Lappeenranta Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by akkipaa
  • Soskua lock
    Soskua lock
    by akkipaa
  • Russian border on the lake
    Russian border on the lake
    by akkipaa

Most Recent Things to Do in Lappeenranta

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    Orthodox church (Virgin Mary Church)

    by akkipaa Updated Nov 27, 2014

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    The Orthodox Church of Lappeenranta is sanctified to Virgin Mary ("Jumalansynnyttäjän suojeluksen kirkko", I tried to find official translation, but was not lucky, unofficially: "The church of the protection of the one who gave birth to God") is the oldest Orthodox church in Finland. It's quite small but located in fascinating Fortress area close to Lappeenranta harbor. When visiting the church I discussed the Father and he said that they are in upstream, the number of parishioners is increasing, mostly because of immigration from Russia and students coming to university of Lappeenranta from around. We had a nice chat about monasteries around, especially of Valaam in Lake Ladoga, Russia.

    Lappeenranta was joined to Russia after the Hats Russian War (Hattujen sota) and the peace of Turku 1743 and since the times Orthodoxy has been influencing to city's culture and atmosphere. The first Orthodox church was built here on 1744, close to current one, and the first decisions to build a new stony one was done 1780. You know, money was an issue on those days also and the final funds made it possible to build the church during 1782 - 1785 to the same place were the previous one was.

    The stones for foundation came from Saimaa area (now we float more timber than stones, lucky us, timber floats better) and the bricks are probably local (I try to confirm this later) also.

    The main icon is "Icon of Pokrova" (about 1780) and it presents Virgin Maria protecting Constantinople (the church is also called "the Church of Pokrova).

    The church was built almost again 1901, with great influence of Grand Duchy of Finland, Nikolai Ivanovits Bobrikov, one of the most hated man in Finnish history (Eugen Schauman, a Finnish civil servant, shot Nikolai dead in the stairs of Senate of Finland 1904). The funds for this reconstruction came partially from local merchant families Wolkoff and Tasihin. By the way, many Russian czars have visited the church, at least Alexander I and III (and Bobrikov also who was the representative of the czar in Finland).

    Currently there are about 2000 parishioners and Lappeenranta belongs to diocese of Helsinki (which was a small surprise to me, this is of the few, I hope, examples where current Karelias (North and South) are separated).

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    The Old Park (Park of Kisses)

    by akkipaa Written Nov 26, 2014

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    The first park of Lappeenranta is from 1850 and it's located in the southern part of the Fortress currently besides Street of Kristiina (Kristiinankatu).

    The nickname "Kiss Park or Park of Kisses" is from soldiers and their girlfriends, it's not a surprise that this park has been a source to marriages and loves during ages. The oldest kiosk of Lappeenranta is of course here and it's probably from year 1893 (at least these numbers are written to pennant of the kiosk).

    There is also Singing stage planned by Otto-Iivari Meurmanin (1926) and the Statue of Dragoon (1982) by Pentti Papinaho and the summer theatre of Lappeenranta.

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    Port of Lappeenranta

    by akkipaa Updated Nov 25, 2014

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    For me there are two hearths (so far) in Lappeenranta, the other is Fortress and other is Port area. (You know, winter time is challenging for photographer, all photos tend to become black and white, so I currently prefer night time (which we have a lot) photos.)

    The Port is almost the centre of the town during summers. There are "floating" and normal restaurants, a lot of events and a lot of people all day long. It's located on the Bay of the town (Kaupunginlahti) and the speciality is cruise ships which start from there, to the archipelago of Saimaa, other towns and to Vyborg, Russia. I strongly recommend a day trip to Russia, it's currently Visa free, you spend a lot of time in the ship (12 hours) and 2-3 hours in Vyborg. You get the feeling and spirit of the Saimaa, Samaa canal and can take a short view to Vyborg, old Finnish town.

    I am not a specialist yet, but you can get the best Vetys and Atomis from The Port, at least during summer time there's a kiosk called Satama-Sanni (Sanni of the Port). Next time this is possible on Spring 2015.

    The floating restaurants are S/S Prinsessa Armaada and S/S Suvi-Saimaa, and they serve customers during summer (from end of April to early Autumn). Kind of floating terace is Casino Terace also with about the same opening time like the other (this is Finland, it has been said that we live only during summers and that is atleast a fact with these Port restaurants.

