Helsinki – One

Helsinki is the capital city of Finland and the heart of the country’s economy, politics and culture. Its gorgeous architecture reflects its historical past while its people continue to build a promising future.

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1 Close Up of Helsinki Cathedral Dome in Helsinki, Finland

This view of the Helsinki Cathedral provides a closer look at the beautiful central dome that rises 262 feet and is supported by Corinthian pillars. The original neo-classical design was by German architect Carl Ludvig Engel. He also created the Senate Square in front of the church. His successor, Ernst Bernhard Lohrmann, added the four smaller domes. Look closer and you will see several 10 foot statues along the roofline. These are a few of the twelve Apostles sculpted by Hermann Schievelbein and August Wredow. Most noteworthy is that they are the world’s largest collection of zinc sculptures.

Unioninkatu 29, 00170 Helsinki, Finland
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2 Market Square and City Hall in Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki’s Market Square buzzes with activity. Some merchants sell their food and crafts under outdoor tents while others are housed inside market halls. Several sightseeing boats also load up their passengers at Kauppatori for a short day or dinner cruise through the South Harbor and into the Baltic. The white building across North Esplanade street is the City Hall and peeking over the top is the copper dome of the Helsinki Cathedral.

Eteläranta 18, 00101 Helsinki, Finland
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3 Moored Wooden Sailing Ship in Helsinki, Finland

Approximately 400,000 passengers arrive in Helsinki each year on about 300 cruise ships for a day of sightseeing. But moored between the Katajanokka cruise port and the Market Square is this wonderful alternative for seeing the Baltic. This 98 foot wooden sailing ship is the m/aux Svanhild. She was built in 1948 to haul timber and then refurbished in 1972 to entertain guests. She is available as a unique venue for a special event for up to 50 persons. Or as many as 20 people can charter her for a several day adventure.

Katajanokanlaituri 2a, 00160 Helsinki, Finland
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4 Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland

In 1820, this building at Market Square began as merchant’s house. In 1837, it became the governor’s home and then the Imperial Palace of Helsinki. After a major renovation converted it into this Neoclassical appearance, it was used occasionally by Russian tsars and their families from 1854 through 1915. During WWI, it was a hospital, military headquarters and a ministry office. Once Finland declared its independence, the Presidentinlinna became an official residence for the President of Finland.

Mariankatu 2, 00170 Helsinki, Finland
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5 Central Railway Station Entry in Helsinki, Finland

The Helsinki Central Railway Station was built in 1919 in the heart of the Vironniemi District which is considered to be the city’s commercial center. Its 19 platforms are the hub for trains, commuter rails and the Rautatientori Metro. Approximately 200,000 passengers daily walk through the front door of Helsinki C.

Helsingin päärautatieasema Kaivokatu 1, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
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6 Clock Tower of the Central Railway Station in Helsinki, Finland

If you enjoy architecture, you soon sense something special about Helsinki. About 600 of their buildings were constructed during the late 19th century and early 20th century in a form of Art Nouveau named Jugend. It evolved into a unique Finish style called National Romantic. Most of these structures were built with massive blocks of Finish granite. This gorgeous clock tower at the east entry to the Helsinki Central Railway Station was part of this trend. Eliel Saarinen, the architect, originally proposed a National Romantic design. When he was forced to change, he created a new direction with stunning results. This style is now known as the Late-Jugend period.

Helsingin päärautatieasema Kaivokatu 1, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
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7 University of Helsinki Main Building in Helsinki, Finland

The Royal Academy of Turku was established in 1640. When it moved to Helsinki in 1827, it became the Imperial Alexander University of Finland. Five years later they moved into this newly constructed, neoclassical building. The University of Helsinki Main Building was destroyed during air raids in 1944 and refurbished in 1948. Directly opposite it on the east side of Senate Square is an almost identical structure. It was called the Senaatintalo when it opened in 1822 to house the Senate. Today, the Government Palace is the office for the Prime Minister and Ministry of Finance.

Unioninkatu 34 00101 Helsinki, Finland
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8 Töölönlahti Bay in Helsinki, Finland

Hesperia Park is part of a large public greenspace that surrounds Töölönlahti Bay. Since the mid-1980s, it has provided walking and bicycle paths that encircles the shoreline. On the other side of the bay you can see a 105 foot Ferris wheel named Rinkeli. It is one of the 45 rides featured at the Linnanmäki amusement park which opened in 1950.

