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Jyväskylä is turning 175 in 2012

19 July, 2012 (07:12) | Facts About Finland, Finnish History | By: Snezhana Snezhko

This year is a special anniversary year for the most central city in Finland

Jyväskylä was established on March 22nd, 1837. It may seem like 175 years are not a significant number. Of course, it depends on what is the other object of comparison. However, for Finnish history, which is distinguished by its young age of the national establishment, 175 years are advanced age.

How did it start?

Let`s briefly turn back into the history of the central Finland in order to get to know closely the roots of the real `keskisuomalaiset`. The source of all sources, Internet, tells us a story about a young man named Heikki, who is associated with the very first establisher of the city Jyväskylä. A story is very simple: Heikki came and settled down on the territory of the current Jyväskylä. Absolutely by accident his name was recorded in the ancient chronicles among the first people who lived in Jyväskylä in those days. He was just a lucky guy.

To be more scientific, the first tribes that came from south-west territory of the current Finland were called `hämä´ or ´hämäläiset´.  The very first tribes, however, who lived on the territory of the current Finland, were called ´sami´ or ´lapp´. They moved far north the country providing a territory for ´hämä´ tribes. To be more specific, all these tribes migrated from the east (territory of the current Karelia) and from the south (territory of the current Baltic states) into the Sami country. And those tribes, tribes of Karelia and Baltic states, moved from even more mysterious side, which is called Ural today. The history is silent about how sami-ugric tribes occupied the territory of Ural and where the roots of sami-ugric tribes came from. Well, Siberia is spreading far broadly behind the mountains of Ural. Even until now Siberia is a land of mysteriously frightening forests. In anyway, it seems like the first people who have ever lived in the lands where the current Jyväskylä lays, came from the territory of the current Russia.

Jyväskylä is it a city or a village?

It is well known that Finland is quite a sparsely populated country. Many Finnish people still can´t get how the tripled population of the whole Finland can just be easily fit in one Moscow city. Today in Jyväskylä there are approximately 132 thousands inhabitants on the city territory of 1 466,3 sq.km. To admit, the city is in the list of the biggest cities in Finland (it is on the 7th place).

Old Jyväskylä was a very quiet village with a low number of inhabitants. The main occupation was agrarian works. However, time has its own speed and even in a slow and quite Finland it was possible to observe some changes. Jyväskylä as a village was growing with increasing speed, so that with times it could be easily called a city. In 1837, March 22nd, Jyväskylä was officially registered as a Finnish city.

Soon the city was growing very fast. Together with new constructions, city´s industries, cultural centers and in general the municipal economy was becoming more advanced and developed. People from the nearly located villages were intensively moving to Jyväskylä. After a couple of new educational centers and universities were opened, Jyväskylä became a city of Finnish as well as international students. However to admit, the modern Jyväskylä still carries the features of the provincial city.

Lev Mikaelov, lives in Jyväskylä more than 13 years. He shared a story that describes features of Finnish cities, including Jyväskylä. ´Once when I was young, I visited a concert in a city theater. That evening immortal music of Vivaldi and his fabulous ´Seasons of the Year´ were presented to the public. Everything was just fine, but one thing that really destructed my attention was the outfit of the musicians. It looked like the musicians were gathered from the street with a tremendous hurry. Some of them were dressed in sport suits, random T-shirts or jeans. At first I thought that it might be a fashionable trend: since musicians played different instruments, so the outfit was according to the instrument. However, when a violinist came on the stage with tore jeans, sloppy T-shirt and shaggy-haired and started to play solo… I wanted to close my eyes and keep them closed until the very end of the concert. To admit, the performance of the musicians was amazingly great and highly professional. But the surrounding of the music leaves to be better! Therefore, I think that Jyväskylä together with its inhabitants is like this concert: professionalism is present, but the provinciality is too prominent´.

In general, every city has its own pros and cons. Jyväskylä also has its areas for improvement and its areas of pride. To finish, it is worth emphasizing that Jyväskylä is a constantly changing and growing city that has the area of occupation for any person at any age.


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The notes were taken from journal ´Mosaiikki´, #2(74) 2012.

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