Elias Lönnrot, the compiler of the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala, gave the city the nickname "Athens of Finland". This nickname refers to the major role of Jyväskylä as an educational centre.
The works of the most famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto can be seen throughout the city. The city hosts the Neste Oil Rally Finland, which is part of the World Rally Championship. It is also home of the annual Jyväskylä Arts Festival.
As of 31 March 2016, Jyväskylä had a population of 137,392. The city has been one of the fastest growing cities in Finland during the 20th century. In 1940, there were only 8,000 inhabitants in Jyväskylä. The Jyväskylä sub-region includes Jyväskylä, Hankasalmi, Laukaa, Muurame, Petäjävesi, Toivakka, and Uurainen.