A sauna built illicitly on a wasteland has become a phenomenon, which can’t be defeated even by many misfortunes. Now the travelers from abroad have found their way there, too.

Sauna is a beloved ”institution” in Finland. Many foreigners wonder at the saunas in Finnish apartment houses or in collective buildings. The amount of public saunas has been growing in past years so fast that the experts are talking about a phenomenon.

In Finland, there have been public saunas for a long time. At the beginning of the urbanization there were no proper wash rooms in the buildings, hence many public saunas were built. However, currently there is one sauna above others. It is one-of-a-kind in the world and has become famous also among foreigners as people from all around the world visit it and post pictures of it to the social media.

The sauna in question is Sompasauna, a sauna originally boldly and illicitly built on a wasteland.

Sompasauna was born by a coincidence. A group of friends found an abandoned sauna stove, and they came up with the idea of building a sauna around it. As a building material they used waste material from construction sites. A couple of years went by and the visitor amount started growing.

After 2011 Sompasaari has gone through many phases.

The sauna was demolished by the city of Helsinki many times, but it always stubbornly popped up again. When Sompasauna finally got all the licenses needed, it suffered from recurring acts of vandalism. Once it was even pushed into the ocean.

Sompasauna enthusiasts started collecting money for a new and better sauna building – they saved money they’d gained from returning bottles to the stores. The sauna called Bottlesauna was built but in spring 2018 but only after a couple of months it was burnt to the ground.

People didn’t give up. They put together a temporary solution called Ghettosauna and started building a new permanent sauna again. Now Sompasauna consists of two new saunas built in August 2018. Unlike before, the saunas are now open 24/7 throughout the year. The materials of these saunas were donated by partners and they were built by volunteer workers.

We have built two awesome saunas in August. The big temple made of log offers good hot steams and beautiful scenery. The smaller chapel offers hotter steam and a better view to Mammutti and Korkeasaari, tells Thomas Tanner from the Sompasauna society.

Even though the activitiy of the sauna society have gradually grown and evolved, the main idea has remained the same: To offer every sauna-lover a sauna, which is completely free of charge and open for everyone

If you now want to go to Sompasauna, prepare to put some effort in finding the place. The Sompasauna is located in the southern end of Sompasaari on a barren land but it is located by the sea, and offers a beautiful view to Mustikkamaa and Korkeasaari.

All kind of events are organized in the sauna area, and during the summer there is a little café called Ihana. However, there are no showers or towels available and neither do they sell bathing suits or any other sauna stuff – so please remember taking everything you need for your sauna experience with you!

Picture: Sompasauna Society

Ps. If you want to stay up-to-date with what happens at Sompasauna, please join the Sompasaunaseura (Sompasauna society) Facebook-group.

Helsingin Sanomat 31.8.2018

Terho Marttila: Sompasauna, Stadilaisten oma underground-sauna, 2015

Yle Uutiset 28.1.2016

Sompasaunan omat kotisivut

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