"Helsinki - bears, skaters and religion" Top 5 Page for this destination Helsinki by gordonilla

Helsinki Travel Guide: 3,786 reviews and 7,791 photos

The Capital of Finland

I have been visiting Finland since 1998, I have a circle of friends, and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere that the city offers. The summer and winter are equally appealling to me, and offer a wide range of things to do.

The picture of the bear was taken at the National Museum. It was the Night of the Arts, which is when the whole city stays open late and every possible cultural event that could happen takes place. This takes place in August and is a big and enjoyable part of the Helsinki Festival. As may be apparent to most visitors, Helsinki has an extensive range of cultural and social events for resident and visitor alike. Festivals, concerts, gigs, exhibitions and anything else you may wish to consider as culture or arts. This adds to the character of the City.

I have taken quite a few freinds and colleagues to Helsinki, since my first visit. I do have to say that not one of them has not enjoyed their visit. They have enjoyed the cultural things they have done, enjoyed the restaurants they have visited and of course the bars they have visited too! We even had one group, who spent plenty of time at the Sports Bar and then finished a very late Saturday night off with a kebab at Stadin Kebab! Some things never change for many people on a Saturday night.

Many of the museums and galleries are wonderful places to visit - and the one thing I can highly recommend that you may do is visit some of the museums which are created from the former homes of the famous and those who have formed art collections - try the Mannerheim Museum and the Kirpila Collection.

It should be noted that in 2007 Finland celebrated it's 90th Anniversary as an independent country. In 1917 independence was declared from the Russian Empire; the Czar was the Grand Duke of Finland - he was to be replaced by a German Prince as the King of Finland. However the Great War went against germany and it's allies - so with Mannerheim as Regent the country found it's way to becoming the Republic of Finland.

The winter and the frozen sea

During January 2004, I made a visit to the city with colleagues. Both they and I were amazed that it was so cold the sea froze. We spent over an hour on the ice, doing nothing but be amazed by it - simple things for simple people I am sure. We watched a large group of ski skaters, who eventually travelled in the direction of Estonia. The fact that the Gulf of Finland is frozen every year for a prolonged period is a pretty interesting fact to get your head around!

Walking on the frozen sea is a really interesting concept and if you get the opportunity to visit when the sea freezes - walk on the ice!

Since then, I have visited Helsinki during the cold winter months several times and nearly always tried to walk on the sea. During a recent visit, my friend Darren and I undertook some sea ice walking. We walked from the mainland at Eira across to Uunisaari, then across to Harakka (the artist's colony) and then onto Sarkka. Unfortunately our walk had to end there! The ice between Sarkka and Suomenlinna (the Sarkansalmi) had been broken by ships.

Tuomiokirkko - The Lutheran Cathedral

The picture shown is not the usual image you see of the cathedral; this can be seen in the things to do section of my Helsinki pages.

The Lutheran Cathedral is cited as a major Helsinki landmark, and it dominates the northern side of Senaatintori aka the Senate Square.

Both the Square and the Cathedral were designed by C L Engel; the Cathedral was completed in 1852 and is part of the Empire style architectural piece which is the Senate Square.

The Cathedral was originally called the church of St Nicholas, the project was orginally funded and devloped by Czar Nikolai I - the name is that of the patron saint of sailors.

Following Finnish independence in 1917, it had a name change and became "The Great Church". It was called this until 1959, and with the creation of the Diocese of Helsinki it became a Cathedral.

The inside of the Cathedral is very plain apart from an ornate altar piece, angel statues, a pulpit and of course the Cathedral organ (built by the German Walcker factory in 1846.). In addition there are three larger than life statues of the most important Lutheran Reformers - Martin Luther, Mikael Agricola and Melanchton.

The Cathedral is of course the parish church for many local reseidents; however it is also the main church for the Diocese of Helsinki, the University of Helsinki, other Universities in the City and the State. The Cathedral holds special services On Independence Day as well as parliamentary opening and clossing sessions.

The statues on the roof, are the world's largest unbroken collection of zinc statues and portray the 12 apostles.

The one point that most people will be unaware of is that - as prominent as the Cathedral is, as many visitors it receives each year and no matter how often it is photographed - it is not the supreme Church/Cathedral of the Finnish Lutheran Church. The honour of being the "head office" is reserved for Turku Cathderal.

  • Last visit to Helsinki: Mar 2007
  • Intro Updated Oct 21, 2014
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (212)

Comments (7)

  • Luckell's Profile Photo
    Jan 7, 2014 at 9:18 AM

    Thank you so much for these great amounts of travel tips and pictures of Helsinki! Amazing to read, hope you'll continue!

  • BillNJ's Profile Photo
    Sep 25, 2011 at 5:46 AM

    Great tips and photos about your travels to Helsinki! I enjoyed reading your pages. Cheers, Bill

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Dec 12, 2010 at 10:58 AM

    Hello, Gordon! So you've had a good trip, I see now! Great!

  • STeely's Profile Photo
    Jan 5, 2006 at 3:19 PM

    Hey Gordon , Love the Helsinki page i really must visit someday as it sounds fantastic !!

  • AnnaLupilla's Profile Photo
    Aug 27, 2005 at 10:34 AM

    Hey Gordon, thx for your comment on my page. Did you like Helsinki?? I did so very mucho ... been there in november 2004 before moving to Guate. Chau, Anna

  • grishaV1's Profile Photo
    Jul 16, 2005 at 3:07 AM

    i really enjoyed viewing your page. i dont know if i ever get to visit helsinki but its seems very interesting cities, lots of nice pics....

  • magor65's Profile Photo
    May 6, 2005 at 4:36 AM

    An interesting, informative page. I wish I had visited Kiasma when I was in Helsinki


“Travel is a passion, exploring a pleasure!”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 3 7 6
Forum Rank:
0 0 7 0 7

Badges & Stats in Helsinki

  • 212 Reviews
  • 649 Photos
  • 29 Forum posts
  • 11,592PageViews

Have you been to Helsinki?

  Share Your Travels  

Latest Activity in Helsinki

Videos in Helsinki

See All Videos (15)

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (8)