The President of the Republic's summer residence, Kultaranta, stands in beautiful 54-hectare grounds in Naantali on the southwest coast. As well as the granite-built house, the complex includes numerous outbuildings and greenhouses, and a well-tended park.
Kultaranta was originally commissioned by the agriculturalist Alfred Kordelin. The 19-room house was designed by the famous turn-of-the-century architect Lars Sonck, and construction work started in 1914. Alfred Kordelin only spent a few summers at Kultaranta before his sudden death. He left Kultaranta to the Finnish University of Turku Society, and it was later acquired by the Finnish government following a Parliament decision to use the house as the President of the Republic's summer residence.
The ground floor contains the reception rooms and private apartments. Upstairs are the bedrooms and guestrooms. Marble steps lead from the ground floor to the tower, from which there is a magnificent view of Naantali and the inshore islands.
Kultaranta park is a kind of mini-Versailles. In the middle is the 'Medallion', surrounded by a carefully trimmed fir hedge. Inside is Kultaranta's famous rose garden, which has 3,500 bushes. The scent and colour of these roses are at their peak in the middle of the summer, when the President and family and their guests come to Naantali for the holidays. The parkland to the north of Kultaranta is in practically a natural state, though a few sandy pathways have been built there, and the woodland is kept in good condition.
Kultaranta has about 1000 square metres of greenhouses. The garden supplies the President's household with both flowers and vegetables all year round.
Midsummer, the great summer festival, is a special time at Kultaranta: the President is sure to have arrived by then, and the great Midsummer bonfire on a nearby islet is an event enjoyed by the whole Naantali area.
Tourists are denied access to the house at Kultaranta. It is the President's 'summer villa', a place where he/she can be undisturbed. On the other hand, it is possible to visit the park, one of the biggest of its kind in Finland.
Further information: Naantali Tourist Information, Kaivotori 2, 21100 Naantali, tel. (02) 435 9800, fax (02) 435 0852