Hosts to 1952 Olympic Games, Helsinki offers the same charm as it’s nordic cousins. More popular tourist destinations tend to be newer (think 20th century) but that doesn’t mean the city doesn’t have it’s fair share of historical sites.
What I Saw
Officially known as Temppeliaukio Church, this Lutheran church was completed in 1969. Built into the rock, the design of this church was selected by competition in the early 1960’s. The original design featured a larger space, but the interior was scaled back due to budget constraints. In addition to being a popular tourist destination, the church is also famous for its acoustics (which is a byproduct of the exposed rock walls). Concerts are held here on a regular basis.
Dedicated to Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, this monument is a popular tourist destination due to it’s unique design. Like the Rock Church, the design of the monument was determined via competition. The likeness of Sibelius was included as an afterthought when critics complained that the sculpture was too avant-garde. Myth has it that the wind sings as it flows through the pipes of the monument, but it’s nearly impossible to hear with all the tourists providing background noise.
- Arctic Ice Bar: Located a short distance from Helsinki is a bar made entirely out of ice. Everything from the bar, stools, and even cups are fashioned out of ice. Even though I’m not a big drinker, it seems worth the trip just for the experience.
- Saunas: There’s an average of one sauna per household in Finland so it’s fitting that visiting one should be on the travel agenda.