Yesterday we went to Rauma. Old Rauma is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it is the most complete wooden town in the Nordic countries.
Rauma was formed in 1442 and is one of 6 Finnish towns that date from the Middle Ages. Except for the church, the town hall and a couple houses, all the buildings are wooden. The last fire was in 1682 and the city has survived almost unchanged as the last example of the old Nordic wooden town.
Our first stop in Rauma was the Art Museum. We saw a collection of Finnish paintings that had belonged to a Finnish sea captain, Eino Valtonen, and we also toured the collection of local art that was available for rent or purchase.
One lovely mural was painted by the author Hj. Nortamo. Nortamo wrote in the special Rauma language. He is best know for his writings, Raumlaissi jaarituksi ('chatter from Rauma'). You can read the Rauma language (or dialect) here. Good luck!
The woman at the museum pointed us in the direction of a nice restaurant, the Wähä Tallbo. After our hearty koti ruoka we headed to the city museum in the Old Town Hall.
I love these small museums crammed full of treasure. After touring the lace exhibit (Rauma is famous for bobbin lace) we climbed the stairs under the jaw bone of a sperm whale and entered an exhibit of old and precious church artifacts. The most fascinating was Finnish weaving from the 15th Century that was discovered in a church that was being restored. The workers thought it was a rag, but it is actually the last surviving marriage rug in Finland.
We also went to the Marela house, a shipowner's home. The interior was beautiful with the huge ceramic heating stoves in the corner of every room.
Our last stop was The Church of the Holy Cross, a former Franciscan church from the end of the 15th Century. I say former because it is now a Lutheran church. The Franciscans were probably in Rauma when it became a town. There were also Franciscans at Vyborg and Kökar. The Rauma monastery was disbanded during the Reformation and it became a Lutheran church in 1640 when the Church of the Holy Trinity was destroyed in the fire. The church has wall paintings dating from the Middle Ages. While we were there a choral group was practicing and it was a lovely place to rest.