town, western Finland, northeast of the city of Vaasa. Pietarsaari, which was formerly mainly Swedish-speaking, was founded in 1652; it became an important commercial centre because of its location on the Gulf of Bothnia. The poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg (who wrote in Swedish but is Finland's national poet) was born there in 1804. Notable buildings include a 13th-century church, Malm House, which contains the municipal library and historical museum, and a wooden church built in 1731. Pietarsaari is a seaport and timber-export centre. Its industries include lumber and cellulose milling and the manufacture of lace, chicory, and machinery. Finland's oldest tobacco factory was founded there in 1762, and the town still maintains tobacco-processing facilities. Pietarsaari's outport, Leppaluoto (Swedish: Alholm), is 2.5 mi (4 km) to the north. Pop. (2000) 20,810.
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