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Helsinki
The capital of Finland, Helsinki, is a romantic place which has even got a special name "Daughter of the Baltic Sea". What makes the city of Helsinki and all its attractions unique is the fact that it is located on 315 islands in the mouth of the Vantaa River.

The history of Helsinki started after 1748, when the Swedes determined to construct a mighty fortress on the Finnish territory to protect its borders from Russia. The history of the fortress as a military stronghold is not too heroic, but the monumental building makes every lover of fortifications and artillery weapons tremble with delight.

Inside the massive fortifications, there grew a town. From time to time, Helsinki suffered in the heat of fires, and in 1808 it was burned down almost completely. But each time the settlement was rebuilt and became better than ever. Thus, many attractions of Helsinki are neoclassical and appeared in the first half of the 19th century just as the center of the capital, the Senate Square, was created. Seeing the Senate Square is usually the beginning of a tour around the Finnish capital. This is the largest city square, 7 thousand square meters, and a symbol of Helsinki. The most impressive building here is, of course, the Metropolitan Lutheran Cathedral. Its construction lasted for 22 years and was completed in 1852.

Against the background of snow-white walls of the cathedral, there is a statue of Emperor Alexander II, highly respected by the Finns for the two good things: he coined the Finnish mark and created the Finnish state.

At the foot of the monument there is a kind of a compass with the four allegorical figures: Peace, facing the cathedral in the north; Law, directed towards the Palace of Government in the east; Labour, leading to the University in the west; and finally, Light in the south where the Town Hall is located. Thus, the bewildered guests wishing to explore the sights of Helsinki will always find the way.

Heading from the Senate Square towards the heart of the city, in the direction of the Central Station, one can enjoy a romantic castle which, in fact, is the Finnish National Theatre. It is also the place of the National Archive which houses the most important documents from Finnish history. Behind the building of the National Theatre, there stretches a magnificent botanical garden of the University.

As we continue seeing the sights of Helsinki, we come across the Houses of Parliament built in the style of monumental classicism. The Museum of Sciences is located nearby and is easily recognizable due to a bronze sculpture of an elk before the entrance. Hence, we proceed to one of the main attractions of Helsinki, the church in Tempelaukkio rock. This architectural marvel is situated entirely inside the rock, and only its transparent dome can be seen from outside. Apart from the fact that it is the parish Lutheran Church, it serves as a venue for concerts.

Somewhat aloof from the hiking route there is one of the most visited symbols of the capital, a monument to the composer Jan Sibelius. The monumental design makes the impressive construction a recognized masterpiece of abstract sculpture.

Returning to the main street of the city - Mannerheim Avenue - one can see a lot of other sights of Helsinki, the Art Museum being one of them. Helsinki Zoo is on the neighboring island, where about 200 species of animals live in their natural habitat. And then there is the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Eureka Research Centre, the Serena Water Park, and many other attractions.






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