Tampere тАУ the city of industry

Went to Tampere, Finland on June 22, 2008

I have not blogged for a while. I was busy with home improvement тАУ got additional furniture. Also I have been reading books that I will describe in this blog shortly thereafter.

What I was planning to describe for a long time was my exploration of the city of Tampere. I have been visiting numerous museums тАУ the art museum which at the moment has a wonderful exhibition of modern art. I have been trying to get into detail with Finnish art and architecture. Alvar Aalto is a very interesting architect. But again, I will describe those findings in another post. Besides art, I have visited the house of a prominent businessman of the past who was in the shoe making industry. Amazingly, his house is quite similar to the house in which I was living in the US. Obviously, people there are trying to design their lives in accordance with European tradition. That businessman called himself a friend of arts. There is an art gallery in his house.

First and foremost, though, Tampere is an industrial city. Its nickname is Manse meaning Manchester. In early 19th century an Englishman named Finlayson started his business in Finland. If I recall it correctly, he wanted to produce weaving machines. However, the demand for those was not good enough so he decided to get into weaving business itself. He was taking great care of his workforce. For them he has built housing, schools, hospitals, etc. That is, he has built a city within a city. These days Finlayson is a popular hangout place for the inhabitants of Tampere. There are a number of museums in that area. For example, the social security museum describes the process of improving life conditions in Finland. In another section of the museum a huge steam engine that powered the factory is presented. There is also a museum of weaving machines. Their sophistication is very surprising тАУ how could one build a machine consisting of hundreds of fine parts in early 19th century without a computer and CAD software?

Finlayson city is situated at the banks of Tammerkoski meaning Rapids of Tampere. It looks like Venice because of the proximity of buildings and water. There is an art gallery in Finlayson as well.

On the other bank of the rapids is Vapriikki тАУ a huge museum that houses a number of exhibitions at any given moment. When I visited the museum I attended Velomania тАУ an exhibition of history of bicycles, then an exhibition of 1918 Revolution history, and a linen art exhibition. There are permanent exhibitions as well, for example the early Finnish history exhibition. The area where Tampere is situated these days was inhabited for a long time. Vikings were having their battles here in early 1000s and even before that. Another interesting exhibition of Finnish ice hockey hall of fame.

The building in which the museum is located these days is called Tampela. Different types of engines were manufactured here. There was a school in this building as well where people were taught engineering. In contrast with most museums in Tampere which are quite small, visiting Vapriikki takes the whole day. The significance of this museum is comparable with that of Louvre.


Relocating to the new apartment is largely over. I have received the dining table, I also got a TV-set table which I am using to store different magazines, papers, etc. It is used instead of a working desk which I have not got yet. I am planning to buy a small table for the balcony where I will have breakfast in the summer. So far, the weather is not very hot, near 0 centigrade. Staying at balcony for a long time feels quite cold.

I am starting to explore the city of Tampere during weekends. Last Saturday I visited two museums: Lenin museum and Museum of Minerals.

Lenin museum is not very big but it is quite interesting. There are lots of LeninтАЩs publications, handwritten notes, pictures. Also, there are a few personal belongings of him. It turns out that Gorky has visited Lenin in Finland. As a city of workers, Tampere was very attractive for revolutionists. They gave lots of speeches here. The museum has shop with Soviet artifacts.

The museum of minerals is not very big either but it is packed with stones from around the world. In particular, there are lots of stones from Brazil. It has a collection of diamonds. You can buy stones in the museum shop.