Jyvaskyla Is Friendly, Interesting City by Bonnie and Bill Neely

Jyvaskyla is about four hours’ drive Northwest of Helsinky, and if you are not on a cruise ship and confined to the coast, it is worth a visit. We were concentrating on the arts and crafts of the area and were hosted by some delightful women who were very knowledgeable of Finnish handicrafts. It was such a great opportunity to be able to spend a day getting to know the local people and their wonderful sense of humor. As one said, “When you live in a country this cold you have to have a sense of humor.”

We were ready for our guided tour of the city and study of the handcrafts of Central Finland. The lovely tourism office representative Katja Kivala
hosted us and interpreted when necessary, but most Fins speak excellent English.

NATIONAL COSTUMES STILL USED

In Jyvaskyla, Finland, The National Costume Center of Finland in conjunction with The Conservation Center has created a room in the Craft Museum of Finland displaying Finnish costumes. These are rare and valuable examples of the traditional costumes from each region. The stitchery and weaving are exquisite. Costumes are still made today and worn on special occasions like marriages, confirmations, and national holidays.

HOME OF ALVAR AALTO, ARCHITECT

Jyvaskyla, Finland, is the home of Alvar Aalto, the world famous architect of modern designs using glass and steel, who was at his zennith of fame in the middle of the twentieth century. His well-known Finlandia building is in Helsinki, but you’ll find many of his works here.

He designed ten buildings at the campus of the University of Jyvaskyla, the last of which is still under construction. The University has about 40,000 students in this town of 80,000 people. You’ll also find a museum bearing Aalto’s name.

He was a professor in the United States when he gained his fame, but spent his latter years designing in Finland in conjunction with his first and second wives, both of whom were architects.