Finlandia Hall, Helsinki

Mercur, Ruusalankatu 5, 90 Valli, Rautalammintie 3, 566 Satakuntatalo, Lapinrinne 1A, 100 b. (2 May to 31 August), Kesa Hospice, Paraistentie 19, 142 b.

YOUTH HOSTELS. Stadionin RetkeHymaja, at Olympic Stadium, 186 Kalliolan Retkeilymaa, SturenkatuH (May-August).

CAMP SITE. Rastila, Vuosaari, 1 3 km (8 miles) E of the middle ofthe city.

RESTAURANTS. In most of the hotels listed; particularly recommended are those on the top floors of the Vaakuna, Palace and Torni hotels, with fine views of the town. Also recommended are the following: Motti, Toolontorinkatu 2; Havis Amanda, Unioninkatu 23 (fish specialties in cellar); Karl Konig, Mikonkatu 4 (first-class cuisine); Adon, Fabianinkatu 14 (excellent smorgasbord); Bellevue, Rahapanjankatu 3 (Russian specialties); Kulosaaren Casino, Hopeasalmenpolku 49 (attractive setting on the water); Troikka, Caloniuksenkatu 3 (Russian specialties); restaurant in Stockmann’s department store, Keskuskatu 2; Esplanaadinkappeli, Esplanadin-puisto (on market square); Frazer, Kluuvikatu 3 and City Center (pleasant cafes); Wahalla (summer restaurant), on island of Suomenlinna; etc. Many reasonably priced self-service restaurants (baari).

EVENTS. Helsinki Summer Concerts (international orchestras and soloists), mid-June to mid-August; Helsinki Festival (concerts, exhibitions, opera and ballet of international standard), end of August and beginning of September.

Helsinki (Swedish Helsingfors), capital of Finland and main town of the province of Uusimaa (Nyland), lies mainly on a rugged granite peninsula on the northern shores of the Gulf of Finland, with numerous offshore islands. With a university, a college of technology, two business colleges and other scientific and cultural institutions, it is the intellectual hub of Finland. It is also the country’s largest industrial town (shipbuilding, engineering, porcelain, textiles) and a port with a large import trade. Here are the headquarters of most of the major Finnish firms (international technological trade fair, held annually). The central city, in neo-classical style, was built in the first half of the 19th c. by the Berlin architect Carl Ludwig Engel (1778-1840) in accordance with a plan drawn up by Johan Albrekt Ehrenstrom. With its handsome streets and boulevards, the city creates an air of spaciousness, and the white facades of its buildings have earned it the name of the white city of the North. The new residential areas on the outskirts of the town, including the garden city of Tapiola, are admirably planned.

The first section of the Helsinki underground railway system came into operation in 1982.

HISTORY. Helsinki was founded by Gustav I Vasa in 1 550 on a site to the N of the present central city at the outflow of the Vantaanjoki (Swedish Vanda) into the Gulf of Finland, as a rival to the trading town of Reval (now Tallinn). In 1639, however. Queen Christina ordered the transfer of the town to a more favourable site on the peninsula of Vironniemi. The construction of a fortress on the offshore island of Suomenlinna began in 1748. In 1808 the town, still a place of little consequence, was unable to withstand an attack by Russian forces, and was incorporated into the Russian Grand Duchy of Finland. Tsar Alexander made it the capital of Finland in 1812. In 1816 C. L. Engel was commissioned to rebuild the town, a third of which had been burned down in 1808.

After the collapse of the Russian Empire, a republic was proclaimed in Helsinki on 6 December 1917. In 1918, with the help of German troops, the town was cleared of Bolshevist forces and became capital of the independent Republic of Finland. During the Second World War Helsinki was one of the few European capitals not occupied by foreign forces. The Summer Olympic Games were held here in 1952, and the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe in 1975.

Museums, Galleries, etc.

In general, the opening times for Sundays apply also to public holidays.

Almost all institutions are closed on 1 January, 6 January (Epiphany), Good Friday, Easter Day, 1 May, Ascension Day (usually mid-May), the Saturday closest to 24 June (Midsummer Day and Finnish Flag Day), All Saints Day (Saturday nearest end of October or beginning of November), Independence Day (6 December) and almost continuously from Christmas Eve to New Year.

Finlandia Hall, Helsinki Photo Gallery

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