Friday, October 19, 2007

Helsinki: Suomenlinna

On occasion we will stray from coverage of specific buildings or architects to discuss special places. This post will do just that. This is a long slide show but worth the time is takes to watch it.

A short ride ferry ride from Senate Square in Helsinki is the Swedish sea fort of Suomenlinna. The sea fort occupies six islands and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Suomenlinna was built by the Swedish in 1748 to defend the city of Helsinki from Russian expansion. It didn't work. The Russians took control of Finland less than 60 years later. Today it is home to a select few, but enjoyed by all Fins as a wonderful island park. It is part military museum with old cannons and large guns pointed towards Russia, part shipyard...oh it is hard to describe, but really a special place. In the summer, many come for picnics here. All year round it is an escape for teens who want their own place away from the city. Some of the old military buildings have been restored and are used for special events. It seems that down every path there is a cool building or munitions storage cave, or a beached submarine.

The entire island seems to be a floating piece of granite. The large faces of, wind and snow polished rock seem to rise up right from the Bay of Finland. The vivid colors of the buildings, the eclectic architecture, the large cruise ships passing, it is really a surreal experience. The dark blue sky and the sun low on the horizon reminds you that you really are in a city that is on top of the world. Check out more about Suomenlinna on the official website HERE.

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