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"No body without a heart, no Finland without Tampere"

The old town centre
Ilona Koivisto and Tiina Tuulasvaara-Kaleva

Tampere was founded on the grounds of Tammerkoski Manor by the western bank of the rapids. A simple chequered town plan with narrow streets and wide lots was drawn up for the town. In the beginning of the nineteenth century the population still numbered less than 500 people and the town area was some three square kilometres. In the centre of the town there was a square with lots reserved to churches of four different faiths. Only the Lutheran Old Church was ever built. The eastern shore of the rapids belonged to Messukylä. At the beginning the townspeople lived in modest grey timbered houses with turf roofs. The facades of the houses faced the main street; the dwellers entered the houses via a porch and through the yard. In addition to cabbage plots and animal shelters, the communal yards had drying barns and sauna buildings that would easily catch fire.

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The first main street was Kauppakatu, lined with two-storied wooden buildings built by merchants. Artisans found their dwellings and work places in the streets on the northern edge of the city. The Market Square, that is the present Central Square, was the heart of the city right from the start. Lively trading took place in the square until the end of the nineteenth century. The sales items were countryside goods and handicraft products; the traditional Tampere delicacy, the mustamakkara sausage, was sold in the square already in the beginning of the twentieth century.

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Tampere urbanised with industrialisation towards the end of the nineteenth century. The population increased to 35 000 by the turn of the century, making Tampere the third largest city in Finland. The streets were characterised by one-and-a-half-storied carpenter-style wooden houses with towers and skilfully carved ornaments. Ornamentation was also the favourite trend in terms of the interiors and the gentry decorated their salons with internationally fashionable furniture purchased from specialised shops.

Hämeenkatu becomes the main routeforward