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Tampere Travel Guide

The Old Church (Vanha kirkko), Tampere (© setimino - iStockphoto.com)
The Old Church, Tampere.

Introduction

Remarkably sited between two lakes, Tampere is a bustling student city and the second largest conurbation after Helsinki. Its industrial history owed it the moniker of "Manchester of Finland".

Attractions

Tampere is a modern city, and you shouldn't expect to see a lot of traditional architecture. One exception is the excellent Amuri Museum of Workers' Housing, a faithful recontruction of a 19th-century neighbourhood with the shops and all.

The city's industrial age commenced with the arrival of the Scottish engineer James Finlayson, who established a small water-powered factory along the Tammerkoski river in 1820. A few years later he imported from England machinery suitable for a textile industry, and opened a fully-fledged cotton mills in 1828. It has since been converted into a mall, the Finlayson Centre.

Relatively recent, the Tuomiokirkko (Tampere Cathedral), was built between 1902 and 1907. Singular in appearance, it is one of the best examples of Finland's National Romantic style. The cathedral was designed by the architect Lars Sonck. Its famous frescoes were painted by the symbolist Hugo Simberg.

Perhaps the most eye-pleasing monument in town is the so-called Old Church (Vanha kirkko), a pretty yellow and white Baroque construction on the edge of the Tampere Central Square. It was built in 1824.

Other buildings of interest include the Raatihuone (City Hall), constructed in Renaissance Revival style in 1890, the Finlayson Palace, the Pikkupalatsi Palace, the Haarla Palace, and the Orthodox Church of Tampere.

You can observe the stunning scenery of Tampere's surrounding lakes from the Näsinneula tower. Inspired by the Space Needle in Seattle, it is the tallest observation tower in the Nordic countries at a height of 168 metres (551 ft). It has a revolving restaurant at the top.

The most popular attraction with kids is the Särkänniemi amusement park, featuring six rollercoasters, over 30 rides, an aquarium (with dolphinarium), a children's zoo, a planetarium, and an art gallery.

Museums

Children and adults alike will can explore the world of Tove Jansson's comic strips at the Moomin Museum.

Tampere's Lenin Museum is one of the world's last museums dedicated to the communist revolutionary. You can play the secret agent and test your KGB suitability at the Spy Museum.

The Vapriikki Museum Centre houses the Natural History Museum, a Shoe Museum and Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame.

Festivals

Aside from museums, Tampere has numerous events to keep visitors busy most of the year, like the Tampere Film Festival (in March), Tampere Biennale (in April), Tampere Vocal Music Festival (in June), Tammerfest (rock festival, mid-July), Tampere Floral Festival (late July), Tampere Jazz Happening (in October or November).

Travel Community

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Tampere Cathedral (photo by Mikko Paananen - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)
Tampere Cathedral.

Pikkupalatsi Palace, Tampere (photo by Visa580 - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)
The Pikkupalatsi Palace, Tampere.

Tampere Ortodox Church (photo by Mikko Paananen - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)
The Tampere Ortodox Church.

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