Hotels - Helsinki, an Introduction

By: Liam G

The capital city of Helsinki is situated on the most southern peninsula of Finland and spills out into an archipelago of 315 small islands, surrounding forests and countryside.

Considering the city is 450 years old, it only became the capital in 1812, when Russia seized control from Finland and wanted a capital closer to their border. Since then the city has expanded considerably, with statistics revealing that it is one of the EU's fastest growing areas.

Russia's past ruling is still pretty evident throughout the city, especially within Senate Square, where there is a wealth of neo-classical buildings such as the Orthodox Uspenski Cathedral and Tuomio Church. During 1917 Finland claimed its independence and since then the city has boomed through modern architectural movements.

The Functionalist architect Alvar Aalto, often referred to as the "Father of Modernism", has left his mark on the city, designing such buildings as the Helsinki Univ. of Tech and Finlandia Hall.

The natural materials and uncluttered shapes of Helsinki's buildings blend wonderfully with the myriad of parks and other green spaces spread throughout the city.

During the long winter months there are many attractions for visitors; with skating, skiing, sailing, and ice-fishing or just simply soaking in a sauna being popular pastimes. The city is perfect for exploration on foot, with many of the main attractions covering a small area.

Some popular destinations include the Rock Church; a space blasted out of solid rock, topped with a copper dome and lit by dazzling windows; Suomenlinna Sea Fortress; dating back to 1748 and now a UNESCO site, the fortress spans a series of interconnected islands and offers numerous historic buildings and museums; Sibelius Park; home of the Sibelius Monument, a magnificent monument made from hundreds of steel pipes.

During the summer months, the city comes alive, with some days offering 22 hours of sunlight. The bars overflow into the streets an there is a multitude of colourful market squares, outdoor concerts sports events and seaside parks around the city.

There is also a wealth of excellent restaurants for every taste and budget and excellent hotels open all year round. Hotels are found in all of the cities and major towns, and finding a cheap hotels is easily done online.

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