Trip to Saimaa. Part 2 – Lappeenranta.

In this post I’ll tell you about the city of Lappeenranta. It’s a beautiful place on the shore of the Great Saimaa lake, where we went to for a fishing trip.

When you walk around the city, it feels and looks quite small, but in fact it’s the 13th largest city in Finland. Who would have thought!

First people started settling in this area at the end of the Ice Age. The city was officially founded in 1649 by the Swedish queen Christina. In 18th century, Lappeenranta was a stage for some of the most important battles in the Russian-Swedish war. Swedes lost the city and it became part of the Russian empire in 1743, and returned back to Finland in 1917.

Lappeenranta of the 21st century is famous for its University and  entrepreneurial spirit, as there are quite many private companies registered there. It’s also a popular tourist destination and since it’s so close to the Russian border (only 30 km), naturally, there are quite many Russian visitors.

What stroke me about Lappeenranta is its rich historical heritage. The war between Sweden and Russia, the First World War, the Winter War, the Second World War – the signs and marks of those events survived and also became an organic part of the city’s present.

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What you also need to know about Lappeenranta is that it’s a summer city. In June it swims in the aromas of blooming lilac, acacia and apple trees slowly sinking into tender white nights. Magical scenery!

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If you are not sure where to start exploring Lappeenranta, go to the shore. There you can take some really nice shots of the Saimaa lake and walk around the remains of the old fortress that became a park.

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As a side note, children playgrounds have quite original design, and they don’t repeat each other.

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If you go further down the shore line, you’ll see a lot of sand figures – “Heroes” exhibition. I’m not sure if it’s open the whole summer or not. I’d recommend checking it out, if the weather is not windy. Otherwise, you’re gonna have a baaaad time. Don’t ask me how I know it 🙂

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If you turn left from the sand figures and go up a little bit, you’ll come to the old square named after Alexander Suvorov. There are a lot of nice souvenirs shops and cafes for all tastes.

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Lappeenranta is a very charming city, and I’m very interested in coming back there in autumn. I bet it looks gorgeous in orange and yellow!

Next post will cover the last leg of our journey – Imatra waterfalls. Stay tuned and happy Juhannus weekend everyone!

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