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Country name: Suomi/Finland or Republic of Finland ( Suomen tasavalta/Republiken Finland )
Location:
A country of northern Europe. It is bounded on the north by Norway;
on the east by the Soviet Union; on the south by the Gulf of Finland, and on the west by Sweden and the Gulf of Bothnia.
Capital: Helsinki
Largest cities:
Helsinki
Tampere
Turku
Lahti
Espoo
Oulu
Pori
Kuopio
Vaasa
Imatra and Jyväskylä
Nationality: Finn/s and Finnish
Ethnic groups: Finn, Swede, Russian, Estonian, Roma, Sami
Religions: Lutheran National Church, Greek Orthodox in Finland
Languages: Finnish(official), Swedish(official), other (small Sami-
and Russian-speaking minorities)
Facts:
*More than 60 000 islands dot Finland's 1,250 km long coast.
*Finland is divided into 6 provinces:
Southern Finland
Western Finland
Eastern Finland
Oulu
Lapland
Åland
The provinces are further divided into 90 state local districts.
*March 29, 1809 - Finland becomes an autonomous Grand Duchy under the Russian Empire.
*1812 - Helsinki declared capital of Finland
*6 December 1917 - Finland declares itself independent and
becomes a republic on June 17, 1919.
*1919 - Finland becomes a republic, with Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg elected as its first President.
*1920 - The Finnish–Russian border was agreed upon in the Treaty
of Tartu
*Finland is the least corrupt and most democratic country in the
world.


Helsinki
As the capital of Finland, Helsinki offers countless ways to spend your holiday: it is, for instance, a centre of artistic culture in Scandinavia, with a number of museums and galleries to visit. It also affords various settings for visitors to enjoy; from a remarkable cityscape to natural parks and preserves. However, despite its large size, Helsinki is an intimate city - and while
it is carries a lively atmosphere, it's not particularly bustling. This makes the city particularly easy to walk around and so enjoy
its various attractions, cafés and marketplaces at leisure. It's also an ideal holiday destination for individuals, couples and families. Boasting such attractions as the Linnanmäki amusement park, the Merimaailma Sea Life aquarium and the
Korkeasaari Helsinki Zoo, children - as well as adults - can take delight in Helsinki's countless splendours.

Located along the Gulf of Finland, Helsinki boasts many kilometres of coastline stunning - a geographic feature which makes it ideal to visit during the summer months. The nearby islands, which visitors can access by ferry, are especially popular with
locals and tourists. Among Helsinki's most frequented coastal attractions are Nietaniemi Beach in the district of Töölö, the Seurasaari Island with its parks and open air museum and the Suomenlinna naval fortress, which is a UNESCO World
Heritage site.

The architecture in Helsinki is also one of its highest appeals; the city is strewn with neo-medieval castles and buildings, as
well as neo-classic structures which were often used as backdrops for Hollywood movies set in the Cold War era. However,
the city is best known for its beautiful Art Nouveau buildings, which date from the early 1900s. Helsinki is also home to a
number of architecturally unique churches, most of which are Lutheran, Roman Catholic and Orthodox.
As Finland's 'culture capital,' Helsinki can also boast a vast range of art galleries and museums. The largest historical
museum in Helsinki is the National Museum of Finland, which holds a large collection dating from prehistoric times to the
21st century. Other major historical museums in the city include the Helsinki City Museum, the University Museum and the Natural History Museum. The Finnish National Gallery is another large art venue and houses the Ateneum Art Museum for classical Finnish art, the Sinebrychoff Art Museum for classical European art and the Kiasma Art Museum for modern Art -
which is also said to be Helsinki's most architecturally controversial building.

Theatregoers visiting Helsinki are sure to be impressed by the city's grandiose theatres: the Finnish National Theatre, the Helsinki City Theatre and the Finland Swedish Svenska Teatern all host spectacular small to large-scale productions through-
out the year. The city also boasts a range of fantastic music venues, including the Finnish National Opera and the Finlandia concert hall.

   
Images: Left to right. Harbour in Helsinki, Town hall of Pori, The "big white church" in Helsinki

Lapland
Lapland is the name of a region in north Europe that belongs to Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia and it is traditionally inhabited by the Sami people. Today the northernmost province of Finland officially carries the name Lapland. Similarly, the northernmost province in Sweden, although administratively subdivided between two counties, carries the name Lapland.
Lapland is located in Northern Europe and includes the northern parts of Scandinavia and the Kola Peninsula in Russia.
The Swedish Lapland is known as Europe's "Last Great Wilderness" and it is situated close to the Arctic Circle having stun-
ning views and beautiful un-spoilt countryside. It's one of the most unspoilt areas on earth with high mountains, open plateaus, forests, rivers and waterfalls. Most rivers till run free from the mountains to the sea, following channels cut ten thousand years
ago by the melting inland ice. The enormous forest areas are sparsely populated, but there are plenty of wild animals such as moose, bear, Reindeer, wolf and land birds. Sea and river fisheries abound in the region. Steamers are operated on some of
the lakes, and a few ports are ice-free throughout the year.
The coastline of Lapland is very attractive with its bays, long sandy beaches and picturesque villages. It is impossible not to
be fascinated by the 300 km seacoast and the archipelago of hundreds of islands. When the surface of the sea is covered in
ice an exciting new landscape is created.
If you are looking for a natural peaceful and beautiful place to spend your holiday you can explore this land of legends and
nature in whichever way you choose.
The tourists can enjoy a sub artic climate with extreme temperature variations. It is mild in the summer with temperatures reaching 20C and a snowland in winter with -30C in the coldest months. The natural phenomena and culture are an attraction during all the seasons.
In the summer the sun does not set and doesn't rise in mid-winter and that's why Lapland is called the Land of the Midnight
Sun. The winter starts in November when the sun barely rises over the horizon and the first blanket of snow covers the land.
One of the most interesting phenomena during winter is the Aurora Borealis - the Northern Lights which is nature's most
beautiful light show, with quickly changing colours, power and changing form. It is said that the strongest and brightest of
the Northern Lights will give as much light as the moon.
The spring comes with melting ice. In spring the sun hangs low over the horizon, casting light day and night and the elongated days make it the perfect place for al-fresco activities. Between June and the first half of July the sun does not actually set.
As a tourist you can enjoy in Lapland different activities such as mountain climbing, hiking, and alpine skiing, some by fishing
by a quiet woodland pool. You can snuggle under reindeer skins in a dogsled and watch the magical dance of the Northern
Lights across the heavens. For the ones with a passion for fishing, ice fishing or Nordic touring are good options.
The coast offers you great options like a secret cove with a shallow water beach. You can paddle a kayak silently from one
island to another or enjoy a swim under the Midnight Sun.
If you are looking for a special Christmas Holiday you can try the famous Santa Claus village, near the town of Rovaniemi on
the Arctic Circle. It is an enchanting winter wonderland where you and your family can go in search of Santa Claus.
Enjoy husky and reindeer sleigh rides and enjoy all the sparkle of an old-fashioned Christmas.
Another special attraction is the village made of ice: Jukkasjarvi with its Ice Hotel has been rebuilt every year since 1989.
As the hotel melts in the summer and is rebuilt in the winter, it is never more than six months old. Inside the hotel you will find
an art gallery, ice bar, cinema and chapel. The Ice Church is a consecrated room of snow and ice in which church services, weddings and christenings take place. Naturally Lapland is famous for dog-sleigh and snowmobile safaris, amazing
adventures in the arctic wilderness.