Sights & Attractions This Week
These are some of the most captivating sights in Helsinki. Totally free of charge and safe to experience!
Urho Kaleva Kekkonen (1900-1986), UKK, was elected President of Finland in 1956 and held the office continuously until his resignation in 1981. The monument is made by sculptor Pekka Jylhä, and it’s located in the Hakasalmi Park next to Finlandia Hall. It consists of a drop-shaped spring, glistening water and four bronze hands. The bronze hands are set on top of 8-metre-high posts just behind the pool. Jylhä explains that president Kekkonen was a man who used his hands both to express himself and to think things through and, according to historical sources, he always wrote by hand.
In the Sibelius park, you can find the world-famous composer Jean Sibelius’s (1865-1957) monument by sculptor Eila Hiltunen. The Sibelius Monument resembles organ pipes and is made of welded steel, with the bust of the composer on one side. It is one of Helsinki’s most popular statues and one of the most well-known tourist attractions. The monument is 8,5m high, 10,5m wide and 6,5m deep. It is built of over 600 pipes and weighs 24 tons.
KAISANIEMI BOTANICAL GARDEN
Kaisaniemi Botanical Garden maintains a collection of live plants for use in research and teaching. The outdoor garden, covering approximately four hectares, attracts visitors to experience the world of plants. In the summertime, perhaps the most beautiful part of the grounds is the central garden, an open area with ponds and flowers, bordered by the glasshouses and rose bushes. A historic stone building envisioned as the king’s castle now houses a herbarium in the middle of the garden. Ten glasshouses open to the public offer a glimpse into the plant life of torrid deserts, humid rainforests and tropical wetlands.
The Parliament House is the seat of the Parliament of Finland. It is designed by architect J.S. Sirén (compl. 1931). Sirén designed the Parliament House in a stripped classical architectural style combining neoclassicism with early twentieth-century modernism. The exterior is made of red Kalvola granite, and fourteen columns with Corinthian capitals line the façade. The building has five floors, each of which is unique. The floors are connected by a white marble staircase and famous paternoster lifts. Most important places to visit are the main lobby, the stately plenary chamber and the large reception hall, the so-called Hall of State.
HELSINKI CENTRAL LIBRARY OODI
Oodi is Helsinki’s Central Library and a living meeting place. Its wide range of services and facilities are available seven days a week, from early in the morning till late in the evening. Oodi is located right at the heart of Helsinki. A design competition in 2012 to build the library was won by the Finnish architectural firm ALA Architects and structural design by Ramboll Finland.
The Presidential Palace is one of the official residences of the President of Finland. It is situated on the north side of Esplanadi, overlooking Market Square. Architect Pehr Granstedt designed the first designs and construction of the building and, before becoming an imperial palace in 1845, architect Carl Ludvig Engel directed and supervised the necessary rebuilding and furnishing work. Unfortunately, the Presidential Palace is not open for public, but it is still worth seeing (and remember to take photos!).
The Senate Square presents Carl Ludvig Engel’s architecture as a unique allegory of political, religious, scientific and commercial powers in the centre of the city. Landmarks and famous buildings surrounding the square include the Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace, main building of the University of Helsinki, and Sederholm House which is the oldest building of central Helsinki dating from 1757. You’ll find the statue of Emperor Alexander II in the centre of the square.