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Art and Culture in Saint-Petersburg

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Peterhof
One of St. Petersburg's most famous and popular visitor attractions, the palace and park at Peterhof (also known as Petrodvorets) are often referred to as "the Russian Versailles", although many visitors conclude that the comparison does a disservice to the grandeur and scope of this majestic estate. Versailles was, however, the inspiration for Peter the Great's desire to build an imperial palace in the suburbs of his new city and, after an aborted attempt at Strelna, Peterhof - which means "Peter's Court" in German - became the site for the Tsar's Monplaisir Palace, and then of the original Grand Palace. The estate was equally popular with Peter's daughter, Empress Elizabeth, who ordered the expansion of the Grand Palace and greatly extended the park and the famous system of fountains, including the truly spectacular Grand Cascade. Improvements to the park continued throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Catherine the Great, after leaving her own mark on the park, moved the court to Pushkin, but Peterhof once again became the official Imperial Residence in the reign of Nicholas I, who ordered the building of the modest Cottage Palace in 1826. Like almost all St. Petersburg's suburban estates, Peterhof was ravaged by German troops during the Second World War. It was, however, one of the first to be resurrected and, thanks to the work of military engineers as well as over 1,000 volunteers, the Lower Park opened to the public in 1945 and the facades of the Grand Palace were restored in 1952. The name was also de-Germanicized in 1944, becoming Petrodvorets, the name under which the surrounding town is still known. The palace and park are once again known as Peterhof.
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Narva Museum
Narva Museum today – it is the Narva stronghold, the Northern Courtyard, and the Art Gallery. These are more than architectural monuments, as the castle and the gallery also have exhibition halls. The exhibition of Narva castle talks about the history of Narva from the 13th century until the beginning of the 20th century. In 1991, the Art Gallery was opened. This allowed the museum to host Estonian and foreign art exhibitions in addition to displaying its own art collection. In 2007, Põhjaõu was opened as a new tourist attraction in the Northern Courtyard of the castle; this is how Narva Museum interprets the district of artisans dating from the 17th century.
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Wolkoff House Museum
Built in 1826, Wolkoff House is located in the centre of the town and is one of the oldest wooden buildings in Lappeenranta. It originally belonged to a Russian merchant family, from 1872 to 1986, and was opened as a museum to the public in 1993.
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South Karelia Art Museum
Founded in 1965, the Lappeenranta Art Museum initially occupied the same premises as the South Karelia Museum of Cultural History, at the northern tip of the Lappeenranta Fortress. In the 1980s, the Art Museum moved to its present site in the neoclassic-style barracks (built in 1798), opposite the Orthodox Church. In 1986, the Art Museum became the Regional Art Museum of South-East Finland. The museum is home to a collection of Finnish art from the mid-19th century to the present day. The museum’s largest single collection of old Finnish art was accumulated by Viipurin Taiteenystävät ry (Vyborg Friends of Art); this collection includes works by many well-known artists such as Albert Edelfelt, Pekka Halonen, Tyko Sallinen, Hjalmar Munsterhjelm and Eero Järnefelt. The collection has paintings by artists who were active in Vyborg or were born there. The contemporary art collections, on the other hand, focus in particular on art from south-east Finland and include paintings by Leena Luostarinen, Unto Ahjotuli, Anne Tompuri, Irmeli Tarmo, Eeva Vesterinen, Heimo Suntio and Sinikka Kurkinen etc. etc. Every year, the Art Museum also stages between three and four temporary exhibitions which feature both the latest trends in the world of art and works representing earlier periods in the history of art.
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The Johanna Oras Manor Gallery
Johanna and Reijo Oras purchased the Tuunaankartano Manor, situated in the heart of the Retretti area in Punkaharju. The manor-house, built in the 1910s, is the permanent location for Johanna Oras´s summer exhibition. A side building will be renovated into the artist´s summer atelier, offering something exceptional in Finland; the public will have the chance to follow the artist at work and see some of the mysterious birth processes of a work of art from inspiration to the final brush touch.
