It’s a bit embarrassing how little I’ve been showing and telling you about my beautiful hometown Rauma. Especially about our picturesque Unesco-listed old town, Old Rauma.
I’ve just bought my first proper camera which gave me an excellent excuse for a winter walk in Old Rauma. With this post, I’m taking you for a brief photo walk to the streets of our historic old town. The following pictures are taken without having any knowledge of photography and without touching the manual settings of the camera. Practice makes perfect, right?
I’m going to start a photographing course in two weeks time. At the end of May, once I have completed the course, it could be a fun idea to have another photo walk in the old town and take new shots from same spots to see if there’s any progress.
But now, back to the point; To a walking tour in Old Rauma. It’s actually quite a funny feeling to pretend a tourist in your hometown. Have you ever tried?
Walking Old Rauma — The Unesco-listed old town in snapshots
Old Rauma was listed as one of Unesco’s World Heritage Sites in 1991. Our little winter walk starts from the Eastern end of Kuninkaankatu, which is one of the two main streets of the wooden old town. ‘The Hospital End’, some locals might say.
Old Rauma isn’t just an old wooden town which has been preserved as a museum but a lively district with 600 old buildings where approximately 800 people live their everyday lives. On the streets of Old Rauma, you’ll find plenty of small boutiques, museums, cafés and restaurants as well as exciting memories from the past.
There’s a small square in front of Rauma Art Museum that is called ‘Hauenguano’. The landmark of the square is the old-style wooden well. This picture could be a bit confusing, as it’s taken from the opposite direction where we’re heading at. The art museum is the pink building which would be left on our left-hand side when heading West from our starting point.
Hauenguano is the spot in the Eastern end of Old Rauma where the two main streets unite. We’re going to take the left turning and head for the second main street, Kauppakatu, which will lead us to the market square.
Before reaching the market square, we have many interesting sites and buildings on our way. One of them is Kitukränn, the narrowest street in Finland. The 60-meter street bordered with colourful wooden buildings will appear on our right-hand side and is impossible to miss.
Kitukränn joins the two main streets of Old Rauma. For quite a while the narrowest street in Finland was a popular topic for arguments: another west-coast town Kristiinankaupunki used to claim they have the narrowest street in the country. The official measurement was done, and Kitukränn won the competition brightly with more than 30 cm.
So if you ever end up in the middle of an argument, you can nail the topic by knowing the narrowest street in Finland is located in Old Rauma. There you go!
Kitukränn is also a great place for testing skills for our unique Rauma language, ‘Rauman giäl’. At both ends of Kitukränn, an old sign is explaining how to behave on this street. (Don’t worry, even Finns don’t understand it!)
After passing Kitukränn, we continue our walk towards the market square. Just after a few steps, we’re passing a light-brown building Marela, a museum which presents the life of a wealthy shipowner at the start of the 1900s. After Marela, we’re passing the decorative yellow and blue building Katula, which is, at least to me, one of the most beautiful buildings in Old Rauma.
From there we can already spot the market square where the old town hall, built in 1776, can be found.
Today, the old town hall houses a museum with exhibitions of the old lacemaking tradition that’s still an important part of Rauma today. During the winter, a local lace artist Tarmo Thorström creates a stunning lace artwork reflected with lights around the main door.
After stopping at the market square, we continue walking Old Rauma towards west. If we turn around at the end of the street, we’ll face a view like this.
We step out of the old town for a brief moment. When we continue heading west, we’ll come to a small canal we call ‘Rauman ganal’. On the other side of the canal both, the old and new city hall buildings are standing next to each other. The old city hall is a lot more picturesque. Unfortunately, in this picture, I missed the very top of it. I guess I need to practice more.
I’ve heard rumours that the tower of the old town hall is haunted. Crazy ghost hunter as I am, I need to find out more information about this topic to give you a detailed report. Perhaps one day I’m allowed to climb up there for the whole night for a ghost hunt. Fingers crossed.
From the canal, we turn back to the old town. This time we’ll take the other main street, Kuninkaankatu. The picture below is taken from the Western end of the street facing the market square we just passed a little while ago.
Have you noticed anything strange on the streets of Old Rauma? Do you remember how at the start of our walk the streets were covered with snow? What on Earth, am I playing tricks on you and sliding in snapshots from summer? No, I’m not. The main streets in Old Rauma are heated and thanks to the underground heating system the streets stay free of snow no matter how cold it gets in winter.
Once we reach the market square, we’ll take the left turning towards a tiny river called Raumanjoki.
Next to the river, we’ll find the last stop of our photo walk, the ‘Church of the Holy Cross’. This is one of the most beautiful churches in Finland, so don’t hesitate to peek inside in case the doors are open during your visit.
During the summer season, there are art exhibitions inside the cellar standing in the churchyard. You shouldn’t rush home too early — the church tower with its lights is a stunning sight at night time.
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