The City of Helsinki is the most cosmopolitan of all of Finland's cities. While it's not like New York or London, it has a diverse population where Finnish and Swedish are the most frequently-spoken languages. Almost everyone in the Port of Helsinki speaks English, and many residents know several languages. At its best in the summer, the Port of Helsinki is surrounded by the sea. Located on a large archipelago in the Gulf of Finland, the Port of Helsinki enjoys a wonderful natural setting. For information on the many attractions and events in the Port of Helsinki, please refer to the city's tourism website.
Located on the sea, the Port of Helsinki enjoys a temperate continental climate with milder winters and warmer summers than many other places in Finland. Due to its northern location, winter days can be a short as six hours, and clouds emphasize the long darkness. In the summer, however, days can last over 18 hours at the summer solstice. Temperatures range from a high of 21 °C (70 °F) in July to a low of -7.7 °C (18 °F) in January. Rainfall is relatively even throughout the year, although it is rainiest from July until November.
Visitors to the Port of Helsinki should not miss a trip to Suomenlinna, the "Gibraltar of the North." Once the strongest sea fortress on the Baltic, it was built by the Swedes in the middle 18th Century to protect their eastern borders. Today, the island is home to less than one thousand residents, and it still holds 18th Century buildings and few automobiles. Visitors will find many old fortifications, catacombs, and cannons on the island as well as many restaurants, museums, theaters, and cafes. Listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1991, the island is a popular tourist destination and picnic spot for residents of the Port of Helsinki.
In the island's Visitors Centre, the Suomenlinna Museum tells the story of the fortress island up to today. Exhibits contain articles used by the early soldiers including tools, weapons, and ammunition as well as utility items. Visitors will learn about the lives of the Swedish soldiers, Russian merchants, and Finnish civil war prisoners who have occupied the island over the years.
Another popular attraction is the Seurasaari Open-Air Museum on a lovely green island near the heart of the Port of Helsinki. This collection of 100 historic buildings from all over Finland portrays live for Finnish residents over the past four centuries. Founded in 1909, the Seurasaari Open-Air Museum contains well-preserved buildings representing all lifestyles, from tenant farms to manor houses, cottages, country shops, and a parsonage.
The Temppeliaukio Kirkko, or Rock Church, is an amazing piece of modern architecture in the middle of a residential square in the Port of Helsinki. This 1952 marvel was constructed underground. With a ceiling of a huge copper wire spiral, the Rock Church was built inside a block of natural granite. From the street, it looks like an ancient tomb from Ireland, with only a copper dome above ground. Inside, the circular church is surrounded by bare rock walls. Some 180 vertical window panes provide peaceful and natural interior light. The Rock Church is not only a spiritual retreat. With outstanding acoustics, it is a popular venue for classical concerts. At 2 p.m. each Sunday, English-language worship services are held.
Travelers hoping to visit the Port of Helsinki by sea can find a long list of scheduled cruises on the Cruise Compete website.
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