The city of Pori sits facing Sweden across the Gulf of Bothnia. With a population 83,000, it is Finland’s seventh largest urban area, situated 237km northwest of Helsinki. It was founded in 1558 on the banks of the Kokemäenjoki River, about 20km inland from the coast. This location allowed Pori to grow into an international city of commerce and industry. The city is home to one of the largest commercial bulk ports in the country.
During the 80s recession, significant changes produced a diversified economic structure that has enabled Pori to fare reasonably well during Europe’s more recent economic crisis compared with similar-sized cities. Since 2003, a renovated former cotton factory has provided space for the University Consortium of Pori, and to dozens of entrepreneurs in media and communications and other service industries.
Pori has a natural environment that makes it attractive to holidaymakers, mainly Finns. The Pori National Urban Park was established in 2002. This development has highlighted the natural landscape of the Kokemäenjoki river delta. It is a place of recreation and also one of the most valuable wetlands of northern Europe due to its plentiful birdlife. The long, sandy Yyteri Beach, on the nearby coast, is one of the most beautiful in Scandinavia.
In the 21st century, Pori is a city of students and modern enterprise. It is also a cultural centre. Every summer, some 160,000 visitors flock to Pori’s annual jazz festival, one of the oldest in Europe, and established in 1966.