Where in Jyväskylä can you enjoy a suitably-sized slice of culture and good tales? The rich offering served up by the Museum of Central Finland will easily satisfy the keenest appetite for knowledge. Here the main seasoning is the story of how a market village grew into an industrial city of brick and chimneys that over time has produced both weapons and ploughshares. For the main course I recommend the old university campus. Crossing the campus you can almost hear the echoes of the music lessons at Finland’s very first Finnish-language teacher training college in the 1860s, echoes that would soon reverberate nationwide. Many customs, such as decorating a Christmas tree and Christmas carols, spread a hundred years ago via schools into people’s homes. The world-famous architect Alvar Aalto also left his own imprint on the area in the 1950s. The rows of white columns provide a reminder of the starting points of European culture in ancient Greece. On the university campus the cultural table –in sights and sounds and atmosphere – is impeccably laid.
Dishes that are easily digested and will certainly appeal to all include the Aviation Museum of Central Finland, the Natural History Museum of Central Finland and the Craft Museum of Finland. The latter two are situated just a short stroll from the Travel Centre rail/coach interchange. These museums come in portions that are simple to deal with and even the most jaundiced consumer of culture will likely soften before them. Exploring museums is a cheap pastime, since admission is mainly free for under 18s, and at the Aviation Museum there are special children’s tickets.
For a sophisticated dessert that will satisfy the most discerning of tastes look no further than a concert or a visit to the art museum , which will also give your grey matter a treat! Both can be found in the city centre. My own favourites for gauging the city’s cultural flavour are café’s and picnics. At Toivola Old Courtyard’s café and in the craftsmen’s homes it is possible to step back in time and simultaneously admire the skills of modern-day artisans. The café at the Alvar Aalto museum is unique spot at which to relax while touring the architectural sights of Jyväskylä’s Älylä area. Personally I have unforgettable memories of picnics on the campus grass ringing the sports field behind the main building. In the evening the sun bathes the red-brick walls of the campus in its warmth, behind the serried pillars a figure in a dark hat flits past, raising his hand to touch the brim in greeting. It seems Alvar himself is taking an evening stroll.
Craft Museum of Finland,
Media Officer and Amanuensis
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