Finland and Helsinki

Heart of HELSINKI the lively, modern capital of Finland, is Senate Square, or the Great Square. Since most of the buildings surrounding it were designed in the early nineteenth century by the same architect, the whole square forms a remarkably homogeneous and attractive sight. Architecturally it is Empire, with its neoclassical slanting roofs over bright-colored buildings. The north side is dominated by the magnificent Great Church of Helsinki, with its beautiful columns and minarets, while the old Helsinki University Building is on the western side. The only exception to these Empire buildings is the mansard-roofed Sederholm Residence, built in 1750. On Mannerbeim Road, the main boulevard, is the impressive, modern Eduskuntatalo (Parliament House) of red Finnish granite and the Kansallismuseo (National Museum), with its tower, incorporating the facades of a palace, a castle and a church. Just oft this road is the railway square, with the famous Rautatie Asema (Railway Station), one of the most beautiful public buildings in Finland; Ateneum Art Gallery and Kansallisteatteri (National Theater).

The Mannerheim Museo, a conspicuous yellow wooden house, was the home of C. G. Mannerheim, Marshall of Finland, and is now preserved as a museum with all his trophies and relies. Since the Finns are great sports-loving people, there are a number of stadiums in the capital, but the most important is Olympic Stadium, built for the 1952 Olympic Games. The top balcony of the stadium tower commands a wide view of the city, coastal islands and dense forests of the interior. Suomcnlinna, the Gibraltar of the North, is a group of fortified islands with ramparts protecting the approaches to Helsinki. This island fortress has had a long and stirring history, and the special atmosphere of former centuries can be felt even today. Visitors should also make the trip to Korkeasaari Island Zoo, rich in northern fauna. Seurasaari island, with its open-air museum and a village made up of original old wooden farm buildings from various districts, is a fine natural park and a popular swimming place. Folk dancing and an open-air theater take place during the summer. The most famous of all Helsinki festivals is the Sibelius Festival, held in early June in the Festival Hall of Helsinki University, in honor of Jean Sibelius, Finland’s native son….

The tourist cannot help being struck by the profusion of lakes in Finland, and no one should miss taking a cruise through one of the important watercourses on a white passenger steamer. In this way, travel to AULANKO NATIONAL PARK, the number one lake resort near Hameenlinna, Sibelius’ native town. Here you can enjoy the excellent beach, a traditional sauna (Finnish steam bath) or a restful afternoon by the idyllic swan lake Former Finland Travel” capital TURKU …. second largest city in Finland, dating back to about 1150, grew up round its famous Cathedral. Its archipelago is considered the most beautiful in the country, and the Turku Castle an outstanding landmark. . . . Unique experiences are provided by a thrilling rapid-shooting trip in the north, demonstrations by lumberjacks of their hazardous skills in several log-rolling contests or a trip to KILPISJARVI, in the heart of the vast, barren arctic expanse north of the Arctic Circle, where herds of reindeer are tended by colorfully costumed Lapps.


Saint-Denis, Ile de France

The consecration of the new western facade and new choir of the abbey church of Saint-Denis in Paris in 1144 had a Europe-wide impact. On the artistic level to begin with since it was there and around the personality of the Abbot Suger that Gothic art took its first steps. On the facade, the first statue-columns, carved from the same block as the column whose form they blend with; inside, at the far western end of the renovated Carolingian nave, the first ambulatory beneath crossed arches offers a uniform space, unified by a remarkable luminosity. But the impact was also political since, given the close ties between Saint-Denis and French royalty, this event also seemed to consecrate a new European political order in which the kingdoms of France and England gained ascendancy over the German and Byzantine Empires.