The fact that Finland was the land of saunas used to be an unknown fact to people. The first time their liking for this sport came to light was at the Olympic Games after the First World War. Saunas then became very popular and they started proliferating.
There are approximately 5.4 million inhabitants living in Finland, and you will find about 3.3 million saunas. We can conclude, that every second Finnish person is partial to this pastime in private.
It all began with smoke
The ‚mother‘ of the modern sauna was a smoke sauna. It was a room or rather a house, which was heated by a standard stove. The all-present soot had to be aired out through the doors. For the adventurous, who like to try anything untraditional, there are still a few left in open-air museums. An example of this, is the Finnish smoke sauna on the Saimaa lake. Smoke saunas were in time replaced by steam ones.
Saunas in the center of Helsinki
Despite the fact, that the number of public saunas are declining, and today‘s society prefers private saunas over the public ones, you will find a unique one in the center of Helsinki. Löyly is a luxury public sauna, which fuses the proud history of this ‚sport‘ with innovations and technology of the 21st century. The building is a beautiful wooden structure with an untraditional layout and a semi-transparent facade made from wooden lats, which permit light through, while at the same time offering an intimate space for relaxation.
The principles of the sauna according to the Finns
The Finns go into shared public saunas fundamentally without swimwear. Due to the fact, that sauna here are an inherent part of national culture, it is necessary to adhere to the unwritten rule: no arguments, rows or insults. Towels aren’t usually used in the sauna, they’re inconvenient. And water intake? None, more or less after a session. However, during a session in the sauna, Finns tend to have alcoholic drinks to accompany the experience.
The first Finnish sauna was opened in the Czech Republic in the year 1936. The famous pediatrician Doc. František Vojta built one at a summer camp in Borovice u Štěpánova. Another one was made for sportsmen in the year 1939 in a fitness center in Třeboň.