Jyvaskyla is a university town 145 mi/235 km north of Helsinki, and it was the hometown of functionalist architect Alvar Aalto. It has several buildings he designed, as well as the Alvar Aalto Museum. Also visit the Handicraft Museum (traditional Finnish costumes), the Art Gallery (Finnish and international painting and sculpture) and the Museum of Central Finland (regional history).

The Petajavesi Old Church, a fine example of rural wooden architecture, dates back to 1763 and was elevated to UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1994: It's well worth the short excursion from Jyvaskyla. Those interested in motor rallies can attend the Neste Oil Rally Finland (late July-August). The city also hosts the Jyvaskyla Festival (July), which specializes in nonverbal theater, mimes, underground films, music and activities for children.

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