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Location of Finland

Finland (Finnish: Suomi [ˈsuo̯mi] (About this soundlisten); Swedish: Finland [ˈfɪ̌nland] (About this soundlisten), Finland Swedish: [ˈfinlɑnd]), officially the Republic of Finland (Finnish: Suomen tasavalta, Swedish: Republiken Finland (listen to all)), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and is defined by the Gulf of Bothnia to the west, and the Gulf of Finland of the Baltic Sea across Estonia to the south. Finland covers an area of 338,455 square kilometres (130,678 sq mi), with a population of 5.5 million. Helsinki is the country's capital and largest city, but together with the neighboring cities of Espoo, Kauniainen and Vantaa, it forms a larger metropolitan area. Finnish, the native language of the Finns, is among the few Finnic languages in the world. The climate varies relative to latitude, from the southern humid continental climate to the northern boreal climate. The land cover is primarily a boreal forest biome, with more than 180,000 recorded lakes.

Finland was inhabited around 9000 BC after the Last Glacial Period. The Stone Age introduced several different ceramic styles and cultures. The Bronze Age and Iron Age were characterised by extensive contacts with other cultures in Fennoscandia and the Baltic region. From the late 13th century, Finland gradually became an integral part of Sweden as a consequence of the Northern Crusades. In 1809, as a result of the Finnish War, Finland was annexed by Russia as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland, during which Finnish art flourished and the idea of independence began to take hold. In 1906, Finland became the first European state to grant universal suffrage, and the first in the world to give all adult citizens the right to run for public office. Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Russia, tried to russify Finland and terminate its political autonomy, but after the 1917 Russian Revolution, Finland declared independence from Russia. In 1918, the fledgling state was divided by the Finnish Civil War. During World War II, Finland fought the Soviet Union in the Winter War and the Continuation War, and Nazi Germany in the Lapland War. After the wars, Finland lost parts of its territory, but maintained its independence. (Full article...)

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Clockwise from top-left: the cityscape (viewed from Näsinneula); Tampere City Hall; Särkänniemi (from Näsinneula); Tampere Hall; the skyline with Näsinneula; Tammerkoski from Hämeensilta Bridge; and the Cathedral.

Tampere (/ˈtæmpər/, US also /ˈtæmpərə, ˈtɑːmpər/, Finnish: [ˈtɑmpere] (About this soundlisten); Swedish: Tammerfors [tɑmːærˈforsː] (About this soundlisten); Latin: Tammerforsia) is a city in Pirkanmaa in the western part of Finland. Tampere is the most populous inland city in the Nordic countries; it has a population of 238,140 with the urban area holding 334,112 people and the metropolitan area, also known as the Tampere sub-region, holding 385,301 inhabitants in an area of 4,970 km2 (1,920 sq mi). Tampere is the second-largest urban area and third most-populous individual municipality in Finland, after the cities of Helsinki and Espoo and the most populous Finnish city outside the Greater Helsinki area, within which both Helsinki and Espoo are located. Today, Tampere is one of the major urban, economic, and cultural hubs in the whole inland region.

Tampere and its environs belong to the historical province of Satakunta. The area belonged to the Tavastia Province from 1831 to 1997, and over time it has often been considered to belong to Tavastia as a province. For example, in Uusi tietosanakirja published in the 1960s, the Tampere region is presented as part of the then Tavastia Province. Around the 1950s, Tampere and its surroundings began to establish itself as their own province of Pirkanmaa. Tampere became the center of Pirkanmaa, and in the early days of the province, Tammermaa was also used several times in its early days - for example, in the Suomi-käsikirja published in 1968. Tampere is wedged between two lakes, Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi. Since the two lakes differ in level by 18 metres (59 ft), the rapids linking them, Tammerkoski, have been an important power source throughout history, most recently for generating electricity. Tampere is dubbed the "Manchester of the North" for its industrial past as the former center of Finnish industry, and this has given rise to its Finnish nickname "Manse" and terms such as "Manserock". Also, Tampere has been officially declared the "Sauna Capital of the World", because it has the most public saunas in the world. (Full article...)
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Savusauna.jpg
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A lakeside smoke sauna ("savusauna") in Kannonkoski.

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Finnhorse stallion, trotter section

The Finnhorse or Finnish Horse (Finnish: suomenhevonen, literally "horse of Finland"; nickname: suokki, or Swedish: finskt kallblod, literally "finnish cold-blood") is a horse breed with both riding horse and draught horse influences and characteristics, and is the only breed developed fully in Finland. In English it is sometimes called the Finnish Universal, as the Finns consider the breed capable of fulfilling all of Finland's horse needs, including agricultural and forestry work, harness racing, and riding. In 2007, the breed was declared the official national horse breed of Finland.

The Finnhorse is claimed to be among the fastest and most versatile "coldblood" breeds in the world. In Finland, the term "universal horse" is used to describe the Finnhorse and breeds such as the Fjord horse that are relatively small with a body type that is heavy for a riding horse but light for a draught. There are four separate sections within the Finnhorse stud book, each with different goals: to develop a heavier working horse, a lighter trotter type, a versatile riding horse, and a proportionally smaller pony-sized animal. The combined breed standard for all four sections defines the breed as a strong, versatile horse with pleasant disposition. The average height of the breed is 15.1 hands (61 inches, 155 cm), and the most typical colour is chestnut, often with white markings and a flaxen mane and tail. (Full article...)

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View of Helsinki
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Panoramic photo shot of Helsinki, Finland

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