I stayed at the Hilton Helsinki Kalastajatorppa hotel property for the first night of my stay in Helsinki. I had been outside in the cold weather the next morning with light snow persistently falling. Prior to arriving at the unusual yet beautiful Temppeliaukio Church — which is also colloquially known as the Church of the Rock — I had already been to Sibelius Monument and attempted to visit the Tower at Olympic Stadium, which is being renovated and will not open again to the public until the year 2019.
All of the sites at which I had stopped and visited that morning were on the way to the hotel property at which I was to stay for my second night in Helsinki: the Hilton Helsinki Strand.
After I checked out of the Hilton Helsinki Strand, I visited Suomenlinna — at least one future article will cover my visit to that United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage Site — but before and after that, I strolled around the downtown area of Helsinki prior to my seeing this ugly sculpture and leaving by ferry to Tallinn in Estonia.
A view of a cobblestone street during a cold morning with a light snow.
The Helsingin tuomiokirkko — known as the Helsinki Cathedral in English — is located adjacent to Senate Square on Unioninkatu one kilometer south of the Hilton Helsinki Strand hotel property. I arrived there in approximately twelve minutes.
After 22 years under construction, the church — which was designed by Carl Ludvig Engel — was completed in 1852.
Unlike the Temppeliaukio Church — which costs three euros for admission — there is no charge to visit Helsinki Cathedral.
A view of Senaatintori — which is Senate Square in English — is provided by the steps of Helsinki Cathedral.
This monument to emperor Alexander II — which was sculpted by Walter Runeberg and erected in 1894 — is located in the center of the Senate Square.
The figures surrounding Alexander II represent law, culture, and peasants. I personally liked the ornate lights.
What the…? Huh?!?
People go about their business downtown in Helsinki…
…as this tram plies the streets towards its destination: Senate Square.
Walk further south down Unioninkatu and you will reach Market Square. I purchased a couple of small souvenirs here, which are made in Finland — and you can use credit cards at these small vendors. One vendor was selling parts of antlers of reindeer, which he claimed grow back quickly within a few days.
Near Market Square is this monument known as Imperatrici Alexandrae.
The Vanha kauppahalli — known as the Old Market Hall near Market Square — was closed when I was there…
…but the architecture of the building was still quite interesting. I would have liked to have seen the inside of the building.
I then took a stroll down Esplanadi, which is colloquially known as Espa and is known in English as Esplanade Park.
Kappeli restaurant — which opened in 1867 — is located at the eastern end of Espa. This view faces west.
Upscale shops and restaurants line the north and south sides of Espa.
As with Helsinki Church, Espa was also designed by Carl Ludvig Engel.
A lone seagull adds his contribution to the head at the top of this statue…
…which is one of several statues in Espa.
Espa is a great place to watch people — which I did after I sat on one of the many benches.
Financial institutions are also located across the street from Espa.
Okay — on that note…
Helsinki is not one of those cities which is crammed filled with things to do — which was just fine with me. I enjoyed my visit to this slightly quirky yet walkable city; and I would recommend spending at least two nights here.
All photographs ©2017 by Brian Cohen.