Helsinki, like almost all of Finland, living in perfect harmony with nature, take a boat to the islands, rent a bike and cycle along the bike paths to the beach, walks in one of the many parks, where summer and winter jogging trail, and discover this incredible city transformed after its accession to the European Union. In 2000 Helsinki celebrated its 450 th anniversary and at the same time it was awarded the prestigious title of European City of Culture, reflecting the cultural ferment that soul. At the Finnish capital, in fact, there is plenty of choice to attend one of the many shows held there every day, not counting the museums, the architecture that deftly mixes various styles, from neoclassical to Art Nouveau, to more modern forms, and the exciting nightlife that has nothing to envy to that of our metropolis.
Founded by King Gustav Vasa of Sweden in 1550 with the intent to compete with businesses that flourished in Tallinn on the Baltic Sea, Helsinki, long remained a gloomy village in the province. In 1748 Swedish planners decided to build a fortress, and it was during this period, thanks to the officers of the garrison who were the elite, the city began to develop at both culturally and economically. In 1809, with the defeat of Russia by Sweden, Finland was ceded to the latter, who immediately undertook the reconstruction work after the destructions produced by a fire just a year earlier, to take up the jobs were Johan Albrecht Ehrenström, local planner rigorous and methodical, and above all Carl Ludwig Engel, a German architect who had already proved his talent in St. Petersburg.
While not offering images of an ancient past, but neither a homogeneous architecture, Helsinki has some pearls of rare beauty. Usually the most interesting buildings are neoclassical, romantic national, so from the beginning of the twentieth century, or ultra-modern, or built after 1960, although the real charm of the city lies in its large green spaces and its archipelago. The main point of reference of the center is Senaatintori, the “Senate Square”, set in a stern and composed architectural framework designed by Engel. Note the slope, which makes Tuomiokirkko, the cathedral, even more impressive. The latter, a blinding white, majestic and in strict neoclassical style, rises from the top of a staircase, and radiates a profound aura of sacredness, the interior mirror strict Lutherans of the temples and the great central dome with a large drum with windows that from light to any environment. To the left of the Cathedral, both built in the more conventional neoclassical style, there are the university and the library, and to the right place is the palace of the government and the center stands a statue of Alexander II, the work of Runeberg, Jr., son of the famous Finnish national poet.
Another beautiful square in the center of Helsinki is Kauppatori, the “Market Square”, an harmonious alignment of neoclassical buildings, such as City Hall and the headquarters of the Presidency of the Republic, crowned by the presence of the popular market that, with stalls overflowing with fruit, vegetables and smoked fish, attracts both residents and tourists alike. On the eastern side of the square is rather old and picturesque covered market, built in 1888 by Gustav Nystrom brick red, white and yellow, where you can not help but buy all sorts of delicacies.
Among the attractions not to miss the island stands Katajanokka, on which is the Uspenskin katedraali, a beautiful cathedral testimony of Russian domination. This is a massive building of red brick, with roofs covered with green-gray spiers and golden domes that contrast beautifully with the whiteness of the Lutheran cathedral. Other churches to visit in the center are: Pyhan kolminaisuuden kirkko, the “church of the Holy Trinity”, situated not far from the square of the Senate and also the work of Engel, the Vanha kirkko, the “Old Church”, built in 1826 and surrounded by a small but pleasant park, and kirkko Temppeliaukio Church, “church carved into the rock,” a circular building with a partially carved into the rock that forms the basis of the structure.
As mentioned previously, the cultural depth of Helsinki is the foreground. First we visit the Ateneum, a wonderful museum on a human scale that shows works of art from the eighteenth century and until 1960, but also the Kiasma, a contemporary art museum housed in a sparkling designed by Steven Holl, is a must see in great detail. Other two versions do not miss the Amos Andersonin Taidemuseo and Suomen kansallismuseo. The first, one of the largest private museum in Finland, was opened in 1965 in the apartments of Amos Anderson, a great entrepreneur of the printing industry, and presents valuable collections including those of Sigurd Frosterus, architect, and Birger Carlstedt painter. The Suomen kansallismuseo, however, is the National Museum of Finland and, in addition to telling the story of the country through rich historical and ethnographic sections, attracts architecture fans because of the beauty of the building designed by Saarinen, Lindgren and Gesellius within the which it is housed. Also for lovers of architecture, the advice is to not miss the opportunity to admire the house and the study of Alvar Aalto, Finnish cultural leader around the 30s of the twentieth century, situated north-west of the center.