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Hyterma
Hytermä islands are nature reserve area and museum islands, about 7km from the centre of Kerimäki towards Hälvä. Hytermä was declared a protected nature area in the year 1931, and the fact that is has survived almost completely in its natural state is all down to an ex-rural police chief (1916-1940) Heikki Väyrynen, a.k.a. Romu-Heikki, and his wife. The islands have a one-of-a-kind collection of art made from rocks and easily walked nature paths. Hytermä can only be reached by boat which you can rent before rowing the 400m to the island. Once there you will also find a wonderful sandy beach and a pier. Hytermä is situated 7 km from the centre of Kerimäki (Savonlinna-Kerimäki 23 km), address: Hälvänsaarentie 80, Kerimäki.
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Runeberg Museum
Welcome to Finland’s oldest home museum! Come and enjoy the authentic atmosphere of the 1860s bourgeois home (kirjailijakoti) as guests of the Finnish national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804-1877) and his wife Fredrika (1807-1879). The museum’s unique atmosphere is created by furniture, works of art, dishes and old house plants, many of which have been grown from Fredrika’s cuttings. During the summer season you can discover the floral splendour of the house’s carefully restored garden.
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Art Gallery Villi Villa
Artist Pentti Ikäheimonen art gallery Villi Villa is located in the middle of a beautiful Finnish lake landscape, only 5 km from the center of Rantasalmi. Come and explore the remodelled building and artwork that breathe both rural and natural beauty. The gallery presents a sales exhibition of Pentti Ikäheimonen and visiting artists as well as works by former masters.
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Small House of the Tartu Vanemuine Theatre
The art nouveau Small House of the Vanemuine Theatre was built from 1914 to 1918 (architect A Eichhorn). The decision to build a new, modern theatre building was made after the building of the summer theatre of the German Society of Artisans that used to be located in this spot perished in a fire.
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Joensuu Art Museum
Joensuu Art Museum is situated in the town centre near the market square. In addition to the permanent exhibition, the museum arranges multiple temporary exhibitions of Finnish and foreign art every year.
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Ateneum Art Museum
The Ateneum is Finland’s best-known art museum and the home of Finnish art. The images held by the Ateneum are ingrained in the collective memory of the Finnish people: the beloved works in Ateneum’s collections date from the period from the 19th century to the modern age.
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Sibelius Monument
The world famous composer Jean Sibelius' (1865-1957) monument by Eila Hiltunen is located at the Sibelius park. It was unveiled 7 September 1967. The Sibelius Monument, resembling organ pipes, is made of welded steel with over 600 pipes and with the bust of the composer on one side. The monument is one of Helsinki's most popular statues and one of the most well-known tourist attractions.
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Hanaholmen
Hanasaari is an enchanting place in the midst of the archipelago, close to the Helsinki city centre. The Hanasaari Swedish-Finnish Cultural Centre promotes and develops interaction between Finland and Sweden, as well as co-operation in all areas of society. Hanasaari’s home is a modern well-maintained building, amply decorated with modern Finnish and Swedish art. The Hanasaari cultural centre was inaugurated on 1 June 1975 by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and President Urho Kekkonen of Finland. The building was designed by architect Veikko Malmio, and its original interior decorations by Professor Yrjö Sotamaa. An art competition was organised during the building phase, and the winner was revealed by King Carl XVI Gustaf when he inaugurated the house. The winning piece was Heikki Häiväoja‘s grand relief “Vuorovaikutus” (Interaction). Two other participating works were also purchased for Hanasaari: Marjatta Weckström‘s relief “Vuodenajat” (The seasons), which today can be seen in Restaurant Johannes, and the bronze front doors with small coloured windows embedded in them by Kauko Räsänen.
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Gallen-Kallela Museum
On the northern shore of Laajalahti Bay, in Tarvaspää, lies the Gallen-Kallela Museum, designed and built by one of Finland’s finest artists, Akseli Gallen-Kallela. Tarvaspää’s beautiful surroundings and the museum’s unique architecture provide the perfect setting for a museum visit. Originally a studio and residence, the museum opened to the public in 1961. The temporary exhibitions that present the art and life of Gallen-Kallela are shown alongside present-day works of contemporary art, while a wide range of events and activities are arranged during the year, with the museum acting as a centre for information on the great artist. Tarvaspää Cafe Zoceria is located in a delightful villa next to the museum where visitors can enjoy great coffee, snacks, salads and soups.
