There are plenty of things to do in Rovaniemi, as soon as you land at the airport in Lapland you will spot a cute reindeer. Ok, maybe not an actual real one, but a cheery person in a Rudolf suit greeting families and children when they arrive! Rovaniemi is of course, the home-town of Santa Claus and it is also very Christmassy all the year round.
A couple of miles from ‘Santa’s official airport’ lies the famous Santa Claus Village, which is an amusement park that includes elves, real reindeers, huskies, shops and great restaurants. It attracts more than 600,000 visitors every year to this beautiful awe-inspiring spot on the edge of the Arctic Circle.
There is so much to do in Rovaniemi (especially for the children) with reindeers popping up just about everywhere. This also includes real reindeers pulling sleighs at Santa Claus Village and statues of them all throughout the city centre.
The actual biggest one, is the reindeer head that is embedded in the Finnish city’s street plan. This was created by one of Finland’s best known architects - Alvar Aalto. He had to literally rebuilt the Lapland’s capital after it was burned to the ground by the retreating German army amidst the second world war.
Back in the 1930s, Rovaniemi was just a small trading town of around 6,000 people until the Russians invaded in 1939. The Finnish people fought off their aggressors in the harsh winter war of 1939-40, then allied with Germany for protection from further Russian invaders.
The Germans created a base in Rovaniemi, and more or less doubled the town’s population. The Luftwaffe built an airfield, which is now ‘Santa’s official airport’, and also barracks that became the Santa Claus Village.
Santa Claus’s top secret toy workshop is located in Korvatunturi (Ear Mountain) along a route which is not very accessible. In order to be able to meet people, in the 1950s Santa started to receive his guests in the capital town of Lapland, Rovaniemi.
Due to Santa Claus’s popularity, his very own office has been built for him, where he can be met on every day of the year. Santa Claus and the Arctic Circle has its very own Post Office that receives over 700,000 letters from children every year!
The traditional Grand Christmas Opening reminds us all about the most important events of Christmas. Rovaniemi’ s most famous inhabitant invites visitors looking for the magic of Christmas to join all of the festivities.
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