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Kvarteret Sillen is situated in the heart of Ekenäs Old Town, in South-West Finland.
Closer to hand, there is much to delight nature lovers. Kvarteret Sillen looks across a bay to Ramsholmen, a national nature reserve with well-maintained footpaths, including several over the ice in a cold winter! Ramsholmen boasts a wide variety of wildlife including red squirrels, deer and several varieties of woodpecker. There is also a good diversity of plant life. Wood anemonies famously carpet the ground in spring; the source of the ring of flowers on the regional flag. Blueberries are abundant in late summer and wild raspberries and currants can also be found. A secluded beach and numerous spots for a quiet picnic complete the picture for a perfect day.
Ekenäs Old Town itself is well worth exploring. The area was first developed during the time of King Gustav Vasa of Sweden, when Finland was still part of Sweden. The Old Town is characterised by low wooden houses set around inner courtyard gardens. Its architectural significance is closely protected by the museum and the character of the area has been successfully preserved. Ekenäs museum presents several old houses with original interiors as well as exhibitions and a neighbouring art gallery.
There are markets in the town square on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, and a summer market by the harbour on Thursday evenings. Many craft shops offer locally produced jewellery, ceramics, glassware and textiles.
Within a few minutes' walk of Kvarteret Sillen are the town beach and an excellent children's playground, both set next to the harbour from where boat trips out into the archipelago can be taken.
The southwest Finnish archipelago has 1300 islands, stretching across the Baltic towards Sweden. A boat trip might end with a barbecue on a secluded beach, a hike in a nature reserve or a spot of fishing or swimming. Or for an even more relaxing way to enjoy this area of outstanding natural beauty, dinner cruises are available throughout the summer.
The historic villages of Fiskars and Billnäs are a short drive from Ekenäs. Fiskars ironworks was founded in 1649, and probably made a pair of orange-handled scissors to be found in your kitchen. The village today provides a fascinating glimpse into an artisan's life over the centuries and is also known as a centre of Finnish art and design.
Even closer to Ekenäs can be found the medieval castle of Raseborg founded in 1374. Raseborg is officially mentioned for the first time in a letter dated 1378. It is a typical castle of the period and is unique within Finland. The castle is situated on a rock which was surrounded by the sea at the time the castle was built. Close to the castle ruins is one of the largest open-air theatre stages in Finland, the Raseborg Summer Theatre. The theatre was founded in 1966, and gives numerous performances in Swedish every year in July, often with a connection to the castle history. The village and church of Snappertuna, close to Raseborg castle, are also worth a visit.
For those who prefer their historic houses a little more recent, Svartå Manor provides the opportunity to visit a splendid stately home, the largest non-ecclesiastic wooden building in Finland. It was built between 1783 and 1792 in a mix of the two consecutive styles rococo and neo-classicism and the Gustavian style dominates the interior. Special features in the main building are the parquet floors, one made in four kinds of wood and a unique bedroom where one king (Gustav III) and two emperors (Alexander I and Alexander II of Russia) have slept.