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Finnish National Opera

Completed in 1993, this is one of the greatest works of modern Finnish architecture with a sense of spaciousness and light throughout. There is an outdoor amphitheater facing park and the opera building often hosts small art exhibitions. Performances sell out quickly. There's free chamber music in the foyer on Saturday and the Alminsali hall hosts smaller operatic, ballet and jazz performances.

Temppeliaukio Church

Visible from the outside as a concave, pistachio-colored dome, the Temppeliaukio Church is part of a larger structure that is hidden underneath a giant rock. Designed by architect siblings Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen, the church is deemed as one of the biggest success stories in modern Finnish architecture. The interiors of the church resemble an otherworldly aura, with jagged, rocky walls that were retained from the body of the original monolith. The ceiling of the church steals the show, slashed in symmetric skylights that encircle the copper dome from the inside. This allows plenty of natural light to filter in, thus bathing the earthy church hall in warm sunshine. The church is also an acoustic marvel, owing to the rock walls that produce more refined musical notes.

Helsinki Cathedral

An imposing religious landmark in the capital city's Senate Square, this Lutheran cathedral is one of Helsinki's most important monuments. The majestic outline of its 71-meter (232.93-feet) 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.


Generally considered the definitive live venue in Helsinki, Tavastia is conveniently located, right by the main bus station in Kamppi. Live artists, local and foreign, are featured on many nights every week. The club is open on other nights as well, and since the place is owned by a university student organisation, special events are frequent. Short music festivals focusing on certain genres are also common, and twice a year record fairs draw in a crowd. In terms of acoustics, Tavastia is one of the best live venues in town, though it is relatively small. Its maximum capacity is less than a thousand people, only just over half of whom can fit into the actual live side of the club. Therefore, many artists playing there sell out, even when they play for two or more nights in a row.

Helsinki Olympic Stadium

The Helsinki Olympic Stadium is a majestic piece of functionalist architecture. Designed by Yrjö Lindgren and Toivo Jäntti, it was completed in 1940; since then it has seen many renovations and changes. The bleachers are much more comfortable now, and the stadium can accommodate 40,000 people. Originally constructed as a venue for the 1940 Olympic Games (canceled because of WWII), the stadium is best known for hosting the 1952 Olympics. Its most famous part is the 72 meter tower, which also offers one of the best views of the city. It plays host to numerous concerts, and amateur and professional sporting events (including the World Cup), hosts the Finland vs. Sweden athletics every other year, and is also home to the Finnish Sport Museum. Next to the car park is the statue of one of the world's all-time greatest athletes, the legendary Paavo Nurmi. The statue was sculpted by Wäinö Aaltonen in 1952, the year Nurmi was given the honor of lighting the Olympic torch. A statue of another great Finnish athlete of the 1970s, Lasse Viren, is across the street.

Finlandia Hall

Finlandia Hall, one of the most famous sights in Helsinki, has an ideal location next to a beautiful park and bay at the heart of Helsinki, very close to the Parliament and the National Museum. It can be reached easily by public transport, but you can also use the 600-vehicle parking lot. Alvar Aalto's famed creation houses meetings, conferences and concerts. Vital meetings between Russian and American leaders were held here during the Cold War. Nowadays, the building is mostly used by the Philharmonic and Radio Symphony Orchestras. The annual Jean Sibelius Violin Contest is also held here, and behind the hall there's the yearly Naisten kymppi (Women's 10K Fun Run). Concert tickets can be bought from the box office. Half-hour guided tours of the hall are arranged in Finnish, Swedish, English and German. To book a private group tour, contact Info Shop in the main lobby by phone or email on The shop is also the place to buy concert tickets, postcards and stamps, records, books and other souvenirs.

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