Friday, 18 May 2012

Tampere: A brief spring stroll

By chance, I happen to stroll behind the Tampere Cathedral where there are quite a few lovely houses that can take you back to earlier times. Some street names in the area are related to the town's industrial history, especially to that of textiles.When I last walked here it was winter time and I didn't notice these pretty wooden gates that cleverly hide the garbage cans.
The residents of the yellow house at Sukkavartaankatu 7 seem to pay attention to details. The square holes in the stone foundation are not covered by boring grey covers but they happily announce the number of the house, making each of them a work of art.
The next stylish wooden building on the same street, Pirkonhovi, seems to be in Jugend style. Something in it makes me think about a church but this is not a church. Through the upstairs windows I can discern some hand looms. Even if the textile industry is now history in this area, there are still skilled hands at work, perhaps weaving rugs or something more complicated...
The area where I am walking is called Juhannuskylä (Midsummer Village) and if you take a stroll at slow pace, there are lots of details to look at. On the next street, I stop at the white house to examine the blue-grey ornaments by the doorway and then stretch out my hand to feel the white wall. I was so sure the facade was made of wood but it isn't; it is made of white painted steel. How strange!
Further down, walking towards Satakunnankatu, I pass the Tampere Cathedral, a great example of Finnish national romantic architecture (Lars Sonck, 1902-07), made of grey granite.
I cross the Tammerkoski rapids to Finlayson area but decide to start heading back to where I came from. After crossing the Satakunnankatu street I discover a relief on the wall, squeezed between the yellows stickers of the laundry on the corner. The building, Tekstiilitalo (Textile House) was built here in 1958, replacing the old wooden building where one of Finland's former presidents, Juho Kusti Paasikivi spent his childhood years in 1870-75.
At the Frenckell Square it is already spring, with the few trees by the side of the square in full bloom. The pink colour of the flowers matches the red brick architecture of the area - the former Finlayson cotton mill as well as the Frenckell building which originally housed a paper mill, right here in the city centre.
Behind the Frenckell building, there is a pedestrian bridge that will take me back across Tammerkoski rapids. This is no ordinary bridge but it serves also as a place for Love Locks (Lemmenlukko). I am convinced that the number of love locks left here has grown astronomically since I first saw them!

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