Helsinki is the capital and largest city of Finland. The city has over 650 thousand inhabitants, while the metropolitan area exceeds one million. Helsinki is located in the extreme south of Finland along the Baltic Sea coast. The city extends over some peninsulas and on islands overlooking the coast.
Helsinki was founded by the Swedes in 1550 under the name Helsingfors, but remained a small center of little importance for centuries. It was only in the 19th century, with the passage of Finland to Russia, that Helsinki gained importance, becoming the capital of the country in place of Turku. After the First World War, the city became the capital of independent Finland.
THE ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL CENTER OF FINLAND
The appearance of Helsinki is very modern, but in its historical center there are also neoclassical buildings. The most famous of which is the cathedral (Helsingin tuomiokirkko, Suurkirkko), which dominates the city skyline and has become one of its symbols. Art Nouveau is also present in Helsinki, especially in the Ullanlinna and Katajanokka districts and in the Central Station building.
Modern art and especially functionalism are well represented. Here the famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto has left several interesting buildings such as the Finland Hall (concert hall), the headquarters of the paper industry Stora Enso and the University Campus of Otaniemi with its auditorium.
Helsinki is Finland’s most prosperous and developed economic and cultural center. Most large Finnish companies and companies are based in Helsinki. The city has eight universities and numerous schools and polytechnics of great importance.
The city is home to some of the country’s most important museums. These include the National Museum of Finland, dedicated to the history of Finland, which has rooms ranging from prehistory to the modern era. Then there is the Finnish National Gallery with the Ateneum Museum dedicated to classical art and the Kiasma Museum dedicated to contemporary art.
To the delight of children, the city has one of Finland’s busiest amusement parks, Linnanmäki park. This park offers roller coasters, and various attractions including a large aquarium.
In 1991 UNESCO included the fortress of Suomenlinna as a world heritage site. An imposing fortress located on an islet off the coast of Helsinki. The fortress dates back to the 18th century and was built by the Swedes to protect Finland, then a Swedish possession, from the expansionist aims of the Russian Empire.