Hesperiaparken Mannerheimintie 15, 00101 Helsinki, Finland
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9 Stockmann Department Store in Helsinki, Finland

There are approximately 1.4 million people in the metropolitan area of Helsinki yet the Stockmann department store claims to have 17 million customers. That may begin to explain its importance not only in Finland but also in the neighboring Nordic countries. This store, which was built in the Kluuvi neighborhood in 1930, has over a half million square feet of retail space and it is filled with many of the premiere brands. In short, if you can’t find what you are looking for at Stockmann, then you probably don’t need it.

Aleksanterinkatu 52, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
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10 St. Peter’s Catch Relief in Helsinki, Finland

This bas-relief portrays the story from the New Testament of Luke, chapter 5:1-11. After Jesus preaches to a group of empty-handed fishermen, he instructs Simon to recast the nets. When he does, their catch is so plentiful that their boat almost sinks. After this miracle, Peter, James and John became his first disciples. The Pietarin Kalansaalis was created by Carl Wilhelms in 1951 and is displayed on the wall of Meritullin Seurakuntatalo or the parish house of Meritulli. It appropriately faces the harbor.

Meritullinkatu 2 00170 Helsinki, Finland
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11 Old Market Hall in Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki has several vendors around the Market Square at the end of the South Harbor, but the most charming and oldest is Gamla Saluhallen. The distinctive building with red brick and white trim opened in 1889 and then reopened in 2014 after an extensive renovation. Inside of the Old Market Hall you will find food stalls, restaurants and cafes.

Eteläranta, 00130 Helsinki, Finland
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12 Homes Along North Beach in Helsinki, Finland

These magnificent buildings on North Beach in the Kruununhaka neighborhood have a commanding view of the North Harbor. From left to right they are: The Standertskjöld house (1885) and the Bäck’s house (1882). Both were designed by Theodor Höijer. He was a prominent Finnish architect who favored the neo-renaissance style. The next several homes, all built from 1885 through 1929 by different architects, have a classicism, art nouveau or neo-renaissance design.

Halkolaituri 00170 Helsinki, Finland
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13 National Museum of Finland in Helsinki, Finland

The impressive tower and granite façade of the National Museum of Finland gives it the appearance of a castle from the Middle Ages. This national romanticism design by three architects – Herman Gesellius, Armas Lindgren and Eliel Saarinen – is perfect for what you will find inside. This museum has exhibits that trace Finland’s history from the pre-historic ages until modern times. It opened in the Töölö neighborhood in 1916.

Mannerheimintie 34, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
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14 Museum of Natural History in Helsinki, Finland

It is not every day you see two giraffes hanging off a balcony and a giant moose hiding behind the hedges. They welcome you to the former Zoological Museum which, after this building was renovated in 2007, became the Museum of Natural History. It includes millions of insect, zoological, geological and botanical specimens. When this building was constructed in 1913, it was a Russian gymnasium. Ten years later it was acquired by the University of Helsinki. They manage the museum and the research institute inside of the Naturhistoriska Museet.

Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu 13, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
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15 Mikael Agricola Church Tower in Helsinki, Finland

Mikael Agricolan Kirkko was built in 1935 and is located in the heavily populated neighborhood of Punavuori or the Red Mountain district. The most interesting feature of the Mikael Agricola Church is this 318 foot tower because the cooper spire, which is 98 feet tall, can be lowered into the base. The church’s design by Lars Sonck is called functionalism. This architectural style was developed in Finland during the 1920s and became popular in the Nordic countries during the 1930s. The concept is based on simplicity of form.

Tehtaankatu 23, 00150 Helsinki, Finland
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16 Kiasma Museum in Helsinki, Finland

Eight years after the Finnish National Gallery was established in 1990, they moved their collection of contemporary art into this building that became known as the Kiasma Museum. The name is derived from the architect, Steven Holl. He called his design “Chiasma.” The Museum of Contemporary Art has about 8,500 works that were primarily created by Finnish artists since 1960.

Mannerheiminaukio 2, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
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17 Carl Mannerheim Equestrian Statue in Helsinki, Finland

Baron Carl Mannerheim was Finland’s major military leader from 1918 through World War II when he then became the country’s president. He is credited with helping Finland secure their independence from Russia, established order during the subsequent civil war and protected his countrymen from a potential fall to the Soviet Union. As a result, he is often called the father of modern Finland. This 38 foot equestrian monument was sculpted in bronze by Aimo Tukainen and erected in 1960. It is located on Mannerheim Street which was named after this national hero.

