Interesting facts about Helsinki


Helsinki is the capital and most populous city of Finland.

The city is geographically situated on the southern peninsula by the Gulf of Finland. Facing Tallinn (Estonia) across the bay, a number of islands, which are part of Helsinki, can be reached via boats and ferries.

As of June 2018, the population of Helsinki is about 650,000 people. The city’s urban area has a population of 1,231,595.

The city of Helsinki covers a total area of 715 square kilometers (276 square miles).

It is the most northerly of continental European capitals.

Helsinki has average elevation of 17 meters (56 feet) above sea level.


Malminkartanonhuippu is an artificial hill located near to Myyrmäki in the district of Malminkartano in Helsinki, Finland. With a height of approximately 90 meters (295 feet) above sea level, it is the highest point in the city of Helsinki.

Called the “Daughter of the Baltic”, Helsinki is on the tip of a peninsula and on 315 islands.

It is also often called the “white city of the north” because many of its buildings are constructed of a local light-colored granite.

In the Iron Age the area occupied by present day Helsinki was inhabited by Tavastians.


Helsinki was established as a trading town by King Gustav I of Sweden in 1550 as the town of Helsingfors, which he intended to be a rival to the Hanseatic city of Reval (today known as Tallinn).

Russia conquered Finland in 1809. The status of Helsinki was raised to capital of the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland three years later.

Finland became independent in 1917, and Helsinki assumed the demanding new role of capital of the young republic.

Today, Helsinki has one of the highest urban standards of living in the world.


Helsinki Cathedral is the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran cathedral of the Diocese of Helsinki, located in the neighborhood of Kruununhaka in the centre of Helsinki, Finland. The church was originally built from 1830-1852 as a tribute to the Grand Duke of Finland, Tsar Nicholas I of Russia. It was also known as St Nicholas’ Church until the independence of Finland in 1917. It is a major landmark of the city.

helsinki cathedral

The Senate Square presents Carl Ludvig Engel’s architecture as a unique allegory of political, religious, scientific and commercial powers in the centre of Helsinki. The Square and its surroundings make up the oldest part of central Helsinki. Landmarks and famous buildings surrounding the square are the Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace, main building of the University of Helsinki, and Sederholm House, the oldest building of central Helsinki dating from 1757.

senate square

The Market Square is a central square in Helsinki. It is located in central Helsinki, at the eastern end of Esplanadi and bordering the Baltic Sea to the south and Katajanokka to the east. The Presidential Palace and Helsinki City Hall are located adjacent to Market Square.

market square

Temppeliaukio Church is a Lutheran church in the Töölö neighborhood of Helsinki. The church was designed by architects and brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen and opened in 1969. Built directly into solid rock, it is also known as the Church of the Rock and Rock Church.

temppeliaukio church

Suomenlinna or Sveaborg literal translation Castle of Finland, is an inhabited sea fortress built on six islands. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and popular with tourists and locals, who enjoy it as a picturesque picnic site. The Swedish crown commenced the construction of the fortress in 1748 as protection against Russian expansionism.


The biggest historical museum in Helsinki is the National Museum of Finland, which displays a vast historical collection from prehistoric times to the 21st century.

The city’s main musical venues are the Finnish National Opera, the Finlandia concert hall, and the Helsinki Music Centre.

The Helsinki Festival is an annual arts and culture festival, which takes place every August (including the Night of the Arts).

After Stockholm and Oslo, Helsinki is the third largest city in the Nordic countries.


After a great fire destroyed a third of the town in 1808, Carl Ludwig Engel (1778-1840) was commissioned to rebuild it, and the resulting Neoclassical city center is laid out in wide handsome streets and boulevards with plentiful parks.

Russian Emperor Alexander I of Russia moved the Finnish capital from Turku to Helsinki in 1812 to reduce Swedish influence in Finland, and to bring the capital closer to Saint Petersburg.

Helsinki is home to numerous Art Nouveau-influenced buildings belonging to the romantic nationalism trend, designed in the early 20th century and strongly influenced by Kalevala, which was a common theme of the era.

The City of Helsinki has about 11,000 boat berths and possesses over 14,000 hectares of marine fishing waters adjacent to the Capital Region.

Helsinki was the World Design Capital for 2012, the venue for the 1952 Summer Olympics, and the host of the 52nd Eurovision Song Contest.

In Helsinki slang, the city is called Stadi (from the Swedish word stad, meaning “city”). Hesa (short for Helsinki), is not used by natives of the city. Helsset is the Northern Sami name of Helsinki.