    View from the Fortress Fountain on the Bay In the ship going to Vyborg, Russia
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    Lake Saimaa

    by akkipaa Written Nov 23, 2014

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    Lappeenranta is located in the "Lake side Finland". We have almost 200 000 lakes (more than one hectare) containing almost as much islands. The Lakes are are in the middle east area of Finland and lakes has a great influence to Finns, our culture and industries.

    Even we don't know how to define if but this is my translation: "Great Saimaa" is the whole area, starting from North Carelia, including tens of the lakes (like my own Rikkavesi lake where my summer cottage is located, let's call it "Upper Waters :). "Saimaa" is a lake where the water level is the same, meaning that the Saimaa is from Lappeenranta to Joensuu. "Small Saimaa" is a part of Saimaa's western branches, like an dead end, waters are not floating to anyway.

    Saimaa goes to Russia from two ends, Vuoksi river (the main flow) and Saimaa chanel.

    Great Saimaa lakes have influenced largely to Finns, all important towns (Kuopio, Mikkeli, Imatra, Lappeenranta, Savonlinna) and many smaller are located on the banks of the lake and a lot of industries are born on the banks. Historically we have two main areas in forest industry: tar and logs, the tar area is in the middle north (water flow to the Gulf of Botnia), with main city of Oulu, and the logs, which slow on Saimaa area to cities like Imatra and Lappeenranta.

    I don't check this, but just a feeling. You know, we have saunas, some 1,5 millions, and I have a feeling that half of those are on the banks of Saimaa. If I am wrong, that is not important, I know that the saunas on the area are many.

    By the way, we used to have own produced tobacco and one branch was "Saimaa", so that was in the group of "Bostons" and "Marlboroughs". We used to have a phrase on those days: "Draw it to tobacco box", meaning that design and plans bigger than you can draw to hard tobacco box are useless and only for pedantic nitpickers.

    Take a boat and have a trip, you can fish, sun tan, relax, go to sauna or just calm don't on the water.

    The total size of the Great Saimaa is little less than 4500 square kilometers, more than one percent of Finland's whole area.

    One snapshot of the Saimaa Logs waiting the process

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    Lappeenranta church

    by akkipaa Written Nov 23, 2014

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    Lappeenranta church is built on 1924 and it is the main church of Lappeenranta Lutheran congregation. Lappeenranta is a old military town and this church was planned to be for Military Orthodox and Russian garrison. The architect was Georgi Kosekov and the church represent new Byzantine style with main tower and four side towers. Small cupolas are from 2008.

    The start-up of the building work was 1912, but as quite many other constructions, the work was postponed by World War and it was reconstructed to Lutheran use during 1922-23 and finally it was launched 1924.

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    Saimaa Canal - Saimaan Kanava

    by akkipaa Written Nov 23, 2014

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    Saimaa Canal is one key issue behind Lappeenranta areas welfare. The canal links Lappeenranta via small lakes, rivers and with eight canal locks to Gulf of Finland, Vyborg and Russia. It took ten years, from 1845 to 1856 and it was overhauled and widened 1963-1968. The canal is built by Finns and it's rented and maintained by Finns. The last rental contract lasts till 2058, the contract price is currently 1,22 million euros annually the price is checked every ten years (2018 next time).

    There are 8 locks: Mälkiä (Finland), Mustola (F), Soskua (F), Pälli (Russia), Ilyistoye (Lietjärvi R), Tsvetochnoye (Rättijärvi R), Iskrovka (Särkijärvi R) and Brusnichnoye (Juustila R).

    The highest lock lift is 12,4 meters and lowest 5,5. The total height is 75,7 meters and the total length of the canal is 42,9 kilometers.

    All cargo and leisure time ships are allowed to pass the canal, but sailing boats only by motor without sails. Of course there are some size limitations and if you are interested of those, please check the current from Finnish Transport Agency.

    During summer times you can take a cruise from Lappeenranta and visit Vyborg, Russia during a day without Visa to Russia. You can see whole canal and the trip takes some 6+6 hours plus 2-3 hours in Vyborg. My recommendations, this is the easiest way to visit Russia, even Vyborg is a quite small city, but with lot of history to spend more time also. Check the availability and prices for example from Saimaa cruises (http://www.saimaacruises.fi/In-English). Some of the ships are well equipped with tax free shop and possibilities to have lunch and/or dinner in the ship. Also the guide, at least in M/S Carealia, is extremely helpful and informative.

    Check the pictures, one is from rock where is written with golden letters: "Nikolai I and Alexander II, Acts and progress in Finland". The text is in Finnish and Russian.