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Espoo City Theatre
At Espoo City Theatre – The International Theatre of Finland brings together a broad range of in-house productions with the finest domestic and international visiting performances. With programming befitting a performing arts festival, Espoo City Theatre is unlike most theatres in Finland. For over 30 years now, the theatre has presented up to four world-class international visits each season, in addition to domestic visiting performances. Our Louhisali stage has featured cutting-edge talent from home and abroad, performing in many languages, over the years. Each spring, Espoo City Theatre hosts the Viro-viikot festival presenting the most ambitious new work from Estonia. The Theatre aims to be an open and inclusive platform for all performing arts. Its bold programming reflects the changing world around us. In addition to a more classical theatre repertoire, Espoo City Theatre regularly presents contemporary circus, dance, opera, and performance art.
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WeeGee Exhibition Centre
The City of Espoo is unique in not having a single centre, but instead have a number of major urban centres. One of these is Tapiola, which can lay claim to being the cultural heart of the city, as it features the Espoo Cultural Centre, home to the Tapiola Sinfonietta, Espoo City Theatre, and two concert spaces in Louhisali and Tapiolasali. Tapiola is also home to the nearby WeeGee Exhibition Centre, which consists of four very different museums: EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art, KAMU – Espoo City Museum, the Finnish Toy Museum Hevosenkenkä and the Finnish Museum of Horology. WeeGee Exhibition Centre provides a wide range of experiences for visitors of all ages. There are numerous temporary exhibitions in the museums to complement their permanent collections, and guided tours, workshops and themed events are held throughout the year. The centre also houses the museum shop, perfect for picking up souvenirs, and the Cafe WeeGee. Behind the main building visitors will find the visionary Futuro House, while the Studio Suuronen exhibitions are always interesting.
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Pentala Archipelago Museum
The Pentala Archipelago Museum is located on an old fisherman’s estate on Pentala Island in Espoonlahti Bay. The museum area consists of fifteen different buildings. The oldest one is a fisherman’s cottage built in the early 1790s. The fisherman’s estate was inhabited year-round until 1986. Espoo’s maritime side is at its best on Pentala Island. The Archipelago Museum showcases life in the archipelago, from housing and hard work to villas and leisure activities. In the summer, the museum area is full of things to see and do. If you want to experience Espoo’s unique archipelago nature, simply follow a nature trail to Lake Pentalanjärvi and the Diksand beach.
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Tammsaare Park
Tammsaare Park is located in the centre of Tallinn, between the Estonia Theatre and Viru Keskus shopping centre. In 1896, one corner of the park became the new site of Tallinn’s market, which was formerly located on Town Hall Square. From 1903–1905, the park was home to a giant wooden ‘Interimstheater’ – a barn-type hall that was a venue for theatre performances and cinema screenings. When this building burnt down, space was landscaped and pathways were constructed. In 1978, a statue of A. H. Tammsaare was erected in the centre of the park to mark the Estonian author’s 100th birthday. Tammsaare Park has modern lighting, white park furniture, and thousands of flower bulbs.
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Rueki Gallery
Rüki Gallery is an exhibition and sales gallery of contemporary art in the Old Town of Viljandi. The exhibitions organised both paintings and photography, graphics, sculpture, installations, and other alternative art. The purpose of the gallery is to introduce the works of Estonian professional artists to local residents, as well as visitors from Estonia and the rest of the world. The gallery is housed in a historic barn building where a sign saying ‘Rüki jahu’ (rye flour in the local language) was found during renovation work. The sign indicated where flour was stored at that time. Hence the name of the gallery.
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Viljandi Musical Instrument Park
The park in front of the main building of Viljandi Manor is home to a 'world tree' bearing national patterns carved out of the old, dry oak. Both the tree and the large wooden Hiiu zither nearby made a home for themselves in the park in spring 2009, when Viljandi held the title of Forest Capital of Estonia. The park's 'orchestra' obtained new players in 2010: a willow whistle and bellows.