Mannerheiminaukio 2, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
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18 Helsinki Music Center in Helsinki, Finland

Lovers of classical music will love the acoustics inside the Helsinki Music Center and passersby will love how its low profile, copper glass windows reflect the green space around it. Achieving this balance was difficult for architect Marko Kivistö because he did not want to compete against the various architectural styles in the Töölö neighborhood. His answer was to build most of the concert hall underground. Helsingin Musiikkitalo is the home of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra.

Musiikkitalo Töölönlahdenkatu, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
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19 House of Nobility in Helsinki, Finland

From the 12th century until their independence in 1917, Finland was the physical and political battlefield between Sweden and Russia. During this period, Finnish nobility evolved among wealthy landowners who received special privileges, tax relief and titles in exchange for supplying soldiers to the ruler’s cavalry. These noblemen, their families and heirs were registered in the Finnish House of Nobility. Since 1862, this Ritarihuone has been their assembly hall and offices. The neo-gothic building was designed by Georg Theodor Chiewitz.

Ritarikatu 1, 00170 Helsinki, Finland
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20 Hotel Kämp in Helsinki, Finland

Hotel Kämp is a Helsinki landmark that has been the epicenter for the social elite, business and political meetings and special occasions since 1887. It was immediately considered a premier property when its founder, Carl Kämp, insisted that architect Theodor Höijer incorporate special amenities like the country’s first elevator. It still has old world charms with five-star service. Sure, the room rates tend to be high. However, you will be delighted to find a rubber duck waiting for you in the tub.

Helsinki Pohjoisesplanadi 29, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
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21 Havis Amanda Fountain in Helsinki, Finland

This exquisite Havis Amanda fountain is the centerpiece between the Market Square to the east and the entrance to the Esplande Park to the west. The statue by Ville Wallgren portrays a mermaid standing on a pedestal of seaweed. Surrounding her on the red granite pool designed by Eliel Saarinen are four sea lions. Take note of the yellow Neoclassical building on the left because below the clock is a tourist information center. Pohjoisesplanadi 19 was designed by Pehr Granstedt in 1816.

Kauppatori, 00130 Helsinki, Finland
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22 Finnish Supreme Court in Helsinki, Finland

The Finnish Supreme Court was established in 1918 shortly after the country declared independence. It consists of a president and about 18 justices who decide on about 150 cases a year that need an interpretation of the law. The country’s highest court moved into this building next to the President’s Palace in 1933. The structure was constructed in 1799 and was significantly renovate in 2009.

Pohjoisesplanadi 3 00101 Helsinki, Finland
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23 Esplanade Park Promenade in Helsinki, Finland

These people are enjoying a warm spring day strolling along the tree-lined promenade inside Esplanade Park. The inner city greenspace was designed by Carl Ludvig Engel and opened in 1912. It is tucked between two avenues: Pohjoisesplanadi on the north and Eteläesplanadi on the south. During the summer months, “Espa” is a popular setting for concerts, special events, family picnics or just a walk in the park.

Esplanadi Pohjoisesplanadi, 00101 Helsinki, Finland
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24 Finnish National Theater in Helsinki, Finland

This National Romantic style building features a Finnish granite façade, cooper dome and flanking towers. When the theater was constructed in 1902, it gave a permanent home to a touring company of professional actors. The ensemble was established in 1872. Suomen Kansallisteatteri has been expanded a few times during its history. It now includes four stages, a studio and a night club.

Läntinen Teatterikuja 1, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
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25 Couple Sitting at Cholera Basin in Helsinki, Finland

This young couple is resting from their busy day of sightseeing by sitting along the Market Square quay. The calm water they are watching is part of Eteläsatama (South Harbor) and the Helsingfors Hamn (Port of Helsinki). But it also has a derogatory nickname: Cholera Basin. This stems from an incident in 1893 when a man aboard a ship died of cholera and his waste further polluted the harbor which was a dumping ground for sewage. Four of the buildings along Eteläranta are (right to left): White & Case Oy (law firm), Taivas (advertising agency), Old Market Hall and the Palace Hotel.

Kauppatori 00101 Helsinki, Finland
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