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Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Helsinki

Helsinki (Swedish Helsingfors) is capital of Finland and chief town of the province of Uusimaa (Nyland). The city offers a variety of cultural opportunities such as the National Museum of Finland, the Helsinki City Museum, the Finnish Art Gallery featuring classical to modern art exhibits and three major theatres. Around the city itself (which in 1940 had a population of some 300,000) there grew up from 1950 onwards various suburbs, most of them outside the city limits in the province of Uusimaa. This gave rise to administrative problems, which were resolved in the early 1960s by the establishment of the towns of Espoo/Esbo to the west and Vantaa/Vanda to the northeast - independent administrative units without established centers which at once joined the select group of Finland's five largest towns. The only relics of the past in these towns are a few old churches and pastors' houses in gray stone.

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City Center

Uspensky CathedralUspensky Cathedral View slideshow

Northern and Western Districts

Temppeliaukio (Rock Church)Temppeliaukio (Rock Church) View slideshow

Helsinki Olympic Stadium

A tower at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki.
To the north of Helsinki, at the junction of Helsinginkatu with Mannerheimintie, is the old Trade Fair Hall, and beyond this the Olympic Stadium (1938), with a 72m/235ft high tower (elevator) from which there is a magnificent view of the city. In the Stadium can be found the Finnish Sport Museum, and in front of the entrance is a statue (by W. Aaltonen, 1952) of the great runner Paavo Nurmi (1897-1973). To the east of the Stadium is the Swimming Stadium and to the north, the Ice Stadium. Beyond the lawn in front of the Swimming Stadium lies the Municipal Park, a sea of blossom in summer.
Address: Olympiastadion, SF-00250 Helsinki, Finland

Linnanmäki Amusement Park

To the east of Olympic Stadium in Helsinki, beyond the railroad line, is the Linnanmäki amusement park, with a water tower, a switchback and a giant wheel which, along with the nearby Television Tower, form a striking group on Helsinki's skyline.
The park opened in 1950 and has continually renovated and improved the rides, shows, shops, and restaurants.
Address: Tivolikuja 1, Finland

House of Culture

In the north and west districts of Helsinki is the House of Culture, designed by Alvar Aalto, with acoustics which are among the best in Europe. Behind extends a small park, perhaps the only Lenin Park in Western Europe.
Address: Sturenkatu 4, SF-00510 Helsinki, Finland

Lastenlinna

At about the level of Helsinki's Olympic Stadium, Linnankoskenkatu branches off Mannerheimintie on the left. At the far end of this street, on the right, is Lastenlinna (the "Children's Castle"), a home and training center for handicapped children (Mannerheim Children's Hospital).

Sibelius Memorial

The Sibelius Memorial in Helsinki.
From Lastemlinna in Helsinki, Merikannontie runs south past the Sibelius Park, in which is the Sibelius Memorial (by Eila Hiltunen, 1967), an eye-catching work of sculpture in steel. This at first aroused criticism for its radical departure from the conventional type of memorial, and by way of compromise the sculptor added a bust of the composer.

Sibelius Academy

At the junction of Arkadiankatu with Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu in Helsinki is the Sibelius Academy (Conservatoire). Nearby is the Zoological Museum.
As the only music university in Finland, Sibelius Academy provides higher education in the field of music and is committed to upholding Finland's musical culture and cultural heritage.
Address: Rautatiekatu 9, Box 86, SF-00251 Helsinki, Finland

Hietaniemenkatu

From Hietaniemi cemetary, Hietaniemenkatu returns towards the center of Helsinki. On the left is the Crematorium (by B. Liljeqvist, 1927), with a grove for ash-urns behind it. Hietaniemenkatu then runs into Mechelininkatu: turn left along this street and then right into Arkadiankatu. At the next intersection, on the left, is the Finnish Business School, in front of which can be seen a fountain, "Profit" (by A. Tukiainen, 1954); on the right is the Swedish Business School.

Hietaniemi Cemetery

Down the coast from Helsinki's Sibelius Memorial are the Rowing Stadium and the beautiful sandy beach of Hietaniemi. Beyond this lies Hietaniemi cemetery (a military cemetery as well as a civil one), on the highest point of which is a cross commemorating the fallen. Here too Marshal Mannerheim (1867-1951) is buried.
Near the entrance are the graves of the politicians Risto Ryti, Väinö Tanner, T. M. Kivimäki and E. Linkomies, who - as a condition of the 1944 armistice - were tried by a Finnish court for their political activities during the war and were given prison sentences.

Rock Church

The Rock Church in Helsinki.
Along Fredrikinkatu, to the left, is Helsinki's Rock Church (Taivallahdenkirkko | Temppeliaukio; by Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen, 1968-69), an underground church blasted out of the native granite. It has a shallow circular dome (13m/43ft high at its highest point) of copper sheeting and glass borne on concrete ribs. The church is also used as a concert hall.
Address: Lutherinkatu 3, SF-00100 Helsinki, Finland

Old Town

To the northeast of Helsinki lies the Vanhakaupunki (Old Town), the site on which Helsinki was founded in 1550. In Vanhakaupungintie, on the left, can be seen a stone slab marking the position of the first church and the first churchyard. Farther along, on the right, is a granite wall with a portrait of Gustavus Vasa. On the ground is a slab inscribed with a plan of the original town. On the highest point stands a triangular pillar topped by a sphere (by B. Brunila, 1932).

