Helsinki Travel Guide

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Snowy winter day Pasila, Helsinki 2007

Snowy winter day Pasila, Helsinki 2007

Ahmed Zax

Helsinki is often regarded as the economical capital of Scandinavia, with important wordwide businesses, such as Nokia and Laponia Jewellery, having based their headquarters here.

Helsinki is situated on the south coast of Finland. Founded by King Gustaf Vasa of Sweden in 1550, the city of Helsinki was initially a small fishing town until 1812 when it was "modernized" under Russian rule and turned into the administrative capital of the Autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland. Carl Engel - an architecht from Lublin in Germany - was asked to come to Helsinki and re-design it. Helsinki is thus a prime example of 19th century Neoclassical architecture, and the Lutheran Cathedral in the middle of the city is, without doubt, one of its best known landmarks. While the capital suffered little damage in the civil war following Finland's declaration of independence in 1917, Helsinki was constantly being bombed by Soviet airplanes during WWII.

Today, annually, thousands of tourists from USA, Germany, Sweden, Japan, etc. visit the beautiful classical Helsinki. The citys nightlife is pacing and several bars have reached worldwide fame such as The Ice Bar and DTM. The city's activities are shopping, visiting historical monuments such as Suomenlinna. For shopping Stockmann is highly recommended with a wide range of allmost everything ultra-technological can be bought among with authentic finnish soveneirs. Many other good department stores can also be found but dont be suprised if the prices are quite high. There are also several open air markets during the summertime where copious amounts of new and old merchandise can be purchased. Although Helsinki is generally a safe city some areas should be slightly avoided such as outskirts near Espoo and Vantaa should be avoided as crime rate, as in any other capital city, are relatively high when compared to areas surrounding central Helsinki. 

The climate in Helsinki varies on what season you visit: in winter the city is usually sweeped under a layer of snow and temperatures can drop as low -25º C. However in the summer the climate is relatively warm and the sky is blue and temperatures usually reach an average of 20º C but even temperatures frequently rise up to 25º C or as low as 9º C (although this is not quite as often)!

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December 29, 2005 change by giorgio

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