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Lappeenranta (Swedish: Villmanstrand) is a city and municipality situated on the shore of the lake Saimaa in southeastern Finland, about 30 kilometres (19 miles) from the Russian border. It belongs to the region of South Karelia. With approximately 73,000 inhabitants (31 August 2017) Lappeenranta is the 13th largest city in Finland. The neighboring municipality of Joutseno was consolidated with Lappeenranta on January 1, 2009, and the neighboring municipality of Ylämaa on January 1, 2010. Lappeenranta is known as an international university city in Finland with Lappeenranta University of Technology and Saimaa University of Applied Sciences which together have approximately 13,000 students from 68 countries. Lappeenranta is also a commercial centre of South-East Finland and the meeting point of the EU and Russia, 215 km from both Helsinki and St. Petersburg. Location on the southern shore of Lake Saimaa makes the city the region’s centre for tourism. Lappeenranta is the second most visited city by Russian tourists in Finland after Helsinki and it competes with Helsinki for the largest share of tax-free sales in Finland. Lappeenranta is a model for renewable energies and a clean living environment. Lappeenranta was the only Finnish city among the 14 finalists in the international Earth Hour City Challenge 2014, organized by WWF.
Location of Lappeenranta in Finland
|• City manager||Kimmo Jarva|
|• Total||1,723.56 km2 (665.47 sq mi)|
|• Land||1,433.36 km2 (553.42 sq mi)|
|• Water||290.14 km2 (112.02 sq mi)|
|Area rank||47th largest in Finland|
|• Rank||13th largest in Finland|
|• Density||50.71/km2 (131.3/sq mi)|
|Population by native language|
|• Finnish||95.9% (official)|
|Population by age|
|• 0 to 14||15.1%|
|• 15 to 64||67%|
|• 65 or older||17.9%|
|Time zone||EET (UTC+2)|
|• Summer (DST)||EEST (UTC+3)|
|Municipal tax rate||19.5%|
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Lappeenranta was originally formed around a headland pointing to lake Saimaa. In the 16th century, the market place moved from Lappee's old centre Kauskila to the current fortress headland. The first mention of Lapwes, as it was called, is in a privilege charter from 1542 that subjugated the market place under Viborg's authority.
The town was chartered in 1649 by Queen Christina of Sweden, legitimizing the trade in the then popular marketplace of Lapvesi. However, the parliamentary privilege charter and the coat of arms were attested in 1652 after the town layout by Erik Aspegren was affirmed. At the time, Lappeenranta was an important port for tar.
Between 1721 and 1743, Lappeenranta was the capital of Kymmenegård and Savonlinna province.
In 1741, the battle of Villmanstrand was fought between the Swedish and Russian armies in the Russo-Swedish War of 1741–1743. The battle ended in a Russian victory. The town was pillaged, wooden structures including the provincial chancellery were burnt and the ecclesiastical archives damaged.
The municipalities of Lappee and Lauritsala were annexed to Lappeenranta in 1967. Nuijamaa joined in 1989. During the financial downturn of 2009 and 2010, Joutseno and Ylämaa respectively merged into Lappeenranta.
The name Lappeenranta consists of the genitive of Lappee and the common noun ranta which means "shore". The history of Lappeenranta includes the rural municipality of Lappee and the hundred Lapvesi. The Swedish name Villmanstrand contains the words vildman meaning "wild-man" and strand also meaning "shore". A wild-man is depicted on Lappeenranta's coat of arms.
Lappeenranta has numerous schools at almost all levels of education, including the Lappeenranta University of Technology, Saimaa University of Applied Sciences, located in a shared Skinnarila campus of around 8000 students, the Army Academy (branch of the Finnish Defence Forces), South Karelia Vocational College and South Karelia Adult Education Centre.
Lappeenranta is connected to neighbouring cities and municipalities by road. The city is located 215 km from Helsinki and 195 km from St. Petersburg.
There are multiple daily train departures to destinations within Finland from the central station and to Russia from Vainikkala station. The Allegro train service operating between Helsinki and St. Petersburg stops in Lappeenranta. The journey time to Helsinki is about 2 hours and St. Petersburg about 1.5 hours.
The city's main employers are the:
- City of Lappeenranta
- South Karelia Social and Health Care District
- Lappeenranta University of Technology
- VR Group
- The Armed Forces
Lappeenranta has multiple sports teams playing in top levels of Finnish sports leagues.
