It is interesting that before the Russian revolution, when the city belonged to Russian Empire, its name was pronounced Gelsinki. Then the sound “G” changed to “H” — it became muffled because it was easier to pronounce the word this way. A similar process in Russian language is happening now with the name Gitler. Modern authors increasingly say
Helsinki is a quite charming European city. In spirit, it resembles other northern European cities like Stockholm and Copenhagen. Here, you can find the same warm walls of houses, while a hint of Arctic chill hangs in the air.
The main attraction of Helsinki is the Saint Nicholas Cathedral. It was built in the same years as the St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg. It is a beautiful neoclassical temple.
The cathedral is the architectural landmark of Helsinki. This massive (by local standards) structure can be seen from many streets in the city.
The cathedral looks bombastic from the sea. I never thought I would spend so much time talking about a church.
Like in St. Petersburg, the cathedral stands on Senate Square. It is not similar to the one in St. Petersburg. It’s just a small empty square paved with cobblestones.
In the center of Senate Square, right in front of the cathedral, stands a monument to the Russian Tsar Alexander II – the same one who abolished serfdom.
To the right of the cathedral, there is a charming Ministry of Finance building.
It’s hard to say if Senate Square is located in the center of Helsinki. The city is so small that you can go around it twice in a day. Moreover, convenient trams run throughout the city.
Like in any modern city, Helsinki is full of bicycles and scooters available for rent.
Despite the modest size of the city, Helsinki has a metro. It seems to be quite popular in winter. The subway cars are incredibly cozy and even warm you up with their colors.
Awesome buttons whose meaning is impossible to understand without knowing the language. The word “Oppna” remotely resembles “Open” — it is the button for opening the doors. The second button closes the doors.
Helsinki is full of cozy cafes. Despite being a northern city, outdoor terraces operate even in winter. They simply place warm blankets on the chairs.
In the city center, there is a park that resembles boulevards in Moscow. It is a long green strip between two roads, with several monuments, various shows, and people enjoying their leisure time.
A favorite children’s pastime is blowing soap bubbles.
You can rest on the lawns.
Sunny weather is a rarity in Helsinki. On average, the city only experiences 64 sunny days per year.
I was lucky with the weather. It was scorching hot at +30 degrees Celsius. The city details are very enjoyable to explore when there is sunshine. Reliefs, capitals, and friezes emerge into the light and begin to play with textures.
One of the central streets of the city with tram tracks:
Letters on the post office building:
Street sign in three languages — Finnish, Swedish, and pre-revolutionary Russian:
Beautiful building of the National Museum, made in the style of a medieval town hall:
The unimpressive building of the Finnish Parliament, resembling a coffin with columns:
The people in Helsinki seemed tense to me. Despite the hot and sunny weather, there was a sense of anxiety on their faces. Most likely, this is related to the war that the Putin regime in Russia unleashed against Ukraine. Finland suffered greatly from the Soviet invasion in 1939. The threat from Russia is felt much more acutely here than in Central Europe.
Helsinki is a port city. Therefore, there are plenty of ships here to suit every taste. It’s a great place for photo opportunities.
The giant cruise liners are especially impressive.
Not far from Helsinki, there is an island called Suomenlinna (in Finnish) or Sveaborg (in Swedish). You can reach the island by ferry.
Along the way, there are residential islands.
On the island, there is a fortress built in the 18th century to protect the city from the sea.
It’s a rather dull fort. Well, you can enter the bastions from where cannon fire was conducted.
Well, a couple of amusing cottages.
An utterly boring place. It is only recommended for visits by silly travel websites. A normal person would feel sorry to waste their time on this nonsense.