Espoo

Overview

Introduction

Although it feels more like a suburb of Helsinki, Espoo, 5 mi/8 km southwest of Helsinki, is the country's second-largest city. Espoo is an ancient place (the site was occupied as early as 3,500 BC) with a modern feel—there's no old city center or even a recognizable downtown.

Its attractions range from the medieval (a 15th-century granite church and Swedish King Gustav Vasa's Espoo Manor) to the contemporary (an automobile museum), with an assortment of attractions from periods in between (the Farmstead Museum of 19th-century rural life, for example). Nearby Tapiola Garden City, a landscaped residential area, is home to the fascinating Museum of Horology (the science of time measurement) and EMMA, the Espoo Museum of Modern Art, both housed in the converted printing works known as WeeGee.

Architecture buffs should see the Dipoli building, designed by Reima Pietila, at the Helsinki University of Technology in Otaniemi. Also visit the Gallen-Kallela Museum for its paintings and antiques (in Tarvaspaa). Hvittrask, just outside of Espoo, is the design studio of Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen, who is buried on the studio grounds.

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