5 ways to experience Alvar Aalto in the Jyväskylä Region

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Alvar Aalto (1898–1976) is one of the most internationally recognised Finnish architects and designers. In Jyväskylä, it’s exceptionally easy to become familiar with his work. The city and its surroundings contain more important Aalto-designed building projects from his various creative eras than any other location in the world. In the Alvar Aalto capital of the world, anyone can get to know the story, works, and personal history of this world-famous architect in their own way.

Jyväskylä, Aalto, lakes, and their waves

In the Jyväskylä Region you are in the middle of the largest unbroken lake district in Europe. The waves of Finland’s longest lake, Päijänne, caress the beaches and rocky shores. One way to take in the natural lakescapes and architecture at once is to take a cruise on the Päijänne, on the same breathtaking route Alvar Aalto used to take, even on board the same legendary ship. The departure is from the lively Lutakko harbour, where numerous restaurants and cafes and a multitude of activities are available. In the same connection, you can also admire the boat Aalto personally designed, which is on permanent display in the harbour.

Photo: Tero Takalo-Eskola

The capital of Alvar Aalto

Jyväskylä boasts more Aalto-designed building projects from his various creative eras than any other location in the world – 29 in all. If there is a capital of Alvar Aalto in the world, none other deserves the title. Aalto masterpieces in Jyväskylä and the surrounding area include the Seminaarinmäki campus complex, the Muurame Church, the Muuratsalo Experimental House, as well as the Säynätsalo Town Hall, considered one of his most important works. The new gem of Aalto’s capital is the wonderful Aalto2 Museum Centre, which combines the Alvar Aalto Museum and the Museum of Central Finland – both of which were buildings designed by Aalto.

Photo: Tero Takalo-Eskola

Shopping and snacking in the centre of Jyväskylä

Did you know Alvar Aalto started his first design office in an impressive wooden building in the centre of Jyväskylä? Today, that buildings is known as Nikolainkulma, host to a popular café among other businesses. In the centre of Jyväskylä, you can also find several buildings designed by Aalto himself, among them the Valtiontalo building, the Jyväskylä Workers’ House and the Seminaarinmäki campus buildings. You can get souvenirs from one of the city centre’s attractive little shops or shopping centres. And when it’s time for a rest, the centre’s cosy hotels allow you to relax, even in an Aalto-themed room.

Photo: Julia Kivelä

Guided and self-guided tours

The Alvar Aalto destinations, stories, and history are open to you either on your own accord or in the company of an expert guide. Several prepared themed routes allow you to experience Aalto architecture while, for example, bicycling. A guide can help open up an entire new layer of Aalto’s works and his story. Besides the Aalto-themed offers, our other self-guided and guided tours are also worth your time and attention.

Photo: Tero Takalo-Eskola

Culture in the Aalto spirit

In Jyväskylä, cultural experiences are offered in Aalto-designed buildings. Aalto works in such use include the Jyväskylä Theatre House, the Museum of Central Finland, as well as the Alvar Aalto Museum itself. Together the Alvar Aalto Museum and the Museum of Central Finland make up the new and fabulous Aalto2 museum centre.

Apart from Aalto’s masterpieces, other architectural sights are found in the Jyväskylä Region as well. For example, you can visit the Petäjävesi Old Church, built in the 18th century, one of the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the region.

Photo: Tero Takalo-Eskola