Helsinki is the capital of Finland. The city is located in the south of the country on the shores of the Gulf of Finland. Helsinki covers an area of 1,140 sq. Km and includes 315 islands; more than a third of the city is occupied by parks and open areas. Of major importance for the whole of Finland is the country’s largest Helsinki port, through which cargo passes and from where regular passenger flights operate throughout the Baltic.
Helsinki was founded by order of the Swedish king Gustav Vasa in 1550. By his decree, several hundred residents of the city of Porvoo settled in the territory of the current urban area of Arabia. June 12, the day of signing the decree, is considered the birthday of the city. Until the middle of the 18th century, Helsinki remained a small town. But in 1748, on the islands near Helsinki, the Swedes began the construction of the Sveaborg fortress (Suomenlinna), designed to protect the city from the sea. As a result, Helsinki began to grow and grow rich.
Four times in its short history, Helsinki was captured by Russian troops. After Finland joined Russia in 1809, the city destroyed by the Russian-Swedish war was built up according to the new general plan of J. A. Ehrenström on behalf of Emperor Alexander I, hence the noticeable similarity of the central parts of Helsinki and St. Petersburg. The current Helsinki is not only the legal capital of the country, but also the center of intellectual, cultural and scientific life of Finland.
The center of Helsinki is the Senate Square framed by majestic buildings, which is a single ensemble in the Empire style. In the center of the square stands a monument to Emperor Alexander II, the Lutheran Cathedral rises above the square, the main building of the University of Helsinki, the University Library and the Palace of the State Council are located here. A hundred meters from Senate Square, on the seashore is Market Square (Kauppatori) – the brightest and busiest place in Helsinki. The most interesting sights of the city are the Finland Palace, a church carved into a rock on Temppelinaukio Square, a monument to Sibelius, the Assumption Cathedral. Olympic Stadium and the new Palace of Opera. Fashionable and prestigious shops are concentrated on the busiest shopping street of the city – Esplanade, which starts from the Market Square located on the seashore.
Today, Helsinki is a modern city with a lively business and cultural life, where there are almost 70 museums, a large number of art galleries, beautiful concert halls, the National Opera and Ballet, 3 symphony orchestras, 8 theaters.
Helsinki changes appearance depending on the season, but it acquires the greatest appeal in the summer. The tourist season is from mid-June to mid-August. At this time, many attractions, museums extend the hours of visits.
In Helsinki, there is no shortage of fashionable shops selling furs, textiles, ceramics, glass and jewelry, wood items, handicrafts, furniture and other works of Finnish design. The main shopping streets of the city are: Mannerheiminitie, Kaisaniemenkatu, Aleksanterinkatu with large department stores and shopping centers; Pohjois-Esplanadi and Etela-Esplanadi with many “trendy” shops and boutiques selling items of Finnish design; Fredrikinkatu and Korkeavuorenkatu with interesting little shops; It is also worth taking a stroll along the pedestrian streets of Mikonkatu and Iso Roobertinkatu.
Finnish nightclubs are establishments for a respectable audience who like to spend time in a varied and comfortable way. In nightclubs there is always a restaurant, bar, dancing, sometimes billiard or card tables, roulette. Without a weekend running “Casino Ray” – the only casino in Finland of international level.