Finnish history can be divided into three chapters: the Swedish period prior to 1809, the Russian period from 1809 to 1917, and the independent period from 1917 to the present day.
During the Swedish period from early 1300's Finland was merely a group of provinces until the year 1809 when Finland became an autonomous Grand Duchy to Russia until 1917 when Finland declared independency from Russia. Turku was founded in the middle of the 13th century making it the oldest city in Finland. Turku castle is an impressive medieval castle dating back to 14th century. Turku remained an important center until 1812 when Helsinki was made the capital of Finland and the university founded in 1640 in Turku was moved to Helsinki in 1828.
The Finnish national movement gained momentum during the Russian period. The Finnish national epic, the Kalevala, created by Elias Lönnrot, was published in 1835. The Language Decree issued in 1863 by Alexander II marked the beginning of the process through which Finnish became an official administrative language.
Although only one-seventh of the Finnish population spoke Swedish as its first language, Swedish retained its dominant position until the beginning of the 20th century. On December 6, 1917, Parliament approved the declaration of independence drawn up by the Senate under the leadership of P.E. Svinhufvud (1861–1944).
Finland’s 37 national parks are protected areas with unique natural features. Accessing them is encouraged, and they present a number of recreational possibilities. The national parks are scattered around the country’s archipelago, lakes, forests, peat lands and fells, and showcase the areas’ various natural characteristics, such as rapids, rift valleys and eskers.
There are 5.4 million people living in Finland. 1.2 million people reside in the capital of Finland –Helsinki and the metropolitan area.
Finland is called “a Land of Thousands of lakes”. There are over 180,000 lakes in Finland and they cover 10% of surface area in Finland. There is also lots of coastal area from west side to south and east. There are almost as many islands as there are lakes.
Finland area is 338,424 km² (131,985 square miles) and Finland is the fifth-largest country in Western Europe. Finland is 1,160 km (720 miles) in length and 540 km (335 miles) in width. Destinations include Lapland above the Arctic Circle, the Lakeland, Helsinki and Southern Finland and the Coastal Areas and Archipelago.