Travel Scandinavia rick steves

Lake Saimaa boats, Lappeenranta territory, but, since almost its entire length, including its terminal port at Viipuri on the Gulf of Finland, lay within the territory which Finland was compelled to cede to the Soviet Union, it was closed. In the 1960s, however, the Soviet Union leased the canal zone back to Finland, and the Finns then builta new canal on the old line, with modern locks.

SIG HTS. The main street is Kauppakatu, running from N to S. A little bit E of its intersection with Valtakatu, in the Kes-kuspuisto park (which lies roughly in the middle of the town near the market square), stands the church (1749) of the old commune of Lappee (separate tower, 1864). Nearby is a military cemetery for Karelians killed in the war with the Soviet Union (1941-4), with a monument (Vaino Aaltonen, 1951). To the NW of the church, at the intersection of Kauppakatu and Raastuvankatu, is the wooden Town Hall (by C. L. Engel, 1829). Going N along Kauppakatu, on a hill on the left (alt. 1 30 m (427 ft); 60 m (200 ft) above Lake Saimaa) is the Town Church (1924). Still farther N, at the head of a promontory projecting into the lake (on left), is the Old Park, with a monument commemorating the 1741 battle in which the Russians decisively defeated a Swedish-Finnish army. To the NW, beyond the monument, are the remains of old fortifications (Museum of Southern Karelia). NE of the monument, on the other side of the street, we come to the Orthodox Church (1785).

A little way E, in an inlet on the lake, is Lappeenranta harbour. On the S side of the inlet is the Spa Establishment. At the N end of Ainonkatu an old Lake Saimaa boat, the Prinsessa Armaada, now houses a restaurant. At the E end of the inlet lies Kimpinen Park (bathing beach).

To the E of the town, on the right of the Imatra road, is the Water-Tower (cafe), from which there are good views. Nearly all towns in Finland and Sweden usually have high water-towers, attractively designed, and from which can be seen panoramic views.

SURROUNDINGS. Lappeenranta is the base for attractive trips on Lake Saimaa ( 231). There are services to Mikkeli (190) and SavonJinna (231), as well as a variety of cruises ranging in length from a few hours to several days. In summer there are excursions to the Saimaa Canal and the Soviet frontier, along the Saimaa Canal to Vyborg (formerly Viipuri) and Helsinki (131), and to Leningrad (to which there are also coach (bus) excursions; Soviet visa required).

40 km (25 miles) E of Lappeenranta is Imatra (pop. 40,000; Valtionhotelli, 125 Imatra, 72 Nis-kahovi, 143 b.), famous in the 19th c. for its waterfalls. The waterfalls attracted many visitors, including the composer Richard Wagner. Here the River Vuoksen, which flows from Lake Saimaa into the Gulf of Finland, falls 18m (60 ft) within a very short distance, and the force of the water has gouged a channel 20 m (65 ft) wide out of the granite. The water has been diverted to provide hydroelectric power, and it is only on Sunday afternoons that the sluices into the old bed are opened. The Valtionhotelli was built at the falls during the Tsarist period and established Imatra’s position as a vacation resort. On the W bank of the river is a large tourist resort, with a camp site, chalets, walkers’ hostels, a riding school, a boat harbour, running tracks and bathing beaches.

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