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Helsinki Attractions and Things to See
Helsinki is the capital
and biggest city in Finland, in the region of Uusimaa, in the
southern part of the nation, along the shores of the Gulf of
Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea, the most populated city in
the country, some 250 miles east of Stockholm, Sweden and 190
miles west of St. Petersburg, Russia. It is the country's main
cultural, political, research, educational and financial hub,
along with being one of Europe's main northern cities. In 2009,
it would be picked as the World Design Capital for 2012 and was
established as a trading town by King Gustav I of Sweden in
1550. It spans a number of peninsulas, islands and bays, with a
humid continental climate. Carl Ludvig Engel would be appointed
to design the new city center by himself, so he designed
numerous neoclassical structures, with the focal point being the
Senate Square that is encompassed by the government palace on
its east side, the huge cathedral on the north that had been
completed by 1852, some twelve years after his passing, and the
main structure of the university on the west, and his design
would stimulate the epithet, the White City of the North.
The largest historical museum in the city is the National Museum of Finland, that showcases a huge historical collection from prehistoric times to the 21st century, sitting inside a national romantic style neomedieval castle that is a great tourist attraction. The other significant historical museums include the Helsinki City Museum that depicts the city's 500 year history, as well as the University of Helsinki that houses numerous important museums that includes the Natural History Museum and the University Museum. The Finnish National Gallery has three museums that include the Ateneum Art Museum for classical Finnish art, the Kiasma Art Museum for modern art and the Sinebrychoff Art Museum for classical European artworks; the old Ateneum is a neo-renaissance palace from the 19th century and now one of the city's main historical structures. The city also has three main theaters, and the biggest fairgrounds, with numerous famous bands, and a fabulous art venue that includes many festivals.
Helsinki has a great sports venue also, getting quite a bit of international recognition in the 1952 Summer Olympics, hosting many sporting events, like the first World Championships in Athletics in 1983 and 2005, and the European Championships in Athletics in 1971, 1994 and 2012, fielding successful teams in synchronized skating, ice hockey and football or soccer. They have a decent transportation system, with many roadways, railroads and buses, and air traffic is welcomed at the international Helsinki Airport, about 12 miles north of the city. Since it is a city of islands, peninsulas and bays, they have an excellent ferry service that run to Germany, Poland and even, St. Petersburg.
Helsinki's cuisine is based on natural and fresh ingredients that follow the seasonal varieties of fruits and vegetables, with fresh mushrooms, fish, meats and berries; simplified with purity of taste and freshness. It is influenced by the flavors of both the west and east, with many of the local restaurants offering the finest seasonal tastes at the majority of its locations. Examples of this are; burbot and roe with blinies in January, runeberg tarts, pea soup and laskiaispulla or shrove buns in February, lamb, mammi or Finnish easter pudding and pasha in March and April, perch, whitefish, pike-perch, sima or mead and tippaleivat that are May day fritters and nettles in May, new potatoes, salmon, sausage, herring, strawberries, blueberries and cloudberries in June and July and so on. There are dozens of local restaurants that serve traditional Helsinki cuisine in the city, with almost a dozen more that serve modern Nordic food, as well as some international restaurants that serve their specialties.