Espoo attractions include garden city of Tapiola, Espoo Cultural Center, Otaniemi, Gallen-Kallela Museum, and Serena Water Park.
Garden City of Tapiola has been a key part of the identity of Espoo ever since the district was constructed in the 1950s, from guidelines given by architect Aarne Ervi.
Making it unique among cities in Finland, Espoo has no less than five city centers, among the more interesting of which is Tapiola.
As the nickname for Tapiola (‘Garden City‘) implies, it has been designed to represent harmony between human settlements and nature.
One of the highlights of the district is Tapiola Sinfonietta chamber orchestra’s concert hall, the Espoo Cultural Centre, also known as “Kuunsilta“, in English “Moonbridge“.
Espoo Cultural Center (www.espoo.fi/kulttuurikeskus), with its moonbridge buildings, has been a center for Espoo’s cultural life since 1989, when this architect Arto Sipinen designed building was completed.
Today, the building is an event venue for…
- Tapiola Sinfonietta concerts,
- Espoo City Theater performances,
- Espoo April Jazz Festival (an annual, summertime event),
- Espoo Ciné International Film Festival, and
- PianoEspoo and KuoroEspoo music festivals.
The building also contains Tapiola Library and a cafe, Café Mezzo.
Otaniemi (www.otaniemi.fi), another Espoo city center, meanwhile, has become world-famous for its Alvar Aalto designed buildings on one hand, and for the University of Technology that is located on those buildings, on the other hand.
Otaniemi buildings also feature designs from several other high-profile Finnish architects, including Reima Pietilä and Aulis Blomstedt.
One of the highlights in Otaniemi is the area surrounding the University of Technology and Education Center “Dipoli”, which has become Finland’s “Silicon Valley“, one of the Nordic region’s major technology centers.
Of the Espoo attractions, Gallen-Kallela Museum (www.gallen-kallela.fi) is a museum of Finland’s national artist Gallen-Kallela, located within a palatial “Tarvaspää” building.
The Art Nouveau museum building was, in fact, personally designed by Gallen-Kallela.
The museum’s way of showcasing Gallen-Kallela’s artworks is throughtemporary, themed exhibitions, with 2-3 of these themed exhibitions per year.
Each of the temporary exhibitions highlights a different aspect of Gallen-Kallela, highlighting, for example, the artworks that he did to illustrate Aleksis Kivi’s story of “Seven Brothers”.
The museum also features a cafe and a Tarvaspää museum shop, which often sells products with same themes as the current temporary exhibitions.
Finally, Serena (www.serena.fi) is a water theme park, the largest of its kind, in fact, within Nordic countries.
The water park includes:
- water slides,
- terrace pools and whirlpools, as well as
- children’s pools.
Serena highlights also feature…
- unique sauna caves that have been made into the rock, and
- special water slides, such as ‘Black Hole‘, where the water slide experience is enhanced by special lighting and sound effects.