"Vasa (Vaasa) - A special town" Vasa by gubbi1

Vasa Travel Guide: 46 reviews and 106 photos

Vasa or Vaasa is quite a special town. It is a pretty old town, but not really and it has, as you just read, two names in Finland. What I mean, I will explain. For my weekend I took a day off to head down from Oulu to see the Kvarken Archipelago, which is one of the few Finnish World Nature Heritages. The whole area is since the melting of the glaciers after the lastice-age in a continues rising to the level it had before. That means each year there is a gain in altitude of 9mm! The first islands arose off the ocean about 2000 years ago and for the year 4500 it is estimated that there will be a landbridge to Sweden. You see, in a geological sense, there is a rapid movement of the shoreline towards Sweden. Up to 1850 Vaasa was located about 6 km more inland. In struggle with their harbour because of the landrise and finally a devastating fire caused the Vaasa to move further to the new coast. Today there is not very much to see of the old town, as the houses except of the castle used to be out of wood and therefore was food for the flames. This incident had a big effect on the way the new town was designed. Nowadays Vaasa has wide streets, over which fire will most likely not spread.
So why has it two names. Finland as a nation is a pretty young country. It was declared as country 1917 after a very lively history influenced by Russia and Sweden. Over several hundred years Sweden dominated the south and Swedish became the official language. But step by step Finland found its identity. Nowadays the Swedish language still is spoken widely in the southwestern coastal area. So most towns, like Vaasa, have a Finnish (Vaasa) and a Swedish (Vasa) name. It is a bit confusing especially for this town, many other town names a totally different in the two languages.

What to do in Vaasa? I recommend to have a walk through downtown. It is not a large walk. Mainly two big streets marking the upper and lower end of the market square form the inner town. From the market square you can easily reach the church, the water tower and the water front. During daytime you can visit the Market hall, which was closed during the time I was in town.

If you have a car, you should head to the open air museum with old houses of the region. It is located half way to Kursholm, which is the place old Vaasa is located. Of course you should also visit Kursholm, as this place is a seperate location in Virtual Tourist, I place everything I saw there into this VT-destination, even though it is tight connected to the new Vaasa. Being in the region highly recommended is a visit to the archipelago. My trip to Vaasa was mainly to see this.

The monument shown on the picture is located on the central square in downtown Vaasa. It is the statue of liberty, remembering the forming of the Republic of Finland.

Here you get to old Vaasa...

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Nice town in a beautiful area...
  • Cons:Hard to know which language to use.
  • In a nutshell:Enjoyed my time very much.
  • Last visit to Vasa: Apr 2008
  • Intro Updated Jan 25, 2011
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