Å is Swedish for river. These pictures are from the two biggest rivers flowing in Helsinki. Vantaanjoki (Vantaa river, the Swedish name is Vanda å) and Mätäjoki (rotten river, the Swedish name is Rutiån). Mätäjoki was the original channel through which Vantaanjoki flowed into the sea, west of Helsinki peninsula, but about 3000 years ago, Vantaa changed its course eastward and started to flow into the sea east of the peninsula.
Mätäjoki is more like a brook, even though it’s called a river, a few kilometers long, flowing in its oversized channel. Vantaanjoki, on the other hand is 101 km long and a proper river.
The first two pictures are from Vantaanjoki at the Vanhankaupunginkoski (old town rapids, the modern Swedish name is Gammelstadsforsen). The city of Helsinki was originally sited near the rapids at the moutgh of the river in Helsinge parish (the name is a Swedish name, the population was mostly Swedish speaking).
The third is a picture of Mätäjoki flowing through a park in Pitäjänmäki, Helsinki.
The fourth is Vantaanjoki a bit upriver from Vanhankaupunginkoski.
The fifth is from the same park as the third and the sixth is a bit upriver from the park, Mätäjoki is flowing between a street and a residential area.
In the seventh and eighth it is again Vantaanjoki at Vanhankaupunginkoski. There’s an island in the river at the rapids. The western channel has been dammed and there’s a power station there (nowadays a museum, but it produces electricity), but the eastern channel has been restored closer to the natural state and the salmon and trout can swim through the eastern channel upriver to breed in the river.
The letter Å is one of the so called Scandinavian letters. It originates from late medieval Swedish and is nowadays used in Danish and Norwegian as well. It is used in words which used to have long a A in Old Norse but the pronunciation changed to an O (think of Latin or Standard German wovel sounds, not English).
More photos under the fold, click for full size!
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