Cultural attractions available in lake region

SAVONLINNA, Finland -- Cultural options abound in Savonlinna, a town in the Lake Saimaa region, about 200 miles northeast of Helsinki. The city has a population of about 30,000.

Highlights for visitors within a half-hour of the opera festival include historical buildings, underground passages, museum ships, a central market and a harbor full of steamers on which to take day cruises.

  • The Retretti Arts Center in nearby Punkaharju showcases modern art in a combination of traditional gallery space and an intriguing series of caves.
  • The location also features an underground concert hall. It is open year-round.

  • Rauhalinna Villa was presented as an anniversary gift by the Russian czar's lieutenant general to his wife in 1900. It now serves as a restaurant and hotel.
  • The Kerimaki Church is touted as the world's largest wooden church. It was built in 1847 and has more than 3,000 seats. The church is open to the public from June through August.
  • A provincial museum and three museum ships provide insight to the history of the region.
  • The museum is open daily in the summer and daily except Monday during the rest of the year. The boats are open for visits from May through August.

  • The site of the opera festival itself is an attraction.
  • Olavinlinna Castle was built in 1475. It has two adjacent museums open throughout the year.

    Parks and nature sites also abound in the area, and car, boat, canoe and bicycle rentals are available. Brochures can be requested from the Savonlinna Tourist Service.

    Savonlinna Tourist Service
    E-mail: [email protected]

    JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI