I just recently realized that I have no blog post about Helsinki and what you can visit there at all! I mean I got Xi’an covered, Stockholm, Tallinn and also several North German cities but nothing about Helsinki, the city I lived for so many years. Thankfully I did not forget yet everything so I will give you a small impression on what you can visit there within a day. All pictures were shot few days before our wedding going around the city with my in-laws and also few days after the wedding taking some friends around.
First of all some info about the city. Helsinki is the capital city of Finland with a population of about 625 thousand. That might seem pretty small but you have to think that the entire nation only got a bit over 5 million inhabitants so it ain’t that bad suddenly anymore. Finland has been for many years under the rule of Sweden and later under the rule of the Russian Empire. Only after 1917 Finland got its independency. It was under the Russian rule that Helsinki became the capital city of Finland and in the city center are many neoclassical buildings. In fact it happens often that tv shows or movies are using the city center of Helsinki not in order to have Helsinki itself as the setting but St. Petersburg! But more about that you shall see in some pictures.
One main thing to visit in the city is the Helsinki Cathedral. It has been built from 1830-1852 and was known until the Finnish independency as St. Nicholas Church (Grand Duke of Finland, Tsar Nicholas the First of Russia). it is not an incredible big cathedral but it has a very interesting design and interior decorations. Standing in front of the cathedral you have a wonderful view towards the Senate Square and can even see a bit of the South harbour. Passing by the Senate Square is the street Aleksanterinkatu which is a shopping street where you can find pretty much everything, there is also Stockmann located, a big department store. The street is also very interesting as it is heated during winter time and thus there is no snow. A short distance away is Temppeliaukio Church which is famous for its design. It was built 1969 into solid rock and is known due to this fact also as the Rock Church. Due to its design and the rock walls it has excellent acoustics and is often used for small performances.
From the Helsinki harbour you can take a ferry to Suomenlinna, an old sea fortress which is also a UNESCO World heritage site. The island is inhabited by some 900 people and all around are the old remains of the fortress including huge cannons. It is also a very popular place to go for Finnish people to enjoy the rare summer days to have some BBQ and go swimming in the ocean. At Suomenlinna is also the last surviving Finnish submarine Vesikko. From the Helsinki harbour you can take also another ferry to the Helsinki Zoo Korkeasaari. The ferry used to be the only means of getting there however these days there is also a bridge leading to the zoo (only by walking though!). It is a small but nice zoo with animals from around the world. There is also an Africa and a South America House with small animals running partly freely around there.
All these places you can pretty much visit within a day. Of course there are also many other places you should visit as well. The best way to get a good look around is to take one of the sightseeing buses or taking Tram Line 2 and 3 as they go pretty much around all major sightseeing spots. As you might have seen I did not include much of the city center here such as the museums, the famous Railway Station, the city hall or the Parliament House. These are all places you can easily visit by walking around the city center as they are just minutes away from each other by walking. To my shame I must admit I do not have any pictures of them and thus didn’t include them now in this short tour.
Have you visited Helsinki already or plan to go there one day?
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