With its approximately 10,500 residents, Mariehamn is the largest municipality in terms of population and the only city on Åland. The city was founded in 1861, when Åland was part of the Russian Empire. The city is the center of both politics and business on Åland. The name Mariehamn comes from Maria Alexandrovna, married to the Russian Tsar Alexander II. Here is a large port, Västerhamn, from which there are daily ferries, also known as the Åland boats, to Stockholm, Tallinn, Turku, Helsinki and Kapellskär. At night, the Turku ferries call at Långnäs in the municipality of Lumparland instead. Ferry traffic has been a prerequisite for the strong expansion of tourism. On the city’s eastern shore is Österhamn with one of the Nordic region’s largest guest harbors, the excursion destination Lilla holmen, Sjökvarteret and the bathhouse Mariebad.
Mariehamn is characterized by its greenery and the kilometer-long avenue that runs from east to west. It is lined with linden trees and Mariehamn is also known as the city of a thousand linden trees. The city consists of a grid pattern of streets and was designed by the architect Georg Theodor von Chiewitz in Turku. In the 1960s, many of the old wooden houses were demolished and more contemporary houses were built instead. However, many wooden houses have been preserved, including a number of villas designed by builder Hilda Hongell and several of the architect Lars Sonck’s early buildings. Sonck also designed Mariehamn’s town hall and several other representative buildings. Along Österhamn stretches Åland’s administrative and cultural center designed by the Finnish architect Helmer Stenros. Along Österhamn is the street east exit and it is to the base built on garbage.
Mariehamn has several bars, pubs, restaurants and nightclubs. There is also a casino and several outdoor stages. Mariehamnsteatern has its home stage in Mariehamn City Hall and during the summer Alandia Jazz Festival, Ålands Sjödagar and Rockoff are organized annually. The City of Mariehamn’s cultural administration organizes the Culture Night in August, Mariehamn Winter Jazz in February and Mariehamn’s Literature Days in March every year. The basis for the operation is Mariehamn City Library, which is also the central library for Åland and is responsible for the joint library network Katrina.