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Archive for the ‘Architecture’ Category

The Katajanokka area of Helsinki was a headland of the Helsinki peninsular until a small canal was dug across the base in the 19th century, making it an island.
The area is dominated by the Uspenski Cathedral.


If you walk past the Cathedral you will find many fine examples of early 20th century Art Nouveau architecture.
I particularly like the roof lines and the decoration. Here are just a few examples.

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Helsinki

Helsinki

Helsinki

Don’t miss this area if you visit Helsinki. It is within easy walking distance of the main shopping district.

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Parliament House in the Toolo district of Helsinki is an impressive building.

Parliament House Helsinki

It is built in a combination of Neoclassical style and early 20th century  modernism. The exterior is constructed in red Kalvola granite. The facade has 14 columns with Corinthian capitals.

In 1923 there was a competition to choose the location for Parliament House. Arkadiamaki, a hill beside what is now Mannerheimintie, was chosen.

An architectural competition the following year chose the firm of Borg-Siren-Aberg to design the building. Sigfrid Siren Siren (1889 1961) was given the task. Parliament House was constructed between 1926 – 1931 and was inaugurated on March 7 1931.

Guided tours are arranged on Saturdays at 11.00 & 12.30. Sundays 12.00 & 13.30. In July and August also at 14.00 on weekdays.

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The winter weather was perfect for my recent visit to Helsinki. The sky was blue, there was no wind and it was not too cold.

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Helsinki

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Helsinki

Helsinki

 

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Helsinki

Helsinki

When I return it will be almost summer. I will see a completely different Helsinki.

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On my recent visit to Helsinki lovely friends took me to Lake Tuusula, about 30 minutes from Helsinki.

We visited the house of Finnish painter Pekka Halonen. (1865 – 1933). He was famous for his Finnish landscapes and people in Realist style.

His beautiful wooden house sits by the edge of the lake. The position provided him with perfect inspiration for his art. He designed the house himself with his brother Antti and called it Halosenniemi.

I wish I could show you the inside of the house but there was a strict, no photo rule. Instead come for a walk around the outside. It was a bleak autumn day on our visit, but the garden and the views from it are enchanting. I must return in spring.

Pekka Halonen

Pekka Halonen i

Pekka Halonen

Pekka Halonen

Halonen’s studio was opened for the first time to the public in the 1950s. Tickets cost €8 and is open Tuesday – Sunday. The house is stunning and it is a wonderful insight into the life of the artist.

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I travel to Helsinki at least 4 times a year. I love the city and each time I return I like to walk around revisiting my favourite places as well as discovering new ones.

My first stop is usually Fazer in Kluuvikatu for a coffee and one of their delicious rye sandwiches. (Click the word in bold type to see a post about the subject)

Fazer

Fazer

From there I walk through the park along Esplanadi to Market Square beside the harbour. The park is lovely in any season.

Esplanadi park

Esplanadi

Havis Amanda is always there to greet me at the harbour.

Havis Amanda

I was at the harbour one very cold winter morning to see the sunrise.

Helsinki sunrise

There is often a market offering lots of local delights. I have managed to be in Helsinki 3 times for the Baltic Herring Fair held in October. Boats back into the harbour and sell their products directly. It is great fun to talk to the fishermen about their catch.

Kauppahalli, the covered market, always beckons me inside. On a cold winter day it is the perfect place to warm up with salmon soup for lunch. If I am staying at an apartment with a kitchen I buy fresh salmon to cook at home…wonderful.

Kauppahalli

A short walk from the harbour is the imposing Russian church, Uspenski Cathedral. It was built between 1862 and 1868.

Uspenski cathedral

Uspenski cathedral

Behind the church is the beautiful district of Katajanokka. I absolutely love the architecture in this area. I can wander for hours, trying to remember to look up at the incredible roof decoration. The beautiful doors are also a source of delight. All of Helsinki is full of fabulous buildings, but in this area they are all amazing.

Walking back towards the city I visit Senate Square dominated by Tuomiokirkko, Helsinki Cathedral. This exquisite white building looks brilliant with a blue sky background….or covered with snow.

Tuomiokirkko

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Opposite the front of the church is the National Library of Finland. Even though I can’t borrow a book I like to wander through and look at the gorgeous reading rooms.

National Library of Finland

Back in the city I walk past the naked blacksmiths. Look for the bullet holes left from the war.

Naked blacksmiths

The railway station building was designed by Eleil Saarinen in 1904. It is one of the most beautiful in Europe. The stone men in front have been restored recently and carry their lights beautifully.

No visit to Helsinki would be complete without a walk around Tooloonlahti. I love the way Finns are out in any weather enjoying this beautiful place.

Toolonlahti

The shopping is excellent in Helsinki. They say if you can’t get at Stockmann it is not worth having.

Stockmann

Just in case I have missed something in Stockmann I drop in to Marimekko to see their beautiful clothes and homewares.

iittala has the most exquisite glassware and kitchen items. Something usually finds its way into my suitcase.

Dining in Helsinki is great. I have been to many Helsinki restaurants. For the setting, it is difficult to beat Kappeli, which has been around since 1867 in Esplanadi park.

Nokka serves delicious modern Finnish food.

Juuri is another favourite.

So far I have only dined at restaurants serving Finnish food. Helsinki restaurants also cater well for those looking for other cuisines. Look in the “Restaurant” category for posts on places I have visited.

I have been writing Beautiful Helsinki for 5 years. If you look back through the archives you will find quite a lot of information about this fabulous city.

I will be back in Helsinki next month…can’t wait.

 

 

 

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The beautiful rose garden in front of the Winter Garden still had some roses and other flowers in bloom when I visited in early autumn. It is delightful place to walk on a sunny day.

I walked from the city through the park at Toolonlahti.

Winter Garden Helsinki

Winter Garden Helsinki

Winter Garden Helsinki

Winter Garden Helsinki

Winter Garden Helsinki

Winter Garden Helsinki

Winter Garden Helsinki

Winter Garden Helsinki

Winter Garden Helsinki

Winter Garden Helsinki

Winter Garden Helsinki

Winter Garden Helsinki

Winter Garden Helsinki

The Winter Garden was established in 1983. The beautiful glass and metal building contains 200 species of plants, including palms, Norfolk pines and camellias.

Winter Garden Helsinki

Winter Garden Helsinki

Unfortunately the Winter Garden was not open when I was there, so I can’t show you inside…next time.

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Blue sky makes a great backdrop for the Tuomiokirkko.

 

Tuomiokirkko Helsinki

…so does a late evening sky.

Tuomiokirkko

Tuomiokirkko Helsinki

Tuomiokirkko Helsinki

Tuomiokirkko Helsinki

Beautiful Helsinki.

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