Photographer's Note

Today I walked along the small roads in islands belonging to the inner archipelago of Espoo, my city. The group of islands is called Suvisaaristo (Summer islands). This photo is taken from a small cove facing south east. We have had a cold period, which has strenghened the ices near the main land in a few weeks considerably. Today was however the first day above freezing point (+ 1C) in 16 days. It was sunny, but sun was filtered through hazy clouds most of the time.

Suvisaaristo is a maritime district in Espoo, districts number 451 and 452, and an archipelago in the Gulf of Finland, directly in front of a peninsula in Soukka, in the southwestern corner of Espoo.

Originally, Suvisaaristo consisted of three farms, Stor-Svinö, Lill-Svinö and Moisö. At times in history, they have been abandoned because of poverty or uncertain times, but at times they have been relatively wealthy. In the 1571 census, both Svinö farms had six cows and two horses each. Moisö had five cows, one calf and one horse. The Suvisaaristo farms were traditionally allowed to pay their taxes in seal fat and their land rent to the King's manor in salted baltic herring.

The peasants in the islands bought their farms as their own in 1825, and in the early 1920s the farms were combined as one. The islands, without a bridge at that point, had about ten fishing houses, and for a certain reason, during prohibition they could afford to buy the houses as their own and build spacious villas to rent to Helsinkians. In the 1920s, the islands were accessed with island steam boats and motorised passenger boats. One steam ship, the SS Sommaröarna, was registered to the islands, but it was soon sold away as unprofitable. In the 1930s, the islands got electricity and telephone connections, and in 1936, bridges were built to Svinö and Ramsö, which started regular bus traffic. The bridges were renewed and widened to two lanes in 1976.

Today, Suvisaaristo is home to three hundred households (445 people in 1995), of which less than 40% are native Swedish-speaking. The buildings have, because of a long-time ban on new construction (in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, because of incomplete urban planning) remained on a reasonable scale, although for example there are only a couple of the buildings built in the 19th century left.
Also my parents owned a small and simple summer cottage on rented land in Suvisaaristo, when I was a kid. So I have many great memories from the summers spent there.

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Additional Photos by Lasse Lofstrom (ellelloo) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 471 W: 15 N: 1589] (6572)
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