Museums and Places
The first theatre in Helsinki, Engels Teater, was completed in 1827. The wooden building designed by architect Carl Ludvig Engel was located in the corner of Mikaelsgatan and Esplanaden. At the time the theatre was opened it had no permanent actors and many of the actors who performed in the theatre during that time were en route to Saint Petersburg. The theatre designed by Engel soon became too small as the interest in theatre grew rapidly among the citizens of Helsinki. The new theatre building was opened on 28 November 1860. The new building, which was designed by Georg Theodor von Chiewitz, was built on Skillnaden, on the same site as the current Svenska Teatern. The first play performed in the new theatre was Princessan av Cypern by Zacharias Topelius and Fredrik Pacius. The first actors of the theatre were from the group of Pierre Deland. The group performed in the theatre in 1860–1861. The language was initially Swedish, but Finnish language was soon launched on stage by the Swedish actress Hedvig Raa-Winterhjelm.
Completed in 1833, the building originally served as Hotel Seurahuone and was an important cultural facility hosting many premieres. The hotel was designed by Carl Ludvig Engel who also designed the major buildings around the nearby Senate Square. The city purchased the building in 1901 and, after the hotel moved out in 1913, renovated it as a city hall.
Uspenski Cathedral is an Eastern Orthodox cathedral in Helsinki, Finland, and main cathedral of the Orthodox Church of Finland, dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos (the Virgin Mary). Its name comes from the Old Church Slavonic word uspenie, which denotes the Dormition. Designed by the Russian architect Aleksey Gornostayev (1808–1862). The cathedral was built after his death in 1862–1868. The crypt chapel of the cathedral is named after the holy Alexander Hotovitzky, who served as vicar of the Orthodox parish of Helsinki 1914–1917. The Cathedral is set upon a hillside on the Katajanokka peninsula overlooking the city. On the back of the cathedral, there is a plaque commemorating Russian Emperor Alexander II, who was the sovereign of the Grand Duchy of Finland during the cathedral's construction. Main cathedral of the Finnish Orthodox Church in the diocese of Helsinki, Uspenski Cathedral is claimed to be the largest orthodox church in Western Europe. In 2006, about 516,500 tourists visited the church. Admission to the Cathedral is free of charge. In winter, the Cathedral is closed on Mondays.
The Senate Square presents Carl Ludvig Engel's architecture as a unique allegory of political, religious, scientific and commercial powers in the center of Helsinki, Finland. Senate Square and its surroundings make up the oldest part of central Helsinki. Landmarks and famous buildings surrounding the square are the Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace, main building of the University of Helsinki, and Sederholm House (Finnish: Sederholmin talo), the oldest building of central Helsinki dating from 1757.
Helsinki Cathedral is the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran cathedral of the Diocese of Helsinki, located in the neighborhood of Kruununhaka in the centre of Helsinki, Finland. The church was originally built from 1830-1852 as a tribute to the Grand Duke of Finland, Tsar Nicholas I of Russia. It was also known as St Nicholas' Church until the independence of Finland in 1917. It is a major landmark of the city.
The Market Square is a central square in Helsinki, Finland. It is located in central Helsinki, at the eastern end of Esplanadi and bordering the Baltic Sea to the south and Katajanokka to the east. HSL maintains a year-round ferry link from Market Square to Suomenlinna, and in the summer there are also private companies providing ferry cruises, both to Suomenlinna and to other nearby islands. The Presidential Palace and Helsinki City Hall are located adjacent to Market Square. From spring to autumn, the Market Square is bustling with activity with vendors selling fresh Finnish food and souvenirs. There are also many outdoor cafés at the square. Some cafés also provide meat pastries.
The Havis Amanda is one of Vallgren's Parisian Art Nouveau works. Cast in bronze, it rests on a fountain made of granite. The sculpture is of a mermaid standing on seaweed as she rises from the water, with four fish spouting water at her feet, surrounded by four sea lions. Vallgren's intention was to symbolize the rebirth of Helsinki. The height of the statue is 1.94 metres (6 ft 4 in) and with the pedestal it stands 5 metres (16 ft) tall. According to Vallgren's letters the model for the statue was a then 19-year-old Parisian female, Marcelle Delquini. Vallgren himself simply called the work Merenneito (English: The Mermaid), but it quickly started to get additional nicknames. The Finland-Swedish newspapers dubbed it Havis Amanda and the Finnish Haaviston Manta or simply Manta. Havis Amanda is the common name used in brochures and travel guides.
