Together we will create the Saimaa phenomenon
The Saimaa phenomenon tells the story of Finnish Lakeland!
Savonlinna is the joint candidate for European Capital of Culture 2026 from the regions of Eastern Finland. The regions’ central towns of Mikkeli, Kuopio, Joensuu and Lappeenranta all back the idea. Work has been carried out on a collaborative network and on the concept since summer 2018. At the heart of Savonlinna’s application to become European Capital of Culture will firstly be stories drawing on life, past and present, in this unique lake district, the most beautiful in the world, and secondly a wide-ranging, innovative cultural programme built on them, in which everyone can participate. Water is the central element bringing together the towns involved in the project in Eastern Finland.
PHENOMENAL REASON NO. 1
Savonlinna is an international city of culture and education at the heart of Lake Saimaa. More than half a million tourists come to the town every year.
PHENOMENAL REASON NO. 2
Savonlinna is known for Olavinlinna Castle and the Savonlinna Opera Festival held there. In 2018, the festival attracted a total of more than 70,000 visitors.
PHENOMENAL REASON NO. 3
Built in the fifteenth century, Olavinlinna is one of Finland’s best-known sights. Many people may be unaware that it is the world’s northernmost medieval castle still in operation.
PHENOMENAL REASON NO. 4
Savonlinna (Nyslott in Swedish) is the oldest town in Eastern Finland. It was founded by Per Brahe in 1639. Geographically, it is located at the crossroads between the central towns of the four regions that go to make up Eastern Finland – South Savo, North Savo, South Karelia and North Karelia – where east has been meeting west for centuries.
PHENOMENAL REASON NO. 5
Savonlinna has a population of about 34,000. The area covered by the four regions is home to almost 700,000 people. Eastern Finland is also a popular holiday and weekend destination and has more than 126,000 holiday homes. In South Savo alone, the seasonal population is more than twice that of the statistical population. In July, for example, the population exceeds the number of residents in the official statistics by 31,600 people. (Source: Natural Resources Institute Finland, www.luke.fi)
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