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A Day in Helsinki

By: Cityseeker
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Kiasma

Built by world-famous architect, Steven Hall, Kiasma will fascinate anyone interested in contemporary art and architecture. Featuring works by famed artists such as Stig, Risto Laakkonen, Karel Dujardin, and Baumgartner, Kiasma aims to promote and contemporary art and inspire young artists. With everything from installations, paintings and audio landscapes to lectures and performances in the museum's built-in theater, this is the place to be for whose with an eye for art.

Helsinki, Finland
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Ateneum

Located in the heart of the city, this museum houses various genres of art including surrealism, expressionism and cubism. It also has a collection of Italian 14th-century pieces. The main emphasis, however, lies on Finnish art from the mid-18th Century to the 1960s; you will find the work of Isak Wacklin, and that of Wäinö Aaltonen, whose statue of Aleksis Kivi stands directly opposite the museum. The museum also boasts of an interesting bookstore and fabulous cafe. Call ahead to know more.

Helsinki, Finland
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Parliament House

Perched on a centrally-located hill beside the Mannerheimintie, the Parliament was constructed in 1926-1931 after the design Oratoribus was drawn up by architects Borg, Sirén and Åberg. This is Finland's only heritage-listed building representative of 1920s Classicism. Its monumental exterior is characterized by 14 Corinthian columns, and is built of red granite. The building is made of Finnish materials, and it represents the unity of architecture, art, workmanship and industrial design. This is apparent in the decor as well as the 900 works of art on display, the most famous of which are the bronze sculptures in the Session Hall designed by Wäinö Aaltonen. Each of the five floors is distinct, connected to the others by a white marble staircase and open lifts. Most important for visitors are the beautiful main lobby, the stately Session Hall and the awe-inspiring Hall of State. Guided tours are arranged on Saturdays and Sundays, and on weekdays in July and August.

Helsinki, Finland
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Helsinki University Library

The gorgeous University Library, right next to the main building of the University and the Cathedral, is one of Engel's most beautiful creations, completed in 1844. Large windows soften its yellowandwhite exterior, while trees surround the back of the building, making this one of Helsinki's most endearing sights. The outer wall of the library sports a bronze bust of Czar Alexander I and a plaque commemorating the designers of the old city centre, J. A. Ehrenström and C. L. Engel. The interior of the library building is also spectacular. The old interiors are in good shape, and the current refurbishment process is expected to bring even more of the old lustre back. The main hall with its oldfashioned furnishings and marvellous ceiling frescoes is one of the most admired interiors in Finland. The soft, beautiful exterior and ! serene mood of the petite building, overshadowed by taller, more majestic structures, have a calming effect on the whole neighbourhood.

Helsinki, Finland
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Helsinki Cathedral

An imposing religious landmark in the capital city's Senate Square, this Lutheran cathedral is one of Helsinki's most important monument. The majestic outline of its 71 meter central tower illustrates the true glory of the White City of the North. The cathedral was designed by C. L. Engel in 1830; when Engel died in 1840, E. B. Lohrmann took over the supervision and added several touches to the original blueprints, including details in the simple yet beautiful interior. The cathedral was finally completed in 1852, though the famous grand steps would not be added for another 20 years. Despite the western, classical style, the influences of Russia and especially that of Czar Nicholas I are also visible. The Czar also donated the altarpiece, which was the work of Russian artist Von Neff. The cathedral has a high-ceilinged crypt, a venue for exhibitions and concerts, and a café open every summer.

Helsinki, Finland
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University of Helsinki (Helsingin Yliopisto)

In 1827 the Turku Academy was moved to Helsinki as the Russians came to power and the capital changed. The Academy needed a place to operate, so C. L. Engel designed a building on one side of the Senate Square; it was completed in 1832. The Academy began its operation and changed its name to the Imperial University. After Finland became independent, the name was changed again, to the University of Helsinki. The yellow main building is a close match to the Senate Building opposite, in dimensions, colour and style. The completion of this building brought the finishing touches to the uniform group of Empirestyle buildings surrounding Senate Square. The University is one of Helsinki's main landmarks. The interiors of the building are very beautiful: the stairwells, stone floors and statues create a balanced but interesting whole. The stunning main festival hall is also a sight to behold. Still, the main reason for admiring this building is its outer form, the sense of balance it creates together with the Senate Building.

