A brief history of the sauna

Whilst there is no documentary evidence of how the first sauna came to be, and ground pit saunas were evidently used during the Stone Age, it is widely believed that the modern-day sauna was a routine part of Finnish culture before any other country in the western world.

Until the middle of the 20th century, Finnish children were born in saunas, women went through pre-marriage purification rituals in a sauna and old people often dragged themselves to a sauna to pass away. 

From practical beginnings as the warmest part of every Finn’s home and having long been an integral part of everyday life in Finland, dating back many millennia, today, with more than 3 million in a country of 5½ million inhabitants, the importance of saunas to Finnish culture cannot be over-estimated. Saunas are to the Finns what cups of tea are to the English and Thanksgiving is to the Americans, and have evolved into a place for socialising and relaxation.

An integral part of the lives of the majority of the population today, in 2020, Finland's sauna culture was inscribed on UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Featuring a selection of beautifully executed public and private saunas, Löyly was the first new-style sauna complex to open in Helsinki which skillfully combined opportunities to relax, socialise and sauna in one carefully considered, architecturally striking building. 

Named after the steam which emanates after a ladleful of water hits the heated rocks in a sauna, and perched in a prime position on the city’s waterfront close to the centre of Helsinki, Löyly is both centrally located yet inextricably connected to Finland’s natural landscape. Open year round, Löyly’s facilities were thoughtfully designed to make the most of the breathtaking Baltic views. 

Since Löyly opened in May 2016, it has won countless awards and become a quintessential part of life in Helsinki for both locals and visitors alike.