neighbourhood needed a church and a competition was put up. Pietilä couple wonthe competition with a controversial design. The church has a lot of symbols. It looks like fishwhen looked from above and yellowish color refers to linen. I think that Kalevan kirkko church could be Tampere cathedral if we didn’t have one already. It is so high and spectacular. I understand why they had to make it 15% smaller than the original design… The looks of it have been a topic for a lot of discussion. People started to call it the Silo of souls when it was completed in 1966. The church got an appointment for protection in 2006. I’ve read it’s the most significant modern-architecture church in Finland.
Characteristic Pietilä style won again in 1978. “Monumental building and practical inside” a judge said. Same identifiable style went on. It’s look like a wood grouse hence the name ´Metso´ (wood grouse in Finnish). When I moved to Tampere at the time I was six years old I wanted to venture its long corridors and find more and more new books. The library is huge for adults too. Recent years the library has been renovated by hearing citizens. Libraries aren’t the places of total silence anymore. It has become a place to just chill out with sofas and a great cultural café upstairs. Check also out contemporary art exhibition next to the café. Art has been chosen carefully. Young customers are very welcome. Everyone will find the place where enjoy. Some like little discussing for a background and the others love silence.
For me these places are important just for the sake of different ideas and outfits. They give me power to walk my own way. You can’t please everyone. People have understood it more and more in Tampere nowadays because of innovative citizens. Modern people with advanced ideas help us forward to form the Tampere of our dreams.
25.7.2014 Easy cycling past picturesque homes Adorable Viinikka suburb is calling. Viinikka started to build up from grounds of Hatanpää mansion. Little village developed more and more in early 20th century. Factory town needed space for workers and they had noticed that living tight increases risk of epidemics. Tampere needed to expand. Wooden house block was the most populous suburb in Tampere in the 1930’s.
And the most colorful I would say. There are cute wooden homes side by side. Some of the houses are like from storybooks. After lively Viinikka’s roundabout, sometimes called Viinikka Blender, (easy for city bikers) you´ll get to enjoy the peace and old-times atmosphere without loads of tourists. There are not that many well-kept wooden houses in Tampere but here you can find them by the dozens and dozens.
Families´ favorite suburb Viinikka has really invested in them. A yellow landmark is the first “weekday church” in Finland. There is church, rectory, youth center and for example scout club rooms inside the one building. It has said that church´s youth work began when Viinikka church was built in 1932.
The designer of the church was Yrjö Vaskinen from Tampere. He bet young Alvar Aalto in a designing competition of the church. The design combines classism and functionalism which was really modern in those days. There are plenty of interesting details around the church. There are for example weird swastikas – did you know that Swastikas have been used in prehistory and it used to be symbol for good fortune? A pulpit is also on “wrong” side. It’s because of practical reasons. On the left side there is a conference room and architect didn’t want to block conference room with pulpit. I marveled most the lack of an altarpiece. In an unusual way there is a golden statue in front of all. Nice, unique idea. Isn’t it?
Viinikka is a dream hood for families. Almost like Finnish dream; own peace, communal neighbours and all services just half kilometer away. And the cycling paths – They are awesome! Here people can cycle along own lanes.
28.7.2014 “Chim chim-in-ey, chim chim-in-ey Chim chim cher-oo!” 10 chimneys left. Northern “Manchester” (nickname for Tampere) has kept well its factory history. How many chimneys can you find just turn your head 360°?
The nickname, Northern Manchester might give wrong preconception to some people. Tampere has never really been black smoky town where the inhabitants haven’t able to dry their laundry outside. The main reason is the excellent chimney design. Puffing chimneys have been built higher than the houses and when apartment houses came in fashion, they heightened the Chimneys as well. Smells bothered citizens regardless of good chimney design. Sometimes wind brought a smell of burned leather from the shoe factory. Sometimes the problem was chemical smoke from the soap factory. “Stop! We get head ache!” said people. “Chimeneys belong to the landscape.” I agree with landscape researchers. We have to protect our chimneys. Otherwise The Wounded Angel in Tampere cathedral wouldn’t be the same. Nowadays the chimneys have started to deteriorate but renovating would be expensive. Shortening would be a one choice but it hasn’t achieved much popularity. The tallest example of chimneys is the Tampella’s chimney. Tampella´s factory was established 1856 but 98 meter high chimney was built in 1947. The years and the weather have done a lot to the chimney. Remains of soot corrode the building. Cleaning and resuscitation get 20 000e per year. Tampere wants keep its image; soon it’ll invest a total renovating with Finnish National Board of Antiquities. By the way there is a “Batman” light on the top.
1870 was completed the oldest one of the chimneys. Octagonal chimney of Frenckell factory is said to be the idol of beautiful chimneys. Next to it was a boiler room which has been turned into the reading room of library nowadays. Surrounding area is full of historic jugend-style buildings. Old library house is great for having concerts, exhibitions and so on. The old church at the Central Square is concentrated on immigrants and English services.
TAKO factory on western beach of Tammerkoski is still active. The cardboard factory was established in 1865 in the central spot of Tampere. The factory makes a huge work to stay in environmental specification. I haven´t seen as well-organized factory in the middle of the city as TAKO is. The best thing is: no smells, just water steam. Warm water steam is rising all the time and birds love it during winters.
Red bricks, copper roofs and chimneys. That is the recipe of Tampere.