Helsinki, Finland
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Hietalahden Square

A beautiful sunlit plaza in the midst of Helsinki's Hietalahti district, the Hietalahden Square is constantly abuzz with an infectious energy. Once a historically significant area that housed a few Russian barracks, the square is teeming with age-old cafes, bars, traditional restaurants, and local shops and boutiques. All of these thrive wonderfully around the summertime market, which is the pièce de résistance of this busy square. Featuring a bounty of fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, and fish, the market is also a great place to shop for everything from clothing and trinkets, to antiques, souvenirs, and Marimekko textiles. On one side of the square stands the historical Hietalahti Market Hall, designed by Selim A. Lindqvist, a monumental shopping landmark that draws a fair crowd with its fresh food offerings.

Helsinki, Finland
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Töölö Bay

Töölö Bay and its surroundings form one of Finland's most talked-about and picturesque locations. Some of the area's main sights merge with stunningly beautiful parks to create charming scenery. A stroll around the bay from Linnunlauluntie road right by the railway tracks reveals the timeless old villas at Linnunlaulu. Romantic wooden houses line up the streets and a sandy path leads to a park. On the right is the concrete brilliance of the Helsinginkatu street, on the other side of which lies the City Winter Garden. Sprawling parks such as the Kiasma, Musiikkitalo, and Makasiini form an enchanting mosaic of green, while cultural landmarks such as the National Theatre and Finlandia Hall regale visitors with riveting performances.

Helsinki, Finland
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Linnanmäki

The only amusement park close to central Helsinki, Linnanmäki contains not only plenty of rides, but also games arcades, tombolas, restaurants, bars and the obligatory candyfloss and hot-dog stands. The most impressive thing is the Vuoristorata rollercoaster, which in 1996 celebrated its 100th birthday. The amusement park was opened in 1950 by the charity Children's Day and proceeds from the park still go towards child welfare work. The main part of the amusement park is open only in the summer, normally daily.

Helsinki, Finland
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Cable Factory

The Cable Factory houses a set of spaces such as official areas, restaurants, museums, studios and galleries, as well as tiny band rehearsal rooms and two radio stations. The building is utilized to the smallest nook. Until the 1980s the Cable Factory was what the name implies, and the interiors vary in shape and size. Although every room has been thoroughly renovated, the basic feeling is still as austere as that of a factory. This does not discourage a wide range of activities from taking place here, you can catch art festivals, exhibitions, theater, dance and musical performances. The impressive 100-meter (328-foot) Sea Cable Hall (Merikaapelihalli) is frequently used for performances, and has seen events featuring thousands of people, wild horses, motorcycles and symphony orchestras.

Helsinki, Finland
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Helsinki Zoo

The scenic island of Korkeasaari is home to a range of stunning plants and animal species sourced from over the globe. Against the lush backdrop of this island, visitors can witness as many as 1000 plant species and 150 animal species in a natural habitat. Dating back to 1889, the Korkeasaari is one of the oldest zoos in the world, and houses a bevy of beauties from the animal kingdom, belonging to Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. The 22-hectare (54 acre) land has been the longstanding home of several Nordic species such as bears, elk, deer and seals, as well as tropical ones such as blue-poison dart frogs and blue-throated macaws. Several regal creatures such as snow leopards, Amur leopards and the Asian lion also graze the wild landscape of Korkeasaari.

Korkeasaari, Finland
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Seurasaari Open-Air Museum (Seurasaari)

This open-air museum was founded in 1909 on the popular recreational island of Seurasaari. The permanent exhibition consists of Finnish peasant architecture, including 85 buildings brought from various parts of the country. There are outhouses, swings, church boats, a tar-burning pit and the wooden Karuna church (1686). The founder of the museum, Professor of ethnology Axel Olai Heikel, is buried next to this church. The two-storied building has perfectly preserved interiors. Enjoy wandering about in the woods and the events that are arranged here, notably the traditional midsummer feast. Check website to know more.

Helsinki, Finland
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