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Archive for finland

Helsinki’s Maritime Fortress

By Linda Tancs

One of the world’s largest maritime fortresses, Suomenlinna was built off the coast of Helsinki, Finland, in 1748. In addition to the homeland, this notable monument of military architecture has defended Sweden and Russia. Anything but staid, the bastion fortress is a living district inhabited by 850 city residents. Open year round, you’ll want to reserve at least a half day to explore its many turns and tunnels.

One Hundred Years Into the Future

By Linda Tancs

In the middle of the scenic lake district of Saimaa in eastern Finland, the largest lake district in Europe, they’re celebrating one hundred years into the future.  That’s where you’ll find the medieval castle of Olavinlinna, site of the Savonlinna Opera Festival.  For 100 years, the astounding acoustics of Olavinlinna have been captivating opera lovers from all over the world.  The centennial season opens today with a grand gala, the program for which spans the entire 100-year history of the Festival.  Continuing through 4 August, the 2012 season is an interesting mixture of new and traditional, Finnish and international.  Representing tradition are three of the most legendary and most popular productions in the Festival’s history:  Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, and Verdi’s Aida.  These three classics will be matched with two world premieres:  Kimmo Hakola’s La Fenice and the first opera created by an online community: Free Will.  Round-trip transport to the season’s performances is provided (for a charge) from the main Savonlinna hotels.

Hot Igloos for Cold Nights

By Linda Tancs

If severe, wintry weather has you feeling like an Eskimo, then hunker in an igloo in style.  Consider the Igloo Village in Lapland, where glowing glass pods dot the landscape surrounding the safe haven of Finland’s second largest reserve, Urho Kekkonen National Park.  The Northern Lights are visible here until late April.  Not to worry, the igloos are climate-controlled, so you needn’t give up your creature comforts.  As the Eskimos say, “May you have warmth in your igloo, oil in your lamp, and peace in your heart.”

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

By Linda Tancs

In honor of the impeding arrival of Santa Claus, today we highlight Santa Claus’s Village. Located near Rovaniemi, Finland, approximately 520 miles from Helsinki, Santa Claus’s Village offers the child in all of us a chance to explore and discover the Arctic Circle origins of the world’s most famous gift giver.  Visit the village online at www.santaclausvillage.info.   Later tonight, track Santa’s progress in his world travels at www.noradsanta.org

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