    Soskua lock Russian border on the lake Railway bridge before Vyborg Golden letters on the rock
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    Sand castle Festivals

    by akkipaa Written Nov 23, 2014

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    Sand Castle festivals have been arranged from 2004 in Lappeenranta. There's always some theme behind, it started from "Middle age castle" followed with Jungle, Sea, Space, Wild West, Fairy tale, Dinos, Circus, Wildman strand (Villimiehenranta) and Kalevala (the national poem of Finland) and finally Music this year.

    Some three million kilos of sand is collected to the area and finally the sculptures are covered with tree glue strengthening the structure to face wind and rain.

    The season is over, so I updated this after I know what happens during summer 2015.

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  • Cruises on Lake Saimaa

    by jarmko Updated Apr 4, 2011

    Let's face it : Lappeenranta is a summer town. There're a lot of things to do during summer time. If you like cruises take one on lake Saimaa. You can cruise from Lappeenranta to several Finnish towns. In case you're interested in traveling to Russia, you can take a cruise from Lappeenranta to Vyborg and stay there 1-2 nights.

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    The Fortress of Lappeenranta

    by finlandia Written Aug 10, 2009

    Lappeenranta is an old spa, cavalry and tar town which was founded by Queen Christina of Sweden in 1649. The history is still living in the old fortress. You find museums, the oldest Orthodox church in Finland, craftmen's shops and beautiful cafeterias there.

    The Cavalry Museum is in the oldest building of the town, a guardhouse from 1772. The museum displays the history of the Finnish cavalry from the Thirty Years' War until today.

    The South Karelian Museum is situated in the buildings with thick walls made of limestone and used to be storehouses for provisions and gans.

    The South Karelian Art Museum is situated in two barracks from the end of the 18th century.

    The Sports Hall is situated in a former prison building completed in the 1880's. The Town Archives is situated in an old barracks building from the 18th century, also served as a prison.

    The Pictorial Art School is situated in a building which was designed in 1884 as a sauna, laundry and workshop for a labour prison. Between 1961 and 1985 it served as a cocoa roastery.

    Majurska House: handicraft shops and Caf�� Majurska Cavalry Museum Parish Hall Former Commandant's House The view from the fortress to the harbour
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    Sandcastle - the biggest sand sculpture in Finland

    by finlandia Written Aug 10, 2009

    The biggest sandcastle in Scandinavia has been built only of three million kilos of concrete filler sand (that means 180 truckloads), no supporting structures have been used. The sand comes from Rudus sandpit in Rutola, Lappeenranta. The moisturized sand has beeb packed up with the help of plywood moulds and has been sculptured proceeding from the top downwards. The sculptures have been sprayed with a mixture of water and woodglue which composes a protectice coating against raindrops and wind. The sandcastle is open during summer months (new kind of castle in every summer). Free admission.

    Lappeenranta Sandcastle 2009 Lappeenranta Sandcastle 2009 Lappeenranta Sandcastle 2009 Lappeenranta Sandcastle 2009 Lappeenranta Sandcastle 2009
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    And yet another church

    by Knutt Written Feb 5, 2004

    The nicest place to go to while you are in Lappeenranta is probably the fortress.
    Here you can not only find museums and coffee places but also this wonderful church. The church which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary was built as early as 1785 and therefore it is the oldest orthodox church in Finland.

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    Lappee Church

    by Knutt Updated Feb 5, 2004

    In the 'Central Park' you will find this wooden church that was built in 1794 and which was situated outside the city's boundaries in those days.
    The bell tower, by the way, was added to the church much later.

    Lappee Church

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    The Town Hall

    by Knutt Written Feb 5, 2004

    Lappeenranta's wooden town hall was built in 1829 after the drawings of C. Engel (who also designed the Senate Square in Helsinki) and only in 1983 the city's officials moved to a new building.
    With its characteristic clock tower the town hall has become one of Lappeenranta's most famous buildings.

    Town hall

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    Church at night

    by Gili_S Written Jan 31, 2004

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    As I arrived at night this is actually the first thing I saw when I arrive to Lappeenranta, this church located somewhere at the top of the hill in town and with the special lights its look beautiful and you can see it almost from any place in town.

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    South Karelian Art Museum

    by Gili_S Written Jan 31, 2004

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    This art museum located at the fortress just opposite of the Orthodox Church, the museum containing old and modern arts, but as I was here on New Years day, it was closed and I could not visit inside.

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