Vanhankaupunki (old city), Helsinki
The city of Helsinki is was founded by Gustavus Vasa, the king of Sweden, more than 450 years ago.
He needed the city as a new trading post in southern Finland and a competitor to Tallinn in Estonia.
People from Rauma, Ulvila, Porvoo and Tammisaari had to move to Helsinki on the king's request. The date on which this order was issued, 12.6.1550, is regarded as the date on which the city was founded.
Today a monument marks the spot where the city's history started.
If you want to know more about the history of Helsinki, try the link.
Helsinki does not have a real old city (as Helsinki is not so old, only 450 years) but we have a place called 'Old City' where the king of Sweden put the corner stone for what became later on Helsinki.
Short walk around old city was not very tiresome. The city has seemed rather small, but beautiful enough. Some fundamental buildings have drawn our attention.
Next time we shall try to make out them more attentively.
The "old city" of Helsinki is not even 200 years old. However, it has a very Central European feel, quite unlike the rest of the city. As the city centre is in fact the old city you are bound to see it when you go shopping, visit cafés or nightclubs, but it is not a sight in itself.
Helsinki does have Old Town, but it is not where you would think it is... Old Town is actually 5 km north of the modern Helsinki city centre. Old Town was built in the 16th century on the river mouth of the River Vantaa. The old town is a very minuscule but pittoresque part of Helsinki, close to nowadays Helsinki University Biotechnology campus. There is also Technical museum, which is interesting to see.
Bus 68 or 71, from Rautatientori it takes 18 min to Vanhakaupunki bus stop.
Vanhankaupunginlahti (Bay of Old City) is said to be a bird paradise in middle of a metropol.
There are several towers built around the bay are for bird watching
And there is Gardenia (The Tropical Garden) in Viikki, where they may give you more advice
In March, while Vantaa river is flooding of smelted snow and carrying big floating ice planes, the rapids in Vanhakaupunki (Old City) are very impressive. Especially to children.
You can also do fishing in the rapid (or canoeing?)
And there is very good tecnical museum in the island between the water fall and the rapid "Kuninkaankartano" (=Kings manor) = place where the Swedish king would stay if he would come to the city which he established there in 1552 (if I remember right)
There is also a power station museum there...
Within Helsinki city limits you have the possibility to encounter nature in many different ways.
One are the rapids in the founding area of Helsinki in the north-eastern part.
Take bus #71 from the main railway station and hop out at Vanhakaupunki.
Beside the rapids of the river Vantaa mouthing into the sea you can have a look at the oldest part of Helsinki, the Technical museum and hike in the well-known area where bird fanatics go and spot some special birds..