The city of Rovaniemi is located in the arctic circle and is well-known as the capital of Finnish Lapland. It is the 16th largest city in Finland but is visited by around half a million people annually, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.
Rovaniemi is a modern city; much of it was destroyed in 1944 during the Second World War. The rebuilding process began soon after, led by Alvar Aalto, whose vision saw the town plan shaped like a reindeer’s antlers. Aalto also contributed to the designs of Rovaniemi City Hall, Rovaniemi City Library, and Lappia House, as well as a number of residential buildings.
Rovaniemi’s popularity as a tourist destination has much to do with the city's being the hometown of Finland’s best-known resident, Santa Claus. There are a number of Rovaniemi attractions that are Santa-themed, including the world-famous Santa Claus Village, where you’ll find the great man’s very own post office, which deals with hundreds of thousands of letters from children from all over the world every year.
Other main attractions include the Arctic SnowHotel, SantaPark, Snowman World, and Arctic Adventure Park Huma. Easily accessible by coaches from the city are the Ranua Wildlife Park and the Lampivaara Amethyst Mine. Rovaniemi is also home to Arktikum, which houses the Arctic Science Centre and the Regional Museum of Lapland; and Science Centre Pilke, housed in the famous Pilke House, a modern office and museum structure made entirely from wood.
One of the few buildings in Rovaniemi that wasn’t destroyed in World War II was the post bus depot, which has been remodeled to become today’s Korundi House of Culture, now home to the Rovaniemi Art Museum and an excellent venue for concerts where the Lapland Chamber Orchestra perform regularly.