Old Market Hall
In 19th century Helsinki, the capital of the Grand Duchy of Finland, groceries were mainly sold in outdoor marketplaces. The idea that trade could take place in covered halls only came to light in the last decades of the century. A new consciousness about food hygiene was the main reason for this, but it was also hoped that the occasionally disorderly market trade would become better organized if moved indoors. The construction of the first indoor hall in Helsinki, the Old Market Hall, was started at Eteläranta near the Market Square in 1888. This is the year written above the southern entrance of the building, but because of problems with cement delivery, the hall was not opened to the public until 1889. The building was designed by Gustaf Nyström who had studied how market halls were built in large European cities. At the time of opening the hall had 120 stalls as well as 6 shops in the central gallery. Regulations stated that vendors were allowed to sell meat products, eggs, butter, cheese and garden produce. At the turn of the century, some of the fish trade from the outdoor marketplace was also moved into the hall.
Mannerheimintie, named after the Finnish military leader and statesman Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, is the main street of Helsinki, Finland. It was originally named Heikinkatu (Swedish: Henriksgatan), after Robert Henrik Rehbinder, but was renamed after the Winter War. The change of name was also suitable due to Mannerheim having paraded in along that road during the Finnish Civil War (1918), after German forces allied with Mannerheim's Finnish forces had retaken the city. That event is also portrayed in the landmark statue of Mannerheim sitting horseback. The statue is located along the Mannerheimintie just outside the modern arts museum Kiasma. The street starts at Erottaja in the city centre, near the Swedish Theatre and continues in a northernly direction past the Stockmann department store. It then continues as a main thoroughfare past the districts of Kamppi, Töölö, Meilahti, Laakso and Ruskeasuo, until it finally merges into a busy highway leading outside the city towards Hämeenlinna and Tampere. (Geographically, the highway only ends in central Tampere, having become a small street called Kalevan puistotie, meeting the major street Kekkosentie.) Many famous buildings are located at or near Mannerheimintie. Besides the theatre and department store mentioned above, these include the House of Parliament, the main post office, the Kiasma modern art museum, the Finlandia Hall, the National Museum, the Helsinki Opera House, and Tilkka.
Helsinki Central Library Oodi
A design competition in 2012 to build the library was won by the Finnish architectural firm ALA Architects and structural design by Ramboll Finland. ALA Architects won the commission over 543 other competitors. The library was planned to be a three-story building and to include a sauna and a ground floor movie theatre. In January 2015, the Helsinki City Council voted 75–8 to launch the building project. The estimated costs of the new library was 98 million euros, of which the state agreed to pay 30 million in connection with the centenary of Finland's independence in 2017. The City of Helsinki budgeted 66 million euros for the building. On December 31, 2016, it was announced that the new library would be named in Finnish as Oodi and in Swedish as Ode (lit. Ode). The library was built in the Töölönlahti district next to Helsinki Music Centre and Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art and inaugurated on December 5, 2018 on the eve of the Finnish Independence Day.
The Finlandia Hall is a congress and event venue in the centre of Helsinki on the Töölönlahti Bay. The building, which was designed by architect Alvar Aalto, was completed in 1971. Every detail in the building is designed by Aalto. The designs were completed in 1962, with building taking place between 1967–1971. The Congress Wing was designed in 1970 and built in 1973–1975. In 2011, the building was expanded with new exhibition and meeting facilities.
The Opera House
The Finnish National Opera and Ballet is a Finnish opera company and ballet company based in Helsinki. It is headquartered in the Opera House on the coast of the Töölönlahti bay in Töölö, which opened in 1993, and is state-owned through Senate Properties. The Opera House features two auditoriums, the main auditorium with 1,350, seats and a smaller studio auditorium with 300–500 seats.
