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The Central Railway Station Area
Another place that mustn't be missed is Helsinki's Central Train Station and the area surrounding it.
Some of the best attractions of the city are here and the train station itself constitutes a unique attraction.
The railway station is right in the heart of the city. It's a good spot to start your day trip out from.
The area also has a metro station, so it'll be fairly easy to get around from there...
The Finnish National Theatre, the Ateneum Art Museum, the Casino and several good restaurants.
Helsinki Central Railway Station
Although Helsinki's first railway station was opened in 1860, the construction was adapted to more intense traffic at the beginning of the 20th century.
This building has actually made it into my top favourite buildings category. And, to me it was the most beautiful building of the Finnish capital.
The main entrance of the station
The building has a peculiar Gotham city-like feel and thus, has that strong early 1900's US metropolitan look. If you watched old movies, old photographs of New York or, if you've seen those earlier Batman movies or cartoons, you'll know what I'm talking about.
I loved the clocktower, especially lit-up as seen here - early in the evening
To me it looked strongly like Art Deco (which I have a deep passion for), but locals call this style: National Romantic Style or Modern Industrial Rational Style.
The train station building dates back to the year 1909, but the station was officially opened only in 1919.
The Art Deco style is dated to the 1930's and 1940's. At least a decade later.
So, despite it building looking eerily Art Deco to me, it's not!
Locally, its style is considered "Late Jugend Style", which means Late Art Nouveau.
This came as a big surprise.
Due to the precise geometrical elements, straight lines, flat surfaces, less decorations and strong Art Deco feel...
But if you like Art Nouveau and you know at least a bit about it, then you will indeed observe some slight elements that are borrowed or transformed from that source.
The building was indeed design during a period when it could have belonged to Art Nouveau and, it was too early to say it's Art Deco.
The architect who designed it was Eliel Saarinen.
While in Helsinki, I walked around the area several times to admire the unique building.
If I start thinking, I guess I'd have to say - the Central Railway Station is my favourite attraction in Helsinki!
These fellows have been holding the spheres for over a century now...
I went inside to check out how it is from the inside... At least I got to see how Finnish trains look like.
Despite the small population of just under 5 and a half million people, Finland is huge. So a good rail network of over 8.000 km ensures connection between faraway locations.
I guess this is the Finnish high-speed train
Unfortunately, a major accident occurred on January 4th, 2010 (which was a few months after my visit): 4 empty passenger carriages overran platform 13's buffers (that unlucky number again, but I'm not too superstitious, by the way) and ran into a Holiday Inn hotel... no-one got injured.
Double decker rail coaches!
This was the sight at the tram station right in front of the Central Railway Station...
I do feel sorry for poor people, including beggars.
Just that some "beggars" are pretending while working together with pickpockets (prospecting the area, signaling the gang if there are cops around etc.).
One can observe that some beggars place themselves in "strategic" positions. Like this woman on the photo below.
It must be very uncomfortable to sit there right at the edge of the station, exactly at the spot of a busy pedestrian crossing. I doubt she "installed herself" there because more people would give her money.
In fact, a bit further, there is just as much traffic. There were lots of better places with less wind, less noise and still - just as many people.
But this is a "strategic position". Some of these "beggars" are the eyes of the thief gangs kind-of-like the "central command", the "radar" that can detect possible target or, warn if any bullocks are on patrol in the area...
Strategically-placed beggar in Helsinki
The Finnish National Theatre and Other Attractions
The building was finished in 1902 and has that "thick rocky feel" - a style that's quite abundant in Helsinki.
There's a statue of Aleksis Kivi in front of it - the Finnish national romantic writer.
The National Theatre
Buy hey, it's "Kivi", not "kiwi".
Apart from this, I saw several other attractive buildings around. I guess this part of the city is sort-of-like "the main square".
A few more photos taken in the area can be found below...
Ateneum Art Museum
There's even a casino here
Elegant casino building
Fennia building - Beaux Arts style, 1899
About the Author:
Escape Hunter, the young solo traveler in his early 30's explores the World driven by curiosity, thirst for adventure, deep passion for beauty, love for freedom and diversity.
With a nuanced, even humorous approach to travel, an obsession for art and design, Escape Hunter prefers to travel slowly, in order to learn and "soak up" the local atmosphere...
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