CULTURE


Lapland's winter tale-reportage from Santa Claus' hometown VIDEO

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Baku, January 14, AZERTAC

Winter in Finland is very fascinating. Everywhere in winter is covered with white snow both in the capital city Helsinki and in the regions of the country, but temperature here is sometimes 10-15, and sometimes 25-30 degrees below zero. However, covered with white snow houses and streets, and the quietly falling snow arouse good mood in everyone.

Finland is an interesting country to spend New Year holiday. Every New Year night, live concert program is organized on the main square in Helsinki. And thousands of people celebrate the New Year together despite the cold weather of minus 10 degrees. But many people arrive in Finland in New Year's Eve in order to visit Lapland, the hometown of Santa Claus.

Rovaniemi – official city and village of Santa Claus

Rovaniemi is the Official Hometown of Santa Claus, and the city's most famous resident can be visited every day of the year in Santa Claus Village right on the Arctic Circle, an attraction that draws more than 300,000 annual visitors from all around the world.

Santa Claus' original home lies in the mysterious Korvatunturi ("Ear Fell") in Finnish Lapland. Since the exact location is a secret only known to a chosen few, he decided to establish an office in Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland, in 1985. Rovaniemi received the status of the Official Hometown of Santa Claus in 2010.

The city's population is nearly 6,000. We started our journey to Lapland from Rovaniemi. It took us 11 hours to arrive in the city by bus. But you may travel by air too. However, it is more expedient to travel by bus, because it is much cheaper than plane or train. You can find the hotels at an affordable price in the city. As the city is close to the North Pole, the sun rises at 11 a.m, and it gets dark at 2 p.m.

One can walk all the must-see places in this small city within an hour.

The central street of the city is specially decorated for New Year holiday.

Members of the Lordi rock group who were the winners of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006 are also from this city. You can see a monument to them in this street.

Those who travel Rovaniemi in winter, must take warm clothes and shoes with them. Although there is dry frost, it is impossible to stay in open weather more than 15 minutes without warm clothes.

Every year thousands of tourists visit this city-the house of Santa Claus to live experience winter tale. The Village of Santa Claus is 8 km away from the city. According to statistics, the place is one of the world's most visited touristic destinations.

The first place at the entrance of the village that attracts attention is Santa Claus' mail service. Hundreds of people stand in a queue to send letters and postcards to their friends and relatives. The letters sent to Santa Claus from all over the world are also collected here.

The village offers souvenirs, a walk with the deer and many other fascinating attractions for kids. One of the major moments is however be next to the Santa Claus. His house is right in the center of the village. You have to pass through the corridor decorated with figures of fairytale heroes to enter his room. We also managed to get near the Santa Claus. We handed out him a letter from Azerbaijan along with a souvenir of Baku – Maiden Tower and Shakarbura (national sweet). We were amazed to hear that the Santa Claus has been to Baku. Our team forgot that we are with the real Santa Claus. After seeing us startled he wittily added that he has been to Baku on the New Year’s Eve. We figured it out that he wants to be identified as not the imaginary but the authentic Santa. Via our cameras he wished Azerbaijani kids peace, and recommended them to have good grades and listen to their parents.

The entrance to the house of the Santa Claus is free. But taking photos inside are forbidden. You can only take photos of Santa Claus’s official photographer and it costs 50 Euros.

Santapark and Arctic Center

Rovaniemi attaches great importance to the progress of tourism. During his conversation with AZERTAC`s correspondents city mayor Esko Lotvonen noted that the numbers of tourists visiting here increases yearly. This year there has been an increase in the numbers of visitors from China and Asia. The Mayor also said there is a newly-constructed hotel in the Santa Claus village. “The security of tourists is also at the center of attention,” he said. Esko Lotvonen said the summer in Rovaniemi is incredible when there are 20 hours of sunlight a day. The mayor said he is informed that Azerbaijan’s tourism sector is at progress.

Another attractive place in Rovaniemi is Santapark. The imagine lovers could see live performances, concert programs for kids. Executive director Ilkka Lankinen said Santapark is opened since 1997. “Mainly tourists from Russia, China and European countries including Azerbaijan are coming Santa Park,” he added.

One of the sightseeing places in Rovaniemi is the arctic center. The museum exhibits local of the Northern arctic, Lapland’s history, culture and nature. It is quite worth to visit Lapland for winter tale.

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