Population 24 000. The
Aland Islands differ strikingly from the Finnish mainland not only
as regards scenery but also culture and folk traditions. Among
the monuments of the past are the Viking graves of the natives'
forefathers and the oldest churches in Finland, dating back to
the 1100s. The Alanders take grate pride in their ancient seafaring
heritage. The Aland Islands, consisting of over 6500 islands and
skerries, have been compared to a bridge
between Finland and Sweden.
The province boasts of
no less than sixteen municipalities, but Mariehamn, the capital,
is the only town. The 24 000 inhabitants are almost without exception
Swedish speaking. Worth mentioning is the autonomous state enjoyed
by the Alanders. Mariehamn is a somewhat young town founded in
1861 by Czar Alexander II. Including its suburbs, Mariehamn has
a population of 11 000.