Welcome to Rauma, a picturesque town located on the west coast of Finland. With a population of around 38,700, Rauma is known for its paper and maritime industry, high-quality lace, and the old wooden architecture of the city centre, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Let’s dive into the history, culture, and attractions that make Rauma a must-visit destination.
Rauma was granted town privileges on 17 April 1442, under the rule of Sweden. In the 14th century, before it was declared a town, Rauma had a Franciscan monastery and a Catholic church. The city centre, which was as large as the town was until 1809, has approximately 600 wooden buildings. The neo-renaissance style of many of the houses is a result of prosperity brought on by seafaring. In 1897 Rauma had the largest fleet of sailing boats in Finland, totalling 57 vessels. As the Crimean War broke out in 1853, Rauma was attacked by French Navy and British Navy in 1855 during the Åland War.
Rauma is known for its high-quality lace, which has been produced since the 18th century. The town also has its own dialect of Finnish, Rauman giäl, which inherits words from languages such as Swedish, English, and German due to the seafaring past. The dialect has been diluted into mainstream Finnish in day-to-day use, but it is fairly well studied and practiced as a hobby.
One of the main attractions of Rauma is the old wooden architecture of the city centre, also known as Old Rauma or Vanha Rauma. This area is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is home to approximately 600 wooden buildings, many of which date back to the 18th century. Visitors can take a stroll through the narrow streets and admire the unique architecture, or visit one of the many museums and galleries in the area.
Rauma is also home to several annual events, including the Lace Week, which has been arranged since 1971. During the Lace Week, local craftspeople arrange small exhibitions in the Old Rauma area. The Lace Week culminates in the Black Lace Night, when the small boutiques are open late night, various shows and concerts are held, and people dress in black lace. Other events include the RMJ music festival, classical music festival Festivo, Jazz-happening Rauma, Summer Jazz, Creative and performing music arts festival Klustermus, movie festival Blue Sea Film Festival, and Blues festival Rauma Blues.
Rauma is also a great destination for sports enthusiasts. The local ice hockey team, Rauman Lukko, plays in Liiga, the top professional league in Finland. Lukko has won the Finnish championship twice, in 1963 and 2021. The town also has local football teams, Pallo-Iirot and FC Rauma, and an American football team, Sea City Storm. Visitors can also enjoy recreational activities such as boating, with room for approximately 2,800 boats at its docks, or visiting the Kylmäpihlaja Lighthouse that doubles as a hotel and recreation site.
Rauma is easily accessible by road, with Finnish national road 8 (E8) running between Turku and Pori, and Finnish national road 12 starting from Rauma and extending to the Port of Rauma. The nearest airport is located in Pori, and the port of Rauma serves only freight ships on a frequent basis. Visitors can also take the local bus or rail connections to explore the town and its surroundings.
In conclusion, Rauma is a charming town with a rich history, unique culture, and plenty of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re interested in exploring the old wooden architecture, learning about the town’s lace-making traditions, or simply enjoying the beautiful coastal scenery, Rauma is a destination that should not be missed.