When you first arrive at Helsinki railway station, you will notice a building which has a very unique style. Helsinki Central Railway Station – (or Rautatientori to the Finns) is indeed one of the most iconic examples of an Art Nouveau style of architecture in Helsinki, called National Romantic style. Finished in 1919, it fully reflected the spirit of its time.
Eliel Saarinen was the architect who won the competition for the railway’s design. Already famous for his work in the Romantic style, Saarinen submitted a promising design for the main railway station in Helsinki. His first design was very much romantic, and was similar in its style to the National Museum of Finland (one of his earlier creations). However, due to the changes in the mood and spirit of the Helsinki citizens, Eliel Saarinen was asked to produce a design more functional and modern in itself. That was also the turning point in Saarinen’s career; he decided to switch from Romanticism to the styles that were reflective of the modern times. This is how the design for Helsinki Railway Station was born.
When looking at the exterior of the Helsinki Railway Station, you can notice some of the main features that made it one of the most beautiful railway stations in the world (BBC included it in the Top 10 in 2014). The station is laid out of Finnish granite – a natural resource in abundance in Finland. The roof is made of copper. Its current greenie colour is the result of the material being oxidised. The gorgeous clock tower is an element that was common for the Jugendstill style. Two pairs of statues which are holding spherical lamps in their hands are greeting everyone who enters the station.
The station today has 19 platforms and is used to maintain good connections throughout the Helsinki region, the whole of Finland and also with Russia.
Next to the Central Helsinki Railway station you can find a stunning building called the Ateneum museum. Worth paying a visit if you happen to be nearby.
Enjoy your travelling!
Helsinki Guru ^^
With a population of just under 620,000, the capital of Finland – Helsinki could certainly not be described as a mega-city like Moscow or London. Its beauty is in its modest size – and reflects the equally small country population of just under 5.6 million people. But for what Helsinki lacks in size, it more than makes up with its personality, its history, its culture, its beautiful nature and its diverse array of architecture.
Helsinki is in many ways perfectly located for the avid travelers.
To give you an idea.
- NORTH – Lapland by train in 8.5-9 hours
- EAST – Moscow by sleeping train in 14 hours
- SOUTH – Tallinn by boat in 2.5 hours
- WEST – Stockholm by an overnight boat
- Or flights to many other major cities such as Tokio, Hong Kong, Rome, London, New York amongst many others.
You can find a great diversity of cultures, cuisines, architectural styles and personalities in Helsinki. For example – whilst wandering around the Senate Square and admiring the vast array of Russian “Empire Style” buildings, you can almost lose yourself and imagine you are once again a part of the Russian Imperial era, when this part of the city was created.
For the artistic souls, a pleasurable stroll around Katajanokka island will show you the second largest collection of Art Nouveau buildings in Europe (after Riga) as well as the great achievements of the Finnish National Romantic Style.
You can find superior buildings such as those designed by Alvar Aalto – Finlandia music hall, or the Stora Enso building. Perhaps for the Moomin fans amongst us, perhaps you want to take a stroll in “Tove Jansson park” – where Tove Jansson – the creator of the moomins, used to play as a child and spent her early years. Or for some nature try the beautiful Esplanadi park, or even a picturesque boat journey to Suomenlinna. All these things are only a very small part of what Helsinki has to offer.
In the series of blog posts we will tell you everything you should know about Helsinki and places around it so that you get the most out of your time here!
Stay with us!
Helsinki Guru ^^