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Take a stroll through Finnish life; Helsinki.

HELSINKI is the capital of Finland and offers a relaxed and laid-back vibe, the ideal place for chilling out for a few hours. The beauty of the city is that most of the main attractions are within walking distance of each other, making it perfect for visiting while on a cruise.

One third of Helsinki is covered in green areas so is a great place to enjoy the great outdoors. Just a few places to visit include Esplanade Park, a brilliant location for visitors to take in contemporary Finnish culture and which holds events throughout the year, Helsinki Zoo, Linnanmaki Amusement Park and Seurasaari Open-Air Museum, which provides a fascinating insight into Finnish folk tradition and housing in days gone by. The buildings reflect the life of crofters, peasants and gentry from the 18th to the 20th century and guides in national costume take visitors on an authentic journey back in time.

If it's culture that you're after then you have come to the right place. The Ateneum Art Museum houses the largest collection of art in Finland with a collection of over 20,000 pictures dating from the 1750s to the 1950s. The building itself was designed by the architect, Theodor Hoijer and was completed in 1887.

Try the National Museum of Finland for a lesson in Finnish history from prehistoric times to the present day. Workshop Vintti on the third floor is an interactive exhibition especially designed for children, where visitors can study the history of Finland and its culture.

For something a bit more cutting edge, the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma breaks the boundaries of traditional art museums. Collections include Finnish and foreign art, particularly from the Nordic and Baltic countries and Russia from 1960s onwards. And the Kiasma Theatre''s programme includes drama, dance, performance, music, multimedia, film and video art.

Well worth a visit while you are in Helsinki is the Senate Square and its surroundings, which provide a unique example of Neoclassical architecture. The square is dominated by four buildings designed by Carl Ludvig Engel between 1822 and 1852: Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace, the main building of the University of Helsinki and the National Library of Finland. The oldest stone building in Helsinki is the Sederholm House located on the south east corner of the square.

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Helsinki is Temppeliaukio Church, which has been quarried out of the natural bedrock with the interior walls having been created naturally by the rock. The church

was designed by architects, Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen and, due to its excellent acoustics, the church is a popular venue for concerts held throughout the year.

Another beautiful building which is a must-see for visitors is the Uspenski Cathedral, found in the Katajanokka district of Helsinki. The largest orthodox church in Western Europe, the building was completed in 1868 and, with its golden cupolas and red brick facade, the church is one of the clearest symbols of the Russian impact on Finnish history.

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The waterfront at Helsinki is a great place to watch boats come and go and the city has a wealth of places to visit, like Uspenski Cathedral, top, right, the largest Orthodox church in western Europe and, below, Senate Square and its surroundings
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUFI
Date:Oct 18, 2012
Words:545
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