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Helsinki is the capital of independent Finland, since 1917. Before it was under the Swedish and Russian rule. The capital region has a population of approximately 1.4 million inhabitants, which is about one-quarter of the population of Finland.
Helsinki City Tour
The second day of our stay, we choose a hop-on-hop-off bus for a Helsinki City Tour. We get to the Aleksanterinkatu and drive to the Senate Square. After we have passed the South Harbor, from where the ferries leave for Stockholm, we continue to the West Harbor.
From here, the big cruise ships and the ferries sail to Estonia. Before this, we pass the marina in Merisatama and Cafe Ursula. In Eira, there is a small bathing beach, one of the few in the urban area.
Past the Saluhall, where a secondhand market takes place, we reach the temple mountain with the Temppeliaukio church. It is one also known as rock church. The church was carved 5 to 8 meters into the rock. With the copper domed roof, it reaches a height of 13 m. From the outside, it is hardly recognizable. You only see the rock hill. The architects Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen built the church in 1969.
We continue to the Sibelius Monument. Johan Julius Christian Sibelius was one of the most important Finnish composers. He lived in Helsinki from 1865 to 1957. His popularity reaches far to Berlin, Vienna and New York. The monument, created by Eila Hiltunen in 1967, symbolizes an organ.
We take a walk to the next place of interest, the Olympic stadium. Built between 1934 and 1938, it should serve for the Olympics in 1940, which was canceled due to World War II. The tower is 72.71 m high. This corresponds exactly to the distance of the Olympic gold-winning throw of the Finnish javelin thrower Matti Järvinen, in 1932. From 2016, the stadium will be completely renovated and reopened in 2019.
Once again we choose the bus and drive to the Finnish National Museum. The Parliament building is just a few meters away. But at the time of our visit, it is behind a printed protective covering. On the opposite site is the Musiikkitalo (House of Music), a concert hall that is open, so we can take a look. We leave the building on the other side and reach a large square.
Ahead you can see a curved building, the Kiasma-teatteri, a theater for contemporary art. In the same building is the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Finnish National Gallery. To the east rises an old wall, the remains of a historical hangar of the Finnish railways. To the north is the bright white Finlandia Hall. The white Carrara marble hall serves as a concert and congress center.
We continue to the main station. A beer festival is taking place on the forecourt. Although we are not beer drinkers, we take a look inside. The event has less of a festival character but is rather comparable to a beer fair.
Small breweries present their beers here. Everywhere there are groups of people who taste the individual beers and keep their impressions in logs. The results are then immediately transferred to a laptop.
In the evening we go back to the business district around the Mikonkatu. In a courtyard, the people celebrate with Russian music.
A band plays in a shopping mall. One enjoys the White Nights to the fullest, as the winter is long enough. We are looking for a quiet place to have a glass of wine. At midnight it is still not dark, but we go to the hotel, as we still have some demanding days ahead of us.
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