The State Hotel
Valtionhotelli or the State Hotel was built by the Finnish senate from 1901-1903 after previous hotels were burnt down because they were wooden. The hotel designed by Usko Nystroem is one of the best examples of the turn of the century architecture.
There are several power stations in Imatra which use water power. It's quite amazing watching the fast running water.
On the 3rd picture is the "runner wheel" of a turbine that was in use from 1.4.1936 until 5.11.1989. You can see this wheel just by the power station with explanations in various languages.
Imatra's famous rapids
The old rapids water flow is heavily regulated and there is a big power plant so usually the old rapids is dry. However, go see the rapids when they are letting water through. This happens regularly in the summer and it's a popular tourist attraction. It's a great sight.
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Opening of the water gates
This is what is looks a few minutes after 7pm. They let music play with the spectacle and it's impressive to see how the water comes rushing down and finds its way. After 30 minutes they close the gates again.
The impressive Imatrankoski rapids, oldest tourist attraction in Finland, cuts the city in half. It is usually empty, just the rocky river bed in sight, but in summer time and at Christmas and New Years Eve they have rapids shows there.
It all starts with a telling of a story about the birth of the rapids and then music from the famous Finnish composer, Sibelius, fills the air. They open the flood gates and water slowly starts to run to the river bed with an ever increacing power smashing to the rocks and rumbling so loud you can hardly hear the music anymore. When its dark they have a light show accompanying the event.
It is an impressive show, so dont' miss it if you're in Imatra. It doesn't even cost a thing.
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Imatra's most famous attraction.
Some days a year you can see The Rapids Show which lasts 20 minutes. Eight minutes after the flood gates are opened, the foams reach their peak with an average of 500 cubic metres of water per second flowing in the stream.
You can find schedule of this show on the following url
No waterfall in winter
In winter you can view the contrast to when everything is under snow. Some of the walks downstream from the dam cannot be used as they are way too slippery and dangerous.
Go for a walk
along the river. There are some nice paths. It's really the nature that is the main attraction in Imatra.
This statue is nicely set with a miniature waterfall. It cannot be missed on your walk around the watery aera.
The main attraction is the artificial waterfall
If you come in summer before 7 pm this is what it looks like and everybody waits around the site or on the bridge for action.
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