Helsinki Olympic Stadium
The Helsinki Olympic Stadium located in the Töölö district about 2.3 kilometres (1.4 mi) from the centre of the Finnish capital Helsinki, is the largest stadium in the country, nowadays mainly used for hosting sports events and big concerts. The stadium is best known for being the centre of activities in the 1952 Summer Olympics. During those games, it hosted athletics, equestrian show jumping, and the football finals. The stadium was also the venue for the first Bandy World Championship in 1957, the first World Athletics Championships in 1983 as well as for the 2005 World Championships in Athletics. It hosted the European Athletics Championships in 1971, 1994 and 2012. It is also the home stadium of the Finland national football team. The stadium is closed temporarily since March 2016 for renovation works and scheduled of reopening in 2019.
Sibelius Park is situated on the grounds of three former villas named Bråvalla, Kinnekulle and Miramar. The area was designated as a residential area in the town plan of 1906 but changed to a recreational area in the revised town plan of 1916. Further revisions in 1929 allowed Mechelininkatu street to cut across the park. Known among locals as “Sibbari”, Sibelius Park is based an informal English-style landscape garden adapted to the typically Finnish shoreline environment. Construction of the park began in 1937 and lasted three years. The park was originally called Humallahden luonnonpuisto (Humallahti Nature Park) after the name of the adjacent bay. It was also referred to as Kinnekullan puisto (Kinnekulla Puisto) after the name of one of the former villas. The park was renamed in honour of legendary Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (1865–1957) in 1945 on his 80th birthday.
Temppeliaukio Church is a Lutheran church in the Töölö neighborhood of Helsinki. The church was designed by architects and brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen and opened in 1969. Built directly into solid rock, it is also known as the Church of the Rock and Rock Church.
Esplanadi colloquially known as Espa, is an esplanade and urban park in downtown Helsinki, Finland, situated between the Erottaja square and the Market Square. It is bordered on its northern and southern sides by the Pohjoisesplanadi (North Esplanadi) and Eteläesplanadi (South Esplanadi) streets, respectively. Aleksanterinkatu runs parallel to Esplanadi.
Kiasma is a contemporary art museum located in Helsinki, Finland. Kiasma is part of the Finnish National Gallery. One of the leading museums of contemporary art in the Nordic region, Kiasma delights and provokes, impresses, surprises and entertains. The museum showcases and collects art of our time. It seeks to make contemporary art accessible to as large an audience as possible and thereby to offer people new experiences and new perspectives on life. Kiasma is the perfect place to enjoy and experience art. The Kiasma building itself is a major architectural landmark.
Helsinki’s oldest and best known park is surrounded by embassies and villas. The nearby sea, rock cliffs and green lawns offer many opportunities to relax and enjoy the outdoors. At the highest point of the park is the Ursa Observatory. There are several cafées and restaurants along the shore and on the islands. It is also known as Kaivopuisto Park.
The Presidential Palace is one of the three official residences of the President of the Republic of Finland. It is situated in Helsinki, on the north side of Esplanadi, overlooking Market Square.
National Museum of Finland
The National Museum of Finland presents Finnish history from the Stone Age to the present day, through objects and cultural history. The Finnish National Romantic style building is located in central Helsinki and is a part of the Finnish Heritage Agency (until 2018 the National Board of Antiquities), under the Ministry of Culture and Education.
Seurasaari Open-Air museum
To get a unique hands-on experience of rural life in the Finnish countryside, the Suerasaari Open-Air museum is the place to go. Set on a beautiful green island just a few kilometres from the heart of Helsinki, the museum is made up of 87 separate buildings, each unique to its own province in Finland. The island is a tranquil oasis in the midst of the city and at the museum the traditional Finnish way of life is displayed in the cottages, farmsteads and manors of the past four centuries that have been relocated from all around Finland Explore the traditional Finnish way of life in the cottages, farmsteads and manors from the past four centuries, complete with traditional objects, furniture, and dress. The Seurasaari Open-Air Museum is a truly unique experience and will really open your eyes to Finland's rural history.