SaiPa is an Ice hockey team playing in the highest level in Finland, SM-liiga. SaiPa was fourth in the national Ice hockey league in the season of 2013-2014. 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship - Tournament was played Kisapuisto Ice Hall, Lappeenranta & Imatra Ice Hall during April 17 – 27, 2014. United States won the tournament, Czech Republic was second and Canada was the third.
Lappeenrannan Veiterä, or just Veiterä, plays in Bandyliiga and has been Finnish champions five times, including in 2017. They have been the champions for women and for girls born in 1995 and 1998. The city hosted the first ever Women's Bandy World Championship in 2004 and in 2014 the tournament was again played in Lappeenranta. The Old Boys World Cup is annually hosted in town, in 2017 for the seventh time.
In women's sports Catz Lappeenranta plays basketball and Pesä Ysit plays Finnish baseball, both in the top leagues of the nation. Catz has won Finnish national basketball championship four times in a row.
- Antti Aalto – former ice-hockey player
- Koop Arponen – singer and winner of the fourth series of the Idols in 2008
- Arto Bryggare – former hurdling athlete, former member of Parliament of Finland
- Kaarlo Halttunen – former actor
- Laila Hirvisaari (formerly Laila Hietamies) – novelist, has written a novel series about Lappeenranta and its people
- Horna – Finnish black metal band
- Kari Jormakka – Professor of Architecture Theory at Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria
- Anssi Kippo – platinum-selling producer
- Kotiteollisuus – hard rock band
- Arvi Lind – Finnish TV newsreader
- Pave Maijanen – musician
- Miikka Multaharju – football player
- Jaska Raatikainen - drummer of the band Children of Bodom
- Jukka Paarma – former Archbishop of Turku and Finland
- Tiia Piili – gymnast
- Saku Puhakainen – football player
- Sargeist - Finnish black metal band
- Satanic Warmaster – Finnish black metal band
- Petri Skriko – retired ice-hockey player in the NHL in USA
- Juha Tiainen – former Olympic gold medallist in hammer throw
- Mokoma – thrash metal band
- Battlelore - symphonic metal band
- Hanna Pakarinen – the first Idols winner in Finland came from Lappeenranta
- Christian Ruuttu – former ice hockey player in the NHL
- Vesa Vierikko – Finnish actor
- Vesa Viitakoski – former ice hockey player in SM-liiga
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Lappeenranta is known as a summer city, mostly due to its closeness to the Lake Saimaa. Europe’s 4th largest lake. The eponymous GoSaimaa (www.gosaimaa.com) provides all the touristic activities in the area. In addition, its inland location means that summers tend to be warmer and winters colder than along the coastal areas.
Lappeenranta does have a healthy winter tourism industry. Various cabins around Lake Saimaa, as well as numerous snowmobiles, Nordic skating, floating in the river, reindeer rides, paragliding, skiing and sledding tracks draw a fair number of winter visitors.
The proximity of the Russian border is increasingly evident in the number of Russian tourists visiting the city. In fact, Lappeenranta is closer (195 km or 121 miles) to Saint Petersburg than Helsinki, the capital of Finland (220 km or 140 miles). The presence of Russian tourists is noticeable by the many Russian registered cars on the streets and the use of Cyrillic letters in signs of some shops.
Places and eventsEdit
- The old fortress, with a number of museums, cafés and the oldest Russian Orthodox church in Finland.
- St. Mary's Church of Lappee, an 18th-century wooden church in the center of the city.
- The harbour area, with cruises to Vyborg and the nearby Saimaa Canal.
- The central market place, where you can enjoy the local specialities, such as meat pies known as "Atomi" (atom) or "Vety" (hydrogen).
- The Night of The Fortess, a two-day cultural festival held in early August.
- The Lappeenranta Ballet Gala in late August.
- The annual Lappeenranta National Singing Contest.
- The biggest sand castle in Finland is built next to Port of Lappeenranta every summer.
- There are three private cinema theatres in Lappeenranta: Kino-Aula, Nuijamies and Finnkino.
- Major league home games in ice-hockey (SaiPa), basketball (Namika Lappeenranta) and other sports.
- The IHHF World Championship Under 18, 2014
- Unlimited Racing Event, 27 and 29.6.2014
Twin towns – sister citiesEdit
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