Helsinki

History & Info

Helsinki was established as a trading town by King Gustav I of Sweden in 1550 as the town of Helsingfors, which he intended to be a rival to the Hanseatic city of Reval (today known as Tallinn). Little came of the plans as Helsinki remained a tiny town plagued by poverty, wars, and diseases. The plague of 1710 killed the greater part of the inhabitants of Helsinki.[18] The construction of the naval fortress Sveaborg (In Finnish Viapori, today also Suomenlinna) in the 18th century helped improve Helsinki's status, but it was not until Russia defeated Sweden in the Finnish War and annexed Finland as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland in 1809 that the town began to develop into a substantial city. During the war, Russians besieged the Sveaborg fortress and about one quarter of the town was destroyed in an 1808 fire.

Czar Alexander I of Russia moved the Finnish capital from Turku to Helsinki in 1812 to reduce Swedish influence in Finland and bring the capital closer to St. Petersburg. Following the Great Fire of Turku in 1827, The Royal Academy of Turku, at the time the country's only university, was also relocated to Helsinki, and eventually became the modern University of Helsinki. The move consolidated the city's new role and helped set it on the path of continuous growth. This transformation is highly apparent in the downtown core, which was rebuilt in neoclassical style to resemble St. Petersburg, mostly to a plan by the German-born architect C.L. Engel. As elsewhere, technological advancements such as railroads and industrialization were key factors behind the city's growth.

Top 10 places to visit

1. Helsinki Senate Square

Helsinki Senate SquareSenate Square is the city's centre for arts, culture, religion, politics and education. It exhibits snow sculptures and art displays as well as playing host to several festivals and concerts. Bounded by four majestic buildings - Helsinki Cathedral, the University of Helsinki, the National Library of Finland and Government Palace, Senate Square is highlighted by its neoclassical architecture. In the middle of the square is the statue of Tsar Alexander II of Russia. Tourists flock around this attraction for a remarkably authentic take on Helsinki.

2. Market Square

Market SquareTo experience the seaside community with a bustling mix of food, souvenirs and fresh produce head to Market Square, located just off Senate Square. Along the city bay, the busy street and stalls provide a festive atmosphere, stretching rows of tents selling fur, clothing, jewellery, paintings, fruit and the yearly October highlight; the Helsinki Herring Festival. The famous Market Square is only steps away from the Esplanadi Park, where ferryboats are parked en-route to other islands.

3. Aleksanterinkatu

AleksanterinkatuLike NYC's Time Square or Singapore's Orchard Road, Aleksanterinkatu is the central commercial street of Helsinki. Shops, cafes, restaurants and the Stockmann department store are all present in one convenient location. This is one attraction tourists should not miss out on when visiting Helsinki. A stone's throw away from Senate Square, it has access to the University of Helsinki, the Ritarihuone, Helsinki Cathedral and the Nordea Bank.

4. Linnanmaki

LinnanmakiAs one of Finland's most popular theme parks, this amusement park offers many exciting rides like roller coasters, a Ferris wheel, octopus spinner, pendulum rides, river rafting, bumper cars, water rides and more. Ticket prices are based on height, with taller people having more options to select the number of rides. Other attractions include a Glass Maze, Motion Cinema and Fun House.

5. Suomenlinna

SuomenlinnaSuomenlinna is a sea fortress recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It is popular among tourists and locals for picnics, sightseeing and enjoying the parks and the sea. Guests have many activities to choose from like walking tours, museums, handicraft shops, cafes, restaurants, a library and a beer garden. Suomenlinna is open all year round and can be reached by a regular ferry through Helsinki City Transportation system, or by waterbuses from the pier at Market Square.As one of Finland's most popular theme parks, this amusement park offers many exciting rides like roller coasters, a Ferris wheel, octopus spinner, pendulum rides, river rafting, bumper cars, water rides and more. Ticket prices are based on height, with taller people having more options to select the number of rides. Other attractions include a Glass Maze, Motion Cinema and Fun House.

6. Temppeliaukio Church

Temppeliaukio ChurchKnown for being the church built into solid rock, Temppeliaukio Church is certainly one of a kind. Natural light pours in from the church's glazed dome; the rough stoned interiors amplify each echo the choir makes. Visited by about half million curious tourists each year, it is a glorious interpretation of strong faith at one with nature. Located in the district of Toolo, this interesting Lutheran church is also a concert venue because of its raw sound quality acoustics.

7. Hietaniemi Beach

Hietaniemi BeachKnown for its sandy beach, the one at Hietaniemi is very popular with tourists and locals alike because of its close proximity to the city. Visitors can relax on warm days playing volleyball, having picnics, sunbathing or swimming.

8. Finnish National Museum of Art (Ateneum)

 Finnish National Museum of Art (Ateneum)On the south side of Helsinki's Station Square is the National Museum of Art, usually known as the Ateneum after the name of the impressive Neoclassical building it occupies. The same building also houses the famed Finnish Academy of Art. Designed by Theodor Höijer and completed in 1887, the Ateneum holds Finland's finest art collection of historic works as well as contemporary art in a gallery of its own.

9. Seurasaari

 SeurasaariEast of the city center is the island of Seurasaari (Swedish: Fölisö), which is linked with the mainland by a footbridge. It has an interesting open-air museum with old peasant houses, a church from Kiruna (1686), and other timber buildings. This is the place to learn how Finns lived long ago, before the modern era. Nearby, at Meilahti 7, is an old timber house now occupied by the Friends of Finnish Handicrafts, with an exhibition of rye carpets and other traditional textiles. Visitors can watch the weavers at work.

10. Helsinki Olympic Stadium

Helsinki Olympic StadiumTo the north of the Finlandia Hall, at the top of the Töölönlahti lake is the old Trade Fair Hall, and beyond this the Olympic Stadium (1938), with a 72-meter-high tower from which there is a magnificent view of the city - and an elevator. Finland was awarded the Olympics prior to the advent of World War II and the Soviet invasion of the country.

Weather & YLE News

News

Webcams

Lasipalatsi:
Ir a la cámara web Helsinki: Lasipalatsi en Europa / Finlandia / Helsinki
Ruohalahti:
Actual
Port of Helsinki:
Ir a la cámara web Helsinki: Port of − Cruise ships web cam en Europa / Finlandia / Helsinki

Video

Usefull links & Tips

Links:

Tips

  • Form Helsinki there are easy and cheap ways to visit also: Tallin, Stockholm and ST Petersburg
  • If you like ART remember that you can find Chillidas monuments in Helsinki area
  • If you dont want to spend much money but still you dont want just JUNK-food, here is a list of restaurant of my recommendation: Fafa's, Vespa, Zetor, Patrona, Pjazza