Capital Region - Urban Life and Nature
The historic city of Helsinki (founded 1550)
lives on in the elegant neoclassical centre and in the robust island
fortifications of Suomenlinna, which is one of the largest fortresses in the
world. This 17th century naval fort is on UNESCO's World Heritage list, and in
1998, it celebrated its 250th anniversary.
Helsinki, one of the
European Cultural Capitals in 2000, presents a fascinating kaleidoscope of
cultural, sporting and outdoor events. The cultural life of Helsinki finds
expression in its many museums, in the Opera House and the Finlandia Hall.
Helsinki has been chosen the World Design Capital 2012. Modern architecture is indeed represented by Temppeliaukion kirkko (the "Rock Church"), and Kiasma, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the new Music Centre. The year 2012 will be significant for Helsinki, as it will also host the European Championships in Athletics at the Olympic Stadium of 1952, one of the most important examples of Finnish Functionalism.The City of Espoo is best known for the Garden City of Tapiola. For art lovers, there is Espoo Museum of Modern Art Emma.Tarvaspää, the studio home of Finland's best-loved painter Akseli Gallen-Kallela, is also worth a visit.
In Vantaa, the Saint Lawrence Church and Sotunki village are both places of historical and cultural interest. Furthermore, the City of Vantaa is the proud host of Heureka, ranked among the best science centres in the world.
As an antidote to
busy town life, you can find serenity in Finland's southernmost
wilderness area Nuuksio National Park just 30 minutes from the centre of the
capital. It offers nature lovers and hikers
unspoiled forests, beautiful lakes and rocky escarpments to explore.