Pispala

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Pispala is a city district 2.5 km from the centre of Tampere, Finland. It is located on the northern slope of Pispalanharju, the highest esker in Finland.

Together with Pyynikki, Pispala is widely considered the most beautiful district of Tampere and tourists are often guided there for the view and the unique urban design features of the area. A monument to the Finnish poet Lauri Viita is located near the highest point of the ridge and there is a famous landmark in the area called the Shot tower (Finnish: Pispalan haulitorni.).

Pispala
Passing the shot tower.

History[edit]

Pispala is named after the House of Pispa, which had the obligation to house the bishops during their travel. Pispala was all farming land until as recently as 1869. As Tampere was industrialised Pispala grew without a unified local development plan, resulting in unique building styles and solutions.

A typical wooden house in Pispala.

Specifically factory and construction workers resided there with most of them being originally from Tampere or the nearby areas such as ostrobothnia. The area was joined to the City of Tampere 1937.

It is a periurban area or urban village and many of the features of the place echo this aspect.

Culture of Pispala[edit]

Many well-known Finnish artists and celebrities have lived and live in Pispala. These include Lauri Viita, Olavi Virta, Mikko Alatalo, Hannu Salama, Seela Sella, Keith Armstrong, Aaro Hellaakoski.

The only Finnish writer awarded with the Nobel Prize in Literature, F. E. Sillanpää located his novel Hiltu ja Ragnar (1923) − which the author considered his best work, in Pispala.

More recently it has featured as a main setting for the events in The Butterfly from Ural (Finnish: Uralin perhonen) animated short film directed by Katariina Lillqvist in 2008.

There are many small associations in the area and they are supported by an umbrella organization called the Pispalan kumppanuus.

Pispala houses the oldest still active public sauna in Finland. Rajaportin sauna began its operation in 1906 and is currently owned by the City of Tampere. However it is run by a local Pispala Sauna Association (Finnish: Pispalan saunayhdistys ry.).[1]

Pispala currently houses the Pispala Centre of Contemporary Arts at Hirvitalo which organises various events both outdoors in various places around the suburb and within their gallery situated upon "moose street," Hirvikatu. It is run by the Pispala Cultural Association

On the other side of the street is the Pispala Library House, a community library locals founded in 2001 when the Tampere City Library closed its branch library in Pispala. It contains an anarchist bookshelf, computers and small gallery space.

Also found in Pispala is Kurpitsatalo ("Pumpkin House") a community gardening project that celebrates the cycle of the year with traditional pagan festivals, music and also has various allotments.

Today Pispala has a vibrant artivist atmosphere and has much in kin with other bohemian arts areas such as Užupis, Montmartre, Greenwich Village or Freetown Christiania.

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