Lahti, Finland, 65 m/105 km northeast of Helsinki, is best known for winter sports, especially its Olympic-size ski jump. (This is home to the annual Salppauselka ski meet, and there's a ski museum at the sports center.) It's also known for its radio towers, based on a hill outside of town. The hill, said to be the highest in southern Finland, was a logical place for broadcasting companies to put their beacons. A museum in town covers Finnish broadcasting history, including exhibits from some of the Finnish versions of foreign television shows.
Music lovers who are driving to Lahti from Helsinki should stop in Jarvenpaa, site of Ainola, the house where composer Jean Sibelius spent his last years. The forest setting is evocative of his compositions. His tomb is also at Ainola. The Halosenniemi Museum is the former countryside home of Pekka Halonen, one of Finland's most beloved painters, a fabulous log mansion perched on the lakeside. It displays a number of his works amidst the lovely landscapes in Jarvenpaa that inspired him. Jarvenpaa is also the site of an annual blues festival, Puistoblues, in June.
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