Imatra, hotel, Rantasipi Valtionhotelli, Finland
Imatra is a town and municipality in eastern Finland, founded in 1948 around three industrial settlements near the Finnish–Russian border. In the course of the last 50 years, this amorphous group of settlements has grown into a modern industrial town dominated by Lake Saimaa, the Vuoksi River and the border. It gained its municipal charter in 1971.
On the other side of the border, 7 kilometres (4 mi) away from the centre of Imatra, lies the Russian town of Svetogorsk. St Petersburg is situated 210 km (130 mi) to the southeast, Finland's capital Helsinki is 230 km (140 mi) away and Lappeenranta, the nearest Finnish town, is 37 km (23 mi) away. Imatra belongs to the administrative province of Southern Finland and the region of South Karelia.
Finland is the jam. It came from an exploding egg, the egg of a water bird, the top half of which you can still see in the shape of the starry canopy that hangs over the earth.Finland is the most sparsely-populated country in the EU with only 5 million people. It's also been ranked the second most stable country in the world, after Norway.Historically, Finland has been a part of Sweden and later, Russia. It was an autonomous Grand Duchy during the Russian Empire's reign and lasted as such until their declaration of independence in 1917. Subsequently Finland survived a civil war and wars against both Russia and Nazi Germany to eventually settle down as an EU member circa 1955.Finnish language is cool, it's totally unrelated to the whole Latin-root thing. Its closest relative is Hungarian. Linguistic historians estimate that it came from northern central Russia from 3000BC.If you're in Helsinki, the museum at Suomenlinna has some interesting bunkers and military wreckage, including a submarine!Caught on camera! Here's your long-awaited proof. Santa Claus comes from Finland.Apart from Lappland, the other thing most people are familiar with out of Finland is aquavite. Literally it translates to "water of life" but it may make you feel more like you are dying when it hits your throat.Text by Steve Smith.