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Helsinki (Swedish Helsingfors) is the capital of Finland. It is located in the southern part of Finland on the shore of the Gulf of Finland. Helsinki forms a conurbation with three other cities, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen, which are together called the capital area (see Helsinki Metropolitan Area). This area has a total population of almost a million.

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Helsinki is located at 60°10'24" North, 24°56'55" East (60.173333, 24.948667)1.

The city has a total area of 686 km² (264.8 mi²). 186 km² (71.8 mi²) of it is land and 500 km² (193 mi²) of the area is covered with water.


Helsinki was founded in 1550, following an order by the king of Sweden, Gustav Vasa. At that time, however, Helsinki was little more than a place for the King and his retinue to stay while they were away from the capital Turku on hunting trips. Helsinki only became the capital of Finland in 1812 when Finland was captured from Sweden by Russia.

The original foundation was at the mouth of the Vantaa river but the population eventually migrated somewhat to the west of there in order to take advantage of better sea-anchorage.

Sights and travel

Helsinki spreads around a number of bays and over a number of islands. Suomenlinna is a fortress built on one small group of these islands in the mid-eighteenth century. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a popular tourist attraction. Another popular sight is the Helsinki zoo located on an island named Korkeasaari[?].

Air travel to Helsinki is via the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. Helsinki also has popular ferry links with Stockholm, Sweden and Tallinn, Estonia. Silja, Viking and Tallink[?] are the biggest ferry operators.


Population (2001/2002): 559 718
Female: 53,5%
Male: 46,5%
Swedish-speaking: 6,4%
Foreigners: 5,0%

Average temperature (2001): +5,9C
Warmest month, July, average temperature: +20,2C
Coldest month, February, average temperature: -6,8C

External links

  • City of Helsinki (http://www.hel.fi/) - lots of services also for tourists
  • University of Helsinki (http://www.helsinki.fi/) - a rather misleading URL
  • Suomenlinna (http://www.suomenlinna.fi/)
  • Korkeasaari (http://www.hel.fi/zoo/) - the Zoo
  • YTV (http://www.ytv.fi/aikataulut/index) - public transport timetables for the greater Helsinki Area

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

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