Aland. The Åland shipping company Birka Line, which made big losses in the previous year, sold in February the cruise ship Birka Princess to traffic outside the Baltic Sea. As a result, 250 employees were laid off.
After a long battle against the EU ban on the sale of snuff on Åland-registered vessels, Finland and Aland lost in the European Court of Justice in May. Finland had not implemented the snuff ban on the Aland. However, according to the EU Commission, the snuff ban must apply throughout Finland. As a result, Åland shipping companies fear losing passengers to Swedish-registered vessels that are authorized to sell snuff. Later in the year, the Åland Lagting passed a new tobacco law, which allowed Åland vessels to sell snuff when they are in Swedish waters.
During the year, Aland ended up in a fierce and prolonged conflict with Finland over the Åland Cash Machine Association’s (PAF) gaming business on the Internet. According to the Helsinki government, it is illegal for PAF to market itself in the “kingdom”, that is, the real Finland, which has a gaming monopoly. Negotiations in the case broke down and PAF was notified by the Ministry of the Interior. In October, President Tarja Halonen commissioned the Åland governor to mediate the conflict.
Baltic archipelago which forms a dip. of Finland, from which it is separated, to the East, by the Strait of Skiftet (Finnish Kihti).
After a relatively stingy period of finds ranging from 500 BC to 500 AD (Iron Age), populations from S and W settled on the main island. The oldest finds from the Iron Age are represented by ten thousand tombs distributed among four hundred cemeteries that were located near two hundred residential settlements and six castles. The houses were found only on the main island, concentrated in the eastern area. The types of tombs and other discoveries testify to the belonging to the Swedish culture with sporadic Finnish influences. The pagan cemeteries lasted until about 1000. A.D; from this moment, and for a couple of centuries, there followed a period for which the finds are scarce. A limestone cross has been preserved which bears the runic inscription “Uini”; the find was interpreted as part of the cross that overlooked the tomb of Archbishop Unni, buried in Birka in the year 936 (Adam of Bremen, Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, I, 62) and from this it was concluded that Birka had relations with the A. (Dreijer, 1979), even if this theory has not been accepted by all. However, the shortage of pagan tombs may have been determined by the spread of Christianity. Furthermore, based on the research on toponyms, a theory has been proposed according to which, in the region, the population would have disappeared completely for a long period. The limestone cross has also been interpreted as a commemorative plaque from the times of the first missions, but this does not necessarily imply that Birka had relations with the Aaland. The period between 1000 and 1300 has not been sufficiently examined and written sources are lacking in this regard. There are different opinions on the structure of the primitive Christian community of the A. and on its political position; many elements suggest that it was legally independent: in fact there were eleven medieval churches in the region, the dating of which is however uncertain. Among those still surviving, most follow the same typology and this reinforces the opinion of early independence in the ecclesiastical organization. Later, in the century. 14th, the A. passed to the diocese of Aabo. Terminus ante quem of an intense period of building activity is a source of 1335, which reports the ordinance according to which “the tax that was previously prepared for construction […] in the future [… including those of Vaardö and Kumlinge in the surrounding islands; in the same period a Franciscan convent was founded in Kökar.
Just as the date of construction of the churches is uncertain, so is that of Kastelholm Castle, which was partially destroyed. It is first mentioned in documents from 1388, but the characteristics of its murals show that construction began in the 13th century. 13 °, only the A. have murals in the churches. A master from southern Scandinavia worked in the churches of Jomala and Lemland, where he painted Gothic-style paintings depicting the Prodigal Son and Stories of St. Nicola and s. Catherine in still Romanesque style frames. The paintings in the Sund church are more recent and show the typical style of the island of Gotland. The stagnation in the production of mural painting in the century. 14th followed a new period of flowering in the century. 15th, which culminated in the decorations of the church of Finström, where various masters worked from 1420 to 1470, and later in the church of Kumlinge, whose walls show a single iconographic program with scenes from the Childhood of Christ and the Passion, while the vaults are adorned with figures of saints. On the vaults of the church of Finström the primitive decoration is visible which is similar to that typical of southern Finland; the Kumlinge master is from a foreign school. The earliest example of medieval wood carving in Finland is a head dating back, according to the radioactive carbon test, to around 1150; the other sculptures remaining in the A. were mostly imported. The most important sculptures date back to the century. 13th and the oldest come from southern Scandinavia and the island of Gotland. During the sec. 15 ° there is a noticeable influence from northern Germany and even imports from the Mälar area. Medieval sculpture is rare in Finland, apart from numerous baptismal fonts as early as the 13th century. The only stone sculpture fragments of the A. come from the church of Jomala: a man’s head between the jaws of a lion, difficult to date, and a face similar to the previous one in limestone, inserted later in the main facade of the tower. Despite its uncertain date, it is thought that the church of Jomala, dedicated to St. Olaf, is the oldest of the archipelago. The only stone sculpture fragments of the A. come from the church of Jomala: a man’s head between the jaws of a lion, difficult to date, and a face similar to the previous one in limestone, inserted later in the main facade of the tower. Despite its uncertain date, it is thought that the church of Jomala, dedicated to St. Olaf, is the oldest of the archipelago. The only stone sculpture fragments of the A. come from the church of Jomala: a man’s head between the jaws of a lion, difficult to date, and a face similar to the previous one in limestone, inserted later in the main facade of the tower. Despite its uncertain date, it is thought that the church of Jomala, dedicated to St. Olaf, is the oldest of the archipelago.