8. Helsinki: Historical Highlights Self-Guided Audio Tour
Terve! Welcome to Helsinki, the capital of Finland. On this walking tour, I’ll show you around the city while I share its historical ties to Sweden and Russia and fill you in on Finnish culture. Our walk begins in the shadows of Helsinki Cathedral in Senate square, the city’s political, religious, scientific, and commercial center. From there, I’ll point out some of the city’s main sites, and a few lesser-known ones too, like the Helsinki City Museum, one of the city’s oldest buildings. It’s home to approximately 1.5 million artifacts. I’ll also share a few amazing stories like how a salt warehouse was transformed into the Presidential Palace and how the Uspenski Cathedral, the largest orthodox church in Western Europe, was built. You’ll have the opportunity to stroll through Market Square, just like locals do, and hear the story of the Empress’ Stone. You’ll see Helsinki’s old market hall, and I’ll tell you how the First World War and the Finnish Civil War affected it. While you stroll through Esplanade Park, I’ll fill you in on the festival of Vappu and the story of Havis Amanda, the bronze statue that caused a splash when it was first revealed. Along the way, you can look forward to: • Decoding the symbolism hidden in the Alexander II sculpture • Taking in the impressive Allas Sea Pool and SkyWheel • Walking through the most famous park in Finland, Esplanade Park, which is also the green heart of Helsinki • Discovering the “Kappeli” restaurant, a local favorite among poets, writers, and artists in the 1900s • Finding out about Johan Ludvig Runeberg, a famous Finnish author, poet, and priest with Swedish roots • Hearing stories about the Swedish theatre, Svenska Teatern, and finding out about its current status • Passing by Stockmann, the oldest department store in Finland • Strolling down Alexander Street, one of the main shopping streets for locals This 90-minute tour is perfect for anyone who wants a taste of Finnish history while enjoying a glorious stroll in the heart of Helsinki!