Harju ridge & Vesilinna observation tower

Distance to the target from Kompassinaukio in Jyväskylä:

13 min.

Ihantolantie 5
40100 Jyväskylä

Paikallinen sää

Lämpötila: 2.1°C Bright, klo 16:10

Harju ridge & Vesilinna observation tower

The Harju ridge is a pine forest ridge formation in the middle of the city of Jyväskylä and the Vesilinna with its observation tower on the top of the ridge is a recognisable landmark that can be seen everywhere the city.  Harju is also a year-round area for outdoor activities and recreation for the city dwellers, a soothing green oasis right next to the city centre. The Vesilinna Observation Tower houses the Natural History Museum and a café-restaurant. The observation tower is always open during the opening hours of the Vesilinna Cafe & Restaurant. It is recommended to check the opening times of the Vesilinna Cafe & Restaurant website before the visit. Experience the Vesilinna observation tower’s view virtually with 360 panorama.

Atop the Harju Ridge

In the summer, local joggers and tourists who come to admire the views meet on the top and the slopes of the Harju. Harju also sees physical education lessons from nearby schools, strenuous exercise on the wooden stairs on the Nisula side of the ridge, and in wintertime, even skiing and sledding. On May Day, students have traditionally gathered on the Harju slopes to see in the spring. In modern times, many families can be seen joining them.

The Nero Stairs that ascend to the top of the ridge are one of Jyväskylä’s more picturesque sights. The robust stairs, whose foot is at the edge of the city centre, were built as an unemployment relief project in 1925. The name of the stairs derives from the municipal engineer of the day, Oskar Nero.

Alvar Aalto, Finland’s most internationally renowned architect with a tremendous number of design projects in Jyväskylä, had little appreciation for the Nero Stairs. Aalto was insistent a public sauna of his design should be built at the top. But with or without the sauna, Harju with its clock and its stairs is an important part of the Jyväskylä cityscape.

The Harju Ridge Evening Song

The Harju Ridge evening song is more formally known as “Laulu Synnyinseudulle” (“A Song to My Birthplace”), composed by Aulis Raitala with lyrics by Martti Korpilahti. The evening song has been heard every summer evening from the top of the Vesilinna tower since 1976.

The evening song is heard every evening at 8 pm during the summer. Since 2000, the evening song of summer has been coupled with a Christmastime counterpart, the gentle carol “Joulun kellot” (“Christmas Bells”). The lyrics to this atmospheric Christmas carol were written by Helmi Auvinen. The poem was set to music by Armas Maasalo in 1914.

Listen to the Harju Ridge evening song here.


Open from Tue-Fri 11 AM to 6 PM and on Sat 12 PM to 6 PM. The observation tower is open according to Vesilinna Cafe & Restaurant's opening hours. It's advisable to check for exceptions on Vesilinna Cafe & Restaurant's own website: https://vesilinna-restaurant.fi/


The Natural History Museum on the ground floor of the Harju tower and the Vesilinna Cafe & Restaurant on the 2nd floor are accessible by elevator. There are stairs leading to the viewing platform on the top floor, the platform cannot be accessed by wheelchair.


There are a few parking spaces on the hill of Harju for the customers of the cafe-restaurant and the museum. You can also park your car at, for example, the Harjunrinne parking lot on Yliopistonkatu.

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