Helsinki has nearly 100 kilometers of coastline, including those relying on 315 islands and islets. Some of these have become beautiful resorts, while others have attractions that are worth visiting. On the island of Helsinki (UNESCO Heritage), for example, is the namesake open-air museum, a large park where you can admire the traditional wood construction in Finland, while on a small archipelago of six islands is the fortress Suomenlinna sea, an ideal destination for pleasant walks immersed in a sea landscape, both during the summer to sunbathe on one of the beaches that surround it, both in winter to soak in the silence of the frozen expanse. Interesting is also Korkeasaari, one of the few zoos in the world settled on an island, which houses the felines of the Great North, as Siberian tigers and snow leopards, as well as a wild and picturesque.
In restaurants (Ravintola) cuisine is international, enlivened by some local delicacies, especially fish (salmon), which abounds in sixty-two thousand lakes in the country. Perhaps the most typical dish is “kalakukko,” a timbale of rye flour stuffed with fish and pork and baked. There are also excellent “Karjalan piirikat” boats of rye flour filled with rice or mashed potato on which you spread with butter and eggs. Ordinarily, Dine in milk or beer.
Great raspberry liqueur (lakka). In most restaurants you can dine while listening to music. The theatrical life ~ intense (15 are theaters, plus five outdoor summer), a large space is devoted to classical music (it is the home of Sibelius). Remember to buy the “Helsinki Card” (valid for 2-3 days), which entitles you to travel on trams, buses and metro, free entry into 50 museums and a tour of the city an hour and a half. To purchase a particular eye to ceramics and glassware Arabia (one of the biggest factories in the world), the hand-woven fabrics (ryijy blankets), jewelery made of bronze, silver and gold, the slippers in suede, stitched coat, fur and fishing articles.
As for festivals and events that are repeated every year in Helsinki, one of the most original mind: the Valtakunnaliset Juhannusjuhlat, the national festival of San Giovanni, which is celebrated on the night of Friday prior to June 25 with fireworks and outdoor performances, the Helsingin Juhlaviikot, the Helsinki Festival, whose program includes exhibitions, concerts, plays and dance performances held in late August, the Silakkamarkkinat, the “festival of Baltic herring,” which is held in the first 15 days of October in Market Square, and the Lucy-kulkue, the “procession of Saint Lucia”, celebrated on December 13 starting from the Senate Square.
Due to the mitigating of the Baltic Sea and the Gulf Stream, the climate of Helsinki is humid continental, with cold winters, always below freezing, and summers are pleasant, though rather short. The coldest month is January, when average temperatures ranging between -2 and -7 degrees, but from December to March the days are hard and the snow falls even abundant, accumulating on the ground for several months. From June to August the weather is altogether pleasant, with highs often exceeding 20 degrees and minimum do not drop almost never below 10, to cause some trouble is that the rains are frequent especially between July and November.
The international airport, served by a number of other low-cost airlines, is located 20 kilometers from the town center in Vantaa, while the smaller airport allows Malmi solely domestic travel. The port is easily accessible by ferry from all major cities facing the Baltic Sea, Tallinn and Stockholm all, but will also embark on short cruises to the islands surrounding the city. From the train station has daily trains to all major centers of the country, not counting trains to Moscow and St. Petersburg. The city movements are fast and comfortable thanks to the subway, which opened in 1982, trams and buses, which allow you to reach some small towns in the metropolitan area including the capital.
Originally posted 2012-08-09 17:26:27.