Capital of Finland

Helsinki is the Capital of Finland and its largest city. It is located on the Baltic Sea on the shores of the Gulf of Finland. It was founded in 1550 by decree of King Gustav I of Sweden. The name “Helsingfors” was the original name of the city and it’s still used as its official name.

The Cathedral of Helsinki Finland is a marvel of architecture

The Cathedral of Helsinki Finland is a marvel of architecture

Built on more than 300 islands

It has been the capital of the country since Finland became the autonomous Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire in 1812. Finland became fully independent in 1917 and since then Helsinki has developed to be very important European capital.

The city is built on more than 300 islands interconnected by bridges and today it stretches along the whole Gulf of Finland, its islets and peninsulas.

It is an amazing view for the tourist and brings travelers from all over the world. The city prides itself with eight universities and six technology parks.

Helsinki is one of the coldest cities of the world. It has a span of 50 consecutive days a year with no sunlight at all. The temperatures are below zero degrees C during almost half of the year. The northernmost of European Capitals is inhabited by around 1.3 million people.

Unless you come here on business or skiing, many visitors coming as regular tourists do that during the months of May to September.

In the summer the days are longer and during the peak of summer the sun never sets on the horizon. That said, Helsinki is a great place to visit and enjoy its many attractions.

Capital of Finland

The Old Fortress of Suomenlinna on an island offshore of Helsinki

The Old Fortress of Suomenlinna on an island offshore of Helsinki

Attractions of the Capital of Finland

• The old Fortress of Suomenlinna is located on an island just 10 minutes by boat from the harbor. It was built to defend Finland from foreign invaders. Today is a great place to spend the day and have some family picnics.

People come here for the market stalls with art, fruits and more. It also has a museum and old cannon and old submarines. UNESCO has included this site in the World Heritage List.

• Helsinki Senate Square or Senaatintori is located on the center of Helsinki and consists of the Palace of the Council of State, the University and the Helsinki Cathedral.

As a symbol of Finland’s former relationship with Russia, a statue of Emperor Alexander II stands at the center of the square. This is one of the main tourist attractions of the capital.

• Parliament House called Eduskuntatalo, is an example of Neoclassicism and Twentieth Century modernism. The exterior consists of fourteen Corinthian columns and the front is covered by Kalvola Granite.

It is a masterpiece of architecture, art and science. Here you may visit the beautiful lobby, the Session Hall and the breathtaking Hall of State. There are guided tours available.

• Temppeliaukio Kirkko, also known as Rock Church was designed by bothers architects Timo and Tuomo Soumalainen and completed in 1969.

It is built fully underground and the ceiling is made of copper wire. It is one of the important sights in Helsinki. It is known for hosting classical concerts and other events.

Senate Square in the center of Helsinki in December

Senate Square in the center of Helsinki in December

• Esplanadi Park was planned by the great architect Carl Luwig and is a favorite with locals and tourists alike.

It is well preserved to maintain its old style and magnificent monuments. It is an important attraction of the capital of Finland.

• Hakaniemi Market Square, a district of Helsinki has many markets consistent mainly of Asian products and Oriental food.

It is a working class neighborhood and you may go there to find inexpensive food and local crafts. It features the Baltic Herring Festival in the month of October and the vintage American Cars exhibition in May.

Esplanadi Park features many monuments

Esplanadi Park features many monuments

Attractions of the Capital of Finland

• Helsinki Cathedral called Helsingin Tuoiokirkko, located in the center of Helsinki is an example of marvelous architecture.

Designed also by Carl Ludwig in neoclassical style, the church has a tall green dome surrounded by four small ones. It is open for worship or just visiting as a tourist. It is visited by thousands of people a year.

• National Museum of Finland or Suomen Kansallismuseo shows Finish life since the Prehistoric Periods to this day. The construction started in 1905 and was inaugurated in 1916.

The museum gas designed by Herman Gesellius, Armas Lindgren, and Eliel Saarinen. The Treasure features a collection of coins, medals, orders, silver artifacts, jewelry and weapons.

Finland Museum

The Finland Museum in Helsinki

Other sites in the Capital of Finland

• Helsinki University Library (Yliopiston Kirjasto) is Finland’s largest library. It opened during the 1990s. It is well computerized and offers printed books as well as e-books and electronic journals.

All Finish, aged more than 15 years, may borrow books from the library.

• The Railway Station which was recently renamed Rautatieasema is one of the most popular landmarks in Helsinki. It is an attraction besides being a busy railway station and the main point for public transportation.

The busiest station of the Helsinki Metro is known as Rautatientori metro station and is the main hub for commuters in such a busy city.

For more information visit the Helsinki Tourist Website

railway station helsinki

The Main Railway Station is the hub for public transportation

• Vuosaari Paddling Center offers kayaking services during summers. The tour is called Helsinki by kayak and operates during June, July and August. It is a great way to explore the city built on islands.

Helsinki the Capital of Finland is a jewel in the Baltics that everybody wants to visit at least once. May Top Cruise Lines stop in Helsinki as part of their itinerary. It is very close to St Petersburg, Russia and Tallin the capital of Estonia.

Image Credits:
cathedral by hans poldoja
railway n/a
suomenlinna by anneli salo
senate square by jovik
esplanadi park by neofelis nebulosa
national museum by thermos

All courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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