Sights to See in Helsinki
The Capital of Finland
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the word "capital" can mean "excellent" or "first-rate".
Yep! That undoubtedly is a word to describe Helsinki...which happens to be the capital of Finland.
Nice coincidence, eh?
Though only the capital of Finland since 1809, when the
Russians first took dominion of the city from Sweden, it was originally
founded in 1550. It's a movin' kinda place and has seen one improvement
after the next ever since.
Without a doubt, one of the great cities of the world, Helsinki is a
fascinating mixture of the historical and the ultra-modern. As with
many other Scandinavian cultures today, the city puts a strong emphasis
on high-tech. It gladly embraces the best that modern science has to
offer. At the same time, however, it retains a large number of the
outstanding historical buildings and sights that provide this unique
city with its own special ambiance.
The National Museum
provides an excellent overview of that mix which the Finns have
perfected. The Helsinki
Zoo shows how both the natural and the artificial can be
perfectly blended together in true Finlandian style. The Nuuksio National Park,
opened in 1994, shows how nature preservation can work hand in hand
with a thriving tourism industry to provide one of the finest and best
maintained, forested lake areas in the world.
The old and new theme is continued with many of Helsinki's other first
rate attractions as well.
The Suomenlinna Island fortresses
give the visitor a great view of Helsinki's past as a
military outpost for both Sweden
This series of interconnected islands today provides a peaceful picnic
area while giving visitors a delightful look at some of the battered
battlements of Finland's glorious military past.
Helsinki's present is superb, as well.
Both Market Square
and the Esplanade
give shoppers and diners everything they could wish for. Whether it's
fresh berries and coffee in the morning, or an outstanding dinner at
the world-class Kappeli,
you'll never walk away unsatisfied. Market Square has been
offering fresh fish for over 200 years and Kappeli has been serving the
finest cuisine and diners since 1837. But both are the favorites of the
most modern Finn or tourist.
Another view of Helsinki's 19th century roots can be seen in The
Lutheran Cathedral known locally as Tuomiokirkko.
This neo-classical building is a superlative example of the
architecture that makes Helsinki's Senate
Square one of the city's biggest attractions.
Another major religious building to be found in Helsinki, the Uspenski Cathedral,
provides a decidedly different, but equally praiseworthy, place to go
in Finland's capital. With its distinctive red-brick facade, this
onion-domed Orthodox church is a must-see when visiting the city.
Outside the city there are other attractions including the Nuuksio National Park.
The medieval village of Porvoo,
a 30-minute bus ride to the suburbs, will take you back in time to a
period before the city was even founded. This four-hour tour of small
houses and churches from the Middle Ages is one of the most popular
destinations in this northern metropolis.
However, you cannot leave Helsinki without spending at least a little
time walking around the Linnanmäki Amusement Park.
Though only a mere 57 years old, it provides plenty of
nostalgia for those who miss the good old days of bumper cars
(a popular European amusement) and wooden roller coasters.
Of course, in the "capital" city of Helsinki, the "good old days" is
something that can easily defy definition. They might just
still be around if you look a little bit!
Linnanmäki Amusement Park
Nukksio National Park
Porvoo - A Medieval City
The Island Fortresses of Suomenlinna
Tuomiokirkko (The Lutheran Cathedral)
Suomen Kansallismuseo (The National Museum)
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