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Halta The Finnish Nature Centre
A new type of visitor centre, Haltia strives to bring all of Finland’s nature under one roof and closer to the visitor through the building’s facilities and its exhibitions. With a visit to Haltia you can experience nature from all over Finland, in the Helsinki region. Visitors to the Haltia – The Finnish Nature Centre are blessed with spectacular views of Nuuksio National Park and Lake Nuuksio Pitkäjärvi, as well as access to the excellent hiking trails that abound. The exhibitions in Haltia take visitors on a trip through Finland to experience the country’s nature at its most spectacular, from all the distinct regions, and the 40 national parks within its borders. There is also an introduction to the numerous nature experiences available in the Helsinki region, some of which will be well known while others much less so. The Snowy Canyon leads you to the main exhibition hall, where you can examine the Finnish winter and how animals and plants survive it. In the main exhibition, photography and videos by Finland’s finest nature photographers take visitors through Finnish landscapes as well as underwater in all seasons. There are over 80 Finnish nature destinations that can be explored through touchscreens, from the Finnish Archipelago to the fells of Lapland. The exhibition includes a large wooden Duck Egg, which serves as the setting for the Game Theory video installation by artist Osmo Rauhala. At Haltia, you will also find the Nature Mothers Call sound installation room, Bear’s Den (Karhunpesä) and an Open wilderness hut. The exhibition follows the annual cycle of nature, utilising not only the panorama landscape but also video presentations, dioramas, interactive features, works of art and scale models, among other features. The experience is completed with a world of sounds and light, allowing visitors to live and experience real Finnish nature!
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Ugala Theatre
Founded in 1920, Ugala is one of Estonia's oldest professional drama theatres. It became a professional theatre in 1926. In 1981, the theatre received a new, large and modern building that was one of the most advanced ones in the Baltic countries at the time. The Ugala offers a varied repertoire from children's stories and musical plays to world classics and contemporary world dramaturgy. Estonian originals also have their place in the programme.
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Jyvaskyla Art Museum
Located on Church Park and close to the pedestrian precinct, Jyväskylä Art Museum’s Holvi is a venue for pictorial art, a place for people to gather, and to interact. The main exhibition in summer 2010 showcases masterpieces from the Finnish National Gallery, Ateneum – Ladoga Karelia patrons Elisabeth and Herman Hallonblad assembled a collection of works by much-loved Finnish artists from the late 19th to the early 20th century. The lower gallery features two artists of the current generation, Jyväskylä-based Antti Jokinen and Duncan Butt Juvonen, who has a summer cottage in Uurainen.
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Jyvaeskylae City Theatre
Jyväskylä is famous for its active amateur theatre scene. It is also home to the Jyväskylä City Theatre and many professional theatre companies as well as numerous summer theatres.
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Kuopio Old Town Museum
Old Kuopio Museum consists of eleven old wooden houses which form an enclosed block. The oldest buildings date back to the 18th century and the most recent, to the end of the 19th century. The interiors show homes and workshops of different kinds of families from 19th century to the 1930´s. There is also a pharmacy museum in the block. In addition there is a café in the block. In the yard, there are many old ornamental and utile plants growing.
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Kuopio Art Museum
Kuopio Art Museum, located in the centre of Kuopio, is housed in a former bank building converted into a museum that opened in 1980. As the regional art museum of Northern Savo Province, the museum includes exhibitions, research and documentation of visual arts. Art education plays a central role in museum activities. The collections include primarily Finnish art from the end of the Nineteenth Century to the present, with an emphasis on local painters, from the von Wright Artist Brothers and Juho Rissanen to the contemporary artists. The central theme of the museum is nature and the environment.
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The Orthodox Church Museum of Finland
The Orthodox Church Museum, which was established in Kuopio in 1957, derives from the Collection of Ancient Objects founded at the Monastery of Valamo in 1911. Most of the exhibits, which consist mainly of icons, sacred objects and liturgical textiles, are from the monasteries and congregations of Karelia: a region in southeast Finland that was partially ceded to the Soviet Union in connection with the Second World War. Objects in the museum are mainly from the 18th and 19th centuries. The museum’s icon collection consists of about 800 icons made in various styles and using a number of different material and techniques. The icons depict things subjects like Christ, the Mother of God and other holy persons and events. The most extensive portion of RIISA’s collections is made up of textile objects, nearly 4000 of them. The oldest of the museum’s textiles date back to the 16th century, though the majority of them is from the 19th century. The museum also has an extensive archive of photographs documenting the history of the Orthodox Church. In addition to the permanent exhibitions, the museum offers yearly seasonal exhibitions. These theme-based exhibitions are aimed to introduce the variety of ecclesiastical art of eastern Christian Church.
