Photographer's Note

Finnish summer (sunny promenade), Helsinki

Situated in the heart of Helsinki, the Esplanade serves as a promenade for tourists and a place to relax for city residents. The park and the Espa Stage host many popular events, including the Marimekko Fashion Show and raising of the midsummer pole accompanied by folk dancing in June and the Jazz-Espa concert series on weekdays throughout July. The promenade of the Esplanade park continues in the Market square. Around the Market Square (Kauppatori) are many of the most loved landmarks, which have become an important part of daily life. Market Square lies at the very eastern side of the Esplanadi and next to the Baltic Sea, being home to sights such as Helsinki Town Hall (Kaupungintalo). But, we find the Presidential Palace (Presidentinlinna) here. Many regular ferries also depart next to the market square, travelling to neighbouring islands, such as Suomenlinna, and have become natural landmarks in their own right.

A short history of Helsinki

At the command of Gustavus Wasa, the King of Sweden, Helsinki was built at the mouth of the River Vantaa in 1550. The King ordered the burghers from Rauma, Ulvila, Porvoo and Tammisaari to move to Helsinki. The new town was supposed to compete for Russian trade with the town of Tallinn on the opposite shore of the Gulf of Finland.
For a long time, Helsinki grew very slowly. In the hope of attaining a better harbour, Helsinki was relocated further south to its current location by the open sea in the mid-17th century.

In the 18th century, Helsinki had to face great ordeals: war, plague and famine. The Russians invaded Helsinki during the Greater Wrath lasting from 1713 to 1721, and again in 1742. Fortification of Helsinki became a priority of the Swedish defence policy.
In 1748, the construction of a sea fortress at Suomenlinna, which is among the largest in Europe, was begun. The fortress was then known as the Gibraltar of the North. The fortress is currently a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it received the Europa Nostra award in 2000.

As a result of a war between Sweden and Russia, Finland was annexed as an autonomous Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire. Helsinki was made the capital of the Grand Duchy in 1812, after which the historical Empire-style centre was built around Helsinki Cathedral. The country¿s only university was moved from Turku to Helsinki in 1827.

In the late 19th century, Helsinki grew rapidly and developed into a modern European city. Transport links important for an industrial town were created by building railroads to Hämeenlinna in 1862 and to St Petersburg in 1870. The population exceeded the 100,000-inhabitant mark at the beginning of the 20th century.
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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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