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Sports
Tiina Tuulasvaara-Kaleva

Immediately beyond the city limits began a forested wilderness, from where beasts and other animals of the forest often strayed to the streets of the city even towards the end of the nineteenth century. For the townspeople surrounded by lakes and forests hiking in nature took place the year round. In the winter the people engaged in sledding and skating, and the first cross-country skiing competitions were held on the ice of Pyhäjärvi in 1888. The champions of the competition presented an unparalleled way of skiing, pushing themselves forward with two sticks, and quickly got others enthusiastic about the new style. In the summer the people rowed the shorter distances, the longer trips were taken on sailboats or steamboats. The gentry drove to their villas on motorboats already in the beginning of the twentieth century. The lengthening of holidays and the increased salaries made it possible for some of the townspeople to purchase a summer cottage in the coves of the nearby lakes.

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The most popular bathing beach towards the end of the nineteenth century was Mammannokka in Mustasaari. The factories in the vicinity specifically forbade their workers not to go swimming during their workday. The city had a public baths built in Palomäki on the shore of Pyhäjärvi in 1908, and a people's spa opened in Rauhanniemi in the late 1920s. The townspeople still continue to pack their carpets on their bicycle racks, drive to the lake and wash the carpets on piers and washing places near the beaches. After the washing it is good to lie on the beach or to take a dip in the water while the sun is drying up the carpets smelling of soft pine soap.

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A kilometre from the city centre lies the pine-covered Pyynikki ridge, a park and recreational area of 70 hectares. Already in the 1860s the townspeople went there to have a cup of coffee on the veranda of the summer restaurant, to do some bowling, have a singing festival at an open-air dance floor built in the middle of the forest or to look at Pyhäjärvi landscapes from the lookout tower. The slope of the ridge got a sledge and skiing slope, and even a sports ground was built in Pyynikki.

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Sports facilities were constructed around Tampere since the 1920s. The fenced field of Tammela was used for ball games in the summer and skating in the winter already in the 1930s, the Hippos track was built for horse races, Kauppi forest turned into the city's second recreation and sports area of 100 hectares. Ice hockey players got their first artificial skating rink at Koulukatu sports field in 1957, and the first ice hall in the country rose to Hakametsä in 1965. The following year saw the completion of Ratina stadium. Sports facilities have also been built in the housing estates: Kaukajärvi got a rowing stadium and new ice halls were built in Hervanta and Tesoma.

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