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The Red Tower
The Red Tower was built in the 15th century as a prison in the Southeastern corner of the medieval fortress that surrounded the town of Pärnu. It is the only defensive tower of the Hanseatic town of New-Pärnu that has been preserved. This granite tower got its name from the brick that used to line the inside and outside of the tower. In the 17th century, the tower had four storeys and a prison cell that was 6 metres deep. Three storeys have been preserved. In the 19th century, the building was renovated into the town archives, but the building served a number of different purposes over the following century.
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Tampere Art Museum
The Tampere Art Museum was established in 1931. It was founded by the Tampere Art Society which had already been collecting art and arranging art exhibitions in Tampere since the beginning of the last century. The museum is renowned for its active exhibition policy, especially exhibitions presenting ancient cultures, wide-ranging publication activities, the Young Artist of the Year event and Moominvalley, which can be found in the city main library “Metso”. The Tampere Art Museum presents important themes from art history and phenomena of contemporary art in both its Finnish and international exhibitions. The museum’s collections consist mainly of domestic art from the early 19th century onwards.
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Sara Hilden Art Museum
he Sara Hildén Art Museum, which is the permanent home of the collection of modern art, Finnish and foreign, owned by the Sara Hildén Foundation, is maintained by the City of Tampere. Sara Hildén Foundation Collection currently amounts to some 4500 works. It is thus a comprehensive collection which presents a broad cross section of the development in modern art over the last forty years.
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Epp Maria Gallery
The creative work of Epp Maria Kokamägi, one of Estonia’s most famous artists, includes oil paintings, watercolours, book design and theatre and film design. The building, which was built as a café during Estonia's first period of independence, now houses a gallery over two floors, where exhibitions change according to the seasons. In addition to Epp Maria's wonderful paintings, you can also enjoy the paintings and furniture created by her husband Jaak Arro, the ceramics of Liisu Arro and the paintings of Imbi Lind.
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Museum of the Coastal Swedes
This museum in Haapsalu introduces the thousand-year-old settlements of the coastal Swedes in Estonia. In the house inaugurated by the King of Sweden, you can acquaint yourself with their unique cultural heritage and see a 20-metre embroidered rug that depicts the life of the Estonian Swedes. There is a scene where Swedish peasants bought Large-Pakri Island from the Padise Monastery for 34 silver marks in 1345. Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf had great words of praise for the pictorial rug! In addition, other interesting events are organised and traditional wedding feasts are held. Good to know: the museum houses several traditional wooden boats typical of coastal Swedes.
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Tostamaa Manor
The beautifully renovated Tõstamaa Manor has a colourful history and it is one of the best-known sights in the area. Even though it has a late classicist appearance, the manor was established in the Middle Ages. It has been used as a school since 1921. You can go on a tour of the manor where you will learn about its history and see its rooms. The wall and ceiling murals, the beautiful main staircase and the room under the mantle chimney are particularly impressive. Useful information! The last owner of the manor was Alexander Stael von Holstein, a famous Orientalist who even became a professor at the University of Beijing. The crown of the manor, which is under heritage and nature conservation, is oak with a top whose diameter is 23 m.
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Kylamaki Village
Kylämäki Village in Kurala is made up of four farms with buildings still standing at their original sites. The village has been inhabited since the 7th century. Nowadays, Kurala is a village of living history where visitors can travel back in time to a typical Southwest Finnish farm of the 1950s, complete with authentic scents and rural atmosphere. During summer in the Iso-Kohmo kitchen, oven-baked treats prepared to Grandma’s recipes are warming on the wood-burning stove. The farmer’s wife tells of everyday activities from the old days, whilst also giving handy tips on things such as making juice.