SOME FACTS ABOUT THE SEASIDE CITY OF NAANTALI
NAANTALI, originally Vallis Gratie (Latin) , The Valley of Mercy, was founded in 1443 and it is the fourth oldest town in Finland. Naantali developed around a convent belonging to the Order of Saint Birgitta. Today the old Convent Church still stands there and is worth of a visit. So is the fascinating old town with its wooden houses and narrow streets.
There are 19500 inhabitants in Naantali but summertime brings a lot of more tourists to this picturesque town with its many attractions, festivals,events,spa (popular all the year round), galleries and small boutiques.
In town and specially by the seaside around the guest harbour and the old baths building (also a well kept restaurant today) there are plenty of good restaurants, and cafes.
MUUMIN WORD (Muumimaailma) is a very popular place to visit. It is almost a must for children but interests the whole family.Over 22 0000 tourists visit this fairy world construction, theme park, year after year. The characters are based on Tove Jansson's (a Finnish author) story books to children. She first started writing her stories in 1940s.
KULTARANTA located in Luonnonmaa, on the opposite shore of the old town, has been the official summer residence of the President of the Republic since 1920.
The original owner of this granit-built 19-room building was Alfred Kordelin, a businessman, who had this complex built for himself in 1914. He died as early as 1917 and as he had no family .
Turku University Society had the ownership after him and later the Finnish Government decided to use the complex as the summer residence of the presidents. The designer of the magnificent building was the famous Finnish architect Lars Sonck.
The manor consists of numerous outbuildings, greenhouses and a well tended park with both vegetables and fruit gardens, a natural park with pine trees and rocks like in our archipelago and a park which is a kind of mini-Versailles. The best experts of those days were asked to plan and carry out the work in the gardens.
The President of the Republic and his family spend the summer in Kultaranta. Actually it is not only a holiday resort, because the President has to perform his duties and represent. The ministers of the government and state guests from abroad are not seldom seen visitors at Kultaranta.
According to even Alfred Kordelin's wishes the gardens are open to public in summertime on Fridays from 6pm to 8pm. There are also guided tours. The house itself is private.