July 8, 2013
Helsinki, with an urban population of 1.3 million, is, according to Wikipedia, “the world’s northernmost metro area of over one million people”.
The former 16th century Swedish trading outpost was made the capital of Finland by the Russians in 1812. They had it redesigned by the German architect, Carl Ludvig Hengle in the style of St. Petersburg. Today the stylish city has an interesting mix of 19th century neoclassical and more contemporary architectural styles including a number of examples of art nouveau or deco.
The Rick Steves walking tour described in his guide book is a fun way to see the city’s architectural highlights in a day.
The wide parkland esplanade is lined with stylish shops and cafés with outdoor seating.