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Naantali travel guide — Naantali tourism and travel information

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about Naantali

Naantali (Swedish Nådendal, Latin Vallis Gratiae - valley of grace), city in south-western Finland, known as the probably most important tourist centre of the country. The small city, with a population of 13 500, is located in the province of Finland Proper 15 kilometres to the west of Turku, the province's capital.

The city encompasses a land area of 51.08 square kilometres. Most of this area is located on the island of Luonnonmaa to the southwest of the city centre, but the majority of the population lives on the mainland. Most of the island is in fact forest and farmland, while the mainland consists chiefly of residential areas.

Naantali history

One of the oldest cities in Finland, Naantali was founded around the mediaeval convent church that still controls its skyline. The charter, now kept in the Swedish National Museum, was signed by King Christopher of Sweden (Christopher of Bavaria), the then ruler of Finland, in 1443. The convent got trading rights and other privileges, and the town around it began to grow. It also became an important destination for pilgrimage.

In the 16th century, as Catholicism gave way to Protestantism as the official religion, the convent was closed, and the city plunged into a depression. This lasted until the mid-18th century, when the city got a tollgate and a customs chamber. In the two centuries of economic stagnation before that the city had become famous for its knitted stockings, a craft carried on from the times of the convent.

The year 1863 saw the founding of the spa at Cape Kalevanniemi, which raised the city's status as a holiday venue. In 1922, the Kultaranta estate on Luonnonmaa was made the official summer residence for the President of the Republic, after Finland had gained its independence five years earlier.

The true prosperity of the city began in the 1950s, as the heavy industries that dominate the city's economy were established. Today, Naantali is the second richest city in Finland, and the richest in the province of Finland Proper.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Naantali".

This city is also known as: Naantali.

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