Southern Districts

Mannerheim StatueMannerheim Statue View slideshow

German Church (Observatory)

The Observatory in Helsinki.
To the south of Helsinki's Market Square, at the end of Unioninkatu, is the German Church. Beyond it, on Observatory Hill (38m/125ft), is the Observatory (by C. L. Engel, 1833). On a terrace on the east side of the hill is a sculpture by Robert Stigell, "The Shipwrecked Mariners" (1897).

St John's Church

To the west of Observatory Hill in Helsinki is the neo-Gothic St John's Church (1893), with twin spires 74m/243ft high. Between the hill and the church are Kasarmikatu (Barracks Street) and Kasarmitori (Barracks Square), in which are the headquarters of the Finnish armed forces, in a building designed by Engel in neo-antique style.

Agricola Church

Southwest of St John's Church in Helsinki stands the brick Mikael Agricola Church (1934). From here it is only a few hundred yards to the quay from which there is a ferry to the island of Pihlajasaari (swimming). Near here can be seen a concrete monument with an eternal flame, commemorating seamen lost at sea.

Mannerheim Museum

Off Ehrenströmintie, which runs round the coast to the south of Helsinki, is Kalliolinnantie, in which (No. 14) is a house once occupied by Marshal Mannerheim, now a Mannerheim Museum. Beyond this is the beautiful Kaivopuisto (Brunnsparken; "Park of the Spring").
The home is set out as it was in the 1940s with the interior decorating and furnishings from that period.
Address: Kalliolinnantie 14, SF-00140 Helsinki, Finland

Other Museums

Finnish Aviation MuseumFinnish Aviation Museum Sini Merikallio
There are many museums in Helsinki.
The Helsinki City Museum is housed in a building that was completed in 1913. The history of the city over a 450-year period includes the Swedish era, the Russian era and the era of independence. Artefacts, pictures and archaeological digs are also on display.
The Finnish Aviation Museum, located at the terminal of Vantaa airport, traces the history of aviation in Finland. It has an extensive collection of Finnish designs and foreign aircraft built under license.
The Sports Museum of Finland presents physical training and Finnish sports through 30,000 exhibits. There are photo archives covering the history of sports in Finland from the 1870s onwards.
This Military Museum in Helsinki is the former First Uusimaa Rifle Battalion barracks and presents the military history of Finland.
The Museum of Art and Design in Helsinki traces the development of applied arts and industrial design in Finland.
The exhibitions at the Museum of Finnish Architecture display the photography archives and drawings from the collection of Finnish architecture.
The Museum of Foreign Art presents the old Flemish, Dutch, Italian and French paintings, Karelian and Russian icons and Swedish portraits.
The exhibitions present the metal engineering, forest, mining, chemical and printing industries, domestic and computer technology.
The Post Museum displays the history of Finland's postal system a 360 year period. There are multimedia presentations, postage stamps and special exhibitions.
The Finnish Museum of Photography's large collection of works includes Finnish photographs, negatives and recordings. The Museum also has a valuable collection of photography-related objects, including thousands of pieces of equipment, etc. It will be presenting its collection of works and items on the history of photography abroad, in special exhibitions.
Modern Finnish art collected by Amos Anderson, a wealthy Finn, are on display. The museum also has special exhibits of international art.

Events

Christmas MarketChristmas Market
A wide variety of festivals is available to visitors throughout the year.
The Helsinki Festival offers a wide range of performances including chamber music, visual arts, dance, theater, opera, jazz and rock concerts, etc.
Helsinki Sea Jazz is an annual weekend festival that takes place in mid-June.
Musicians from throughout the world come to perform in various venues including Koff Park and the Katajannokka engine factory. Various different types of jazz music are featured every year.
Helsinki Baltic Herring Fair is held annually in October.
This traditional event began in 1743.
Tours of Helsinki depart from Simonkatu 1 (near Central Station). The 3T tram, starting from the station, runs past some of the principal sights, with commentary in Swedish, English and German.
Helsinki Christmas Charity Market is in December.
Helsinki 10,000 Meter Street Race for women is run in May.
Helsinki Finnish Amateur Golf Open is in August.
Helsinki Snow Rally is in February.
Helsinki Skiexpo is in November.
In summer there are excursions from Helsinki to St Petersburg by boat or by bus.
Helsinki International Boat Show is in February.
Helsinki International Light Athletics competition is in June.
Helsinki International Horse Show is in October.
Helsinki International Trotting Races are held in August.
Helsinki Nordic Fashion Show is held in August.
Helsinki August City Marathon is held in August.
Utsjoki-Helsinki "Finland Runs" is in July.

Surroundings

Suomenlinna FortressSuomenlinna Fortress View slideshow

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