Jyväskylä was founded by Tsar Nicholas I in 1837.It is a lively, versatile city of sport, movement and well-being in which over 5 000 events are staged annually. Jyväskylä is situated in the middle of Finland, right in the heart of Finnish lakeland.
The small city is located on the north side of the Jyväsjärvi lake, which is linked by a narrow strait, the Aijälänsalmi, with Lake Päijänne, Finland's second largest lake and its deepest, to the south. Jyväskylä is an important traffic junction, the administrative and cultural hub of central Finland and an industrial town (woodworking, metalworking), which is also noted for its trade fairs. The town gets its particular character from a mingling of old wooden houses and modern stone buildings. The first Finnish-language secondary school was established here in 1858. The University was founded in 1934. In the centrally-located Church Gardens (Kirkkopuisto) is the neo-Gothic Town Church. Nearby is a monument to the Finnish writer, Minna Canth (1844-97). On the way from there to the harbor and the lake are three buildings by the famed Finnish architect Alvar Aalto: the Municipal Theater, the Police Headquarters, and the Local Government Offices. To the north, in Rajakatu, are the Orthodox church and a neo-Classical church. The impressive Jyväskylä International Arts Festival is held in June and is the longest-running annual cultural event in Finland.
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