Two days in Rauma, old town and some museums – Rauma part 1

Two days in Rauma, old town and some museums – Rauma part 1

Last Thursday we headed to Rauma for a two nights minibreak to marvel at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Old Rauma (Vanha Rauma), which is the wooden city centre of the town of Rauma. The area of Old Rauma is about 0.3 km², with approximately six hundred buildings (including houses and outbuildings like sheds) and about 800 people live in the area. The oldest buildings date from the 18th century, as two fires destroyed the town in 1640 and 1682. Most buildings are currently inhabited and owned by private individuals or businesses. Old Rauma was chosen to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1991 as a unique example of a living and well maintained old Nordic wooden town. We also visited the Kylmäpihlaja lighthouse but more about that in a separate post.

We arrived in Rauma on Thursday afternoon and checked into Hotel Vanha Rauma, which is operating on an estate in the old town formerly known as Hotel Kalatori and Guesthouse Kalatori. The functionalist style building dates from the 1930´s and originally functioned as a warehouse and shops. Once we had settled we headed out to explore the old town, which felt almost abandoned at around four in the afternoon on a weekday in August. I am sure the situation is quite different in July when almost all of Finland is vacationing. We loved the quiet streets and chance to really get to look at the various buildings in peace.

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After a stroll and some refreshments we headed back to the hotel for some R&R before heading to dinner at around seven in the evening (more about the food we enjoyed while in Rauma in a separate post later). The reason for a relatively early dinner was that most restaurants closed at ten and the kitchens stopped serving at nine.

On Friday we started the day at the lighthouse and spent the afternoon exploring a couple of museums and the Church of the Holy Cross, which is a medieval fieldstone church. The exact age of the church is unknown, but it was built to serve as the monastery church of the Rauma Franciscan Friary. The monastery had been established in the early 15th century and a wooden church was built on this site around the year 1420. Historians assume the current stone church was completed in 1515–1520. The Church of the Holy Cross served the monastery until 1538, when it was abandoned for a hundred years as the friary was disbanded in the Swedish Reformation. The church was re-established as a Lutheran church in 1640, when the nearby Church of the Holy Trinity was destroyed by fire.

The first museum we visited was called Marela and showed the life and lifestyle of a wealthy ship-owner and his family at the turn of the 19th century, the golden age of seafaring in Rauma. The details of the interior of the building such as ceiling paintings, paneling of ceilings and walls, stoves and doors have been preserved in the same state as during the time of the Granlunds that owned the house in the early 20th century. As the house and its contents had to be sold at an auction in 1907 nothing of the household goods of the Granlund family remains but the rooms have been furnished with the kind of furniture that are mentioned in the inventory list of 1907.

The second museum was called Kirsti and showed how people lived in Old Rauma from the early 1900s to 1970s. The main building of Kirsti is an example of the 18th century style of building. Documents indicate that it is from the beginning of the century and was lived in by 1732. Kirsti belonged to the same family over 200 years before it was acquired by the museum in the 1970s. Since the 1800s, seamen and craftsmen used to live in Kirsti.

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