Monday, March 2, 2009

Finland - Sauna (FI-452305)

This postcard shows something very typical for Finland - a sauna :) Of course, you can find saunas in many other countries, but for Finnish people it's part of culture and national identity. Have you known that there were 2 million of saunas for just 5 millions of inhabitants in Finland?


Records and other historical evidence indicate that the Finns built the first wooden saunas in the 5th or 8th century. Early saunas were dug into a hill or embankment. As tools and techniques advanced, they were later built above ground using wooden logs. Rocks were heated in a stone fireplace with a wood fire. The smoke from the fire filled the room as the air warmed.

Once the temperature reached desired levels, the smoke was allowed to clear and the bathers entered. The wood smoke aroma still lingered and was part of the cleansing ritual. This type of traditional smoke sauna was called a savusauna, which simply means "smoke sauna" in Finnish. Many people find the smell of smoke and wood to be relaxing.

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