Thursday, May 7, 2009

Temple church inside the rock

There is a church in Helsinki that don't look all that much of anything seen from the outside. The reason being that it's built inside the rockface. All you see is half a dome sticking over the rock with a stonewall around it. I had no time to go inside this time but it's certainly worth a visit. Perhaps I'll get inside too one of these days. Not that I haven't been but never with a camera in hand. Anyway here is what you can see of it from the outside as well as a bit of the street going past it underneath the rocky hill.

On the other side of the hill lies the entry, which looks pretty boring. Don't let that fool you though. Inside it is very atmospheric and also many classical music concerts are held in this church because the acustics work very well.

I took such a lot of photos that day at the end of March so these 'wintery' scenes just keep on coming. I will do a new shoot later in the summer when all the flowers are in full bloom.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kamppi busstation

There's the Mayday celebrations and carneval in Helsinki and other cities of Finland today and tomorrow. Unfortunately you will not be witness to these happenings through this blog as I'm heading off to the peace and quiet of the countryside for a few days.

Instead I leave you to ponder over the new built-in busstation complex Kamppi and on top of that a couple of furry creatures that I came across in the old town region.

The finnish horse, a tough and winter hardy working horse breed. Here undergoing a changing of fur and thus looking quite scruffy.

Another Gottland Russ pony. Also seemingly under process of changing fur.

In case you should wonder, all these photos in my blog were taken in the end of March. So the snow and ice was still present and not a lot of greenery. Not so anymore.

Happy Mayday everyone!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Main street and the Natural Science Museum

This is the main street in Helsinki called the Mannerheim Road just passed the Parliament Building. It's the longest street and other streets leading to very many different parts cross this one along the line. On the left is the Sokos department store and further along the oldest and most prestigous store called Stockman. On the left is the Forum shopping center in four levels. In the middle you see one of those trams mentioned previously aproaching. To the left from this point is the railway station and to the right is the new built in bus station and shopping complex Kamppi (which we'll come to a bit later). A corner of the modern art museum Kiasma is showing at the very right edge of the picture.

Before we look at Kamppi we'll explore a few other bits and pieces. This building is the Natural Science Museum where you can enjoy and learn about the origins of life all to the species belonging to the finnish flora and fauna. The statue outside the entrance is an elk (amer. moose).

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Finlandia House and Parliament Building

Also along the bay of Toolo lies the Finlandia House, which was designed by the world famous architect Alvar Aalto (R.I.P.) also known for his furniture designs.

All sorts of venues take place in this building, which is panelled with italian marmor plates. International political conferences, fashion and cosmetics shows, concerts (mainly classical) and other types of medium sized fairs are among those venues. Larger fairs and shows take place in the Pasila Fair Center.

The red tower to the right is that of the Finnish National History Museum and to the left is the corner of the Parliament Building.

This is the facade of the Parliament Building, where the political parties gather to debate political issues with the ministers of the government. That is then televised. The different speaches are timed by a Mr Speaker (earlier it was Madam Speaker). All in all a pretty common political system within Europe.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Two opera houses, old and new

This is the old opera house that then just became too small. Notice the cobbled street. In a few places these old cobbled streets have still been kept as they were originally made.

This modern version was then built a few years back by the bay of Toolo

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Johannes church

Here is a view from the railway bridge back towards the center

The two spires belong to the Johannes church

This is a closer view of the church

Now I'm again two days away so I'll leave you with a cute little fellow that I found during one of my walks in the old town region. This is a Gottland pony (no taller than a great dane) also called Gottland russ. (Gottland is an island in Sweden).

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The railway

Railways are perhaps not a thing of beauty but as I said at the beginning my aim is not to only show such things that I would consider beautiful but to show a picture of Helsinki the way I see it, wheather it be old, modern, quaint, nature, plantations or just constructions. The first two photos belong to the last category but even along the tracks are some nice details to see other than the bay which they run over.

Railroad viewed from the other side of the bay - or rather I was at that point right in the middle of it walking over the ice.

View from the railwaybridge towards Pasila and the main TV tower, a buzzling center of its own where there are amongst other things the ice stadium Hartwall Areena and the big fair center Messukeskus. Mostly the architecture there is modern. Any old buildings have had to give way but a few back streets with small, old and quite primitive wooden houses still exist even there. One of my friends lives in such a house.

Close to the railway bridge high up over the banks are a few of these romantically pastel coloured wooden houses dotted here and there. Somehow they seem rather out of place in that environment but they do make a nice contrast to all that steelwork.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Views over the bay in March

I'm back in business now.

Thankyou for all the interest shown by so many. I find that quite uplifting as well as receiving an award from a former Helsinki girl. Shows she approves of my presentation of the city she spent 20 years in.

These photos overlooking the bay of Toolo were taken at the end of March. The water there is now open and there's no snow left.
The streets seen in the photos belong to a part called Hakaniemi.

This is an office/shop building called the 'Round house'.

As you can see Helsinki is a city of both old and modern buildings side by side. Also houses from the fifties exist quite a lot due to the previous buildings having been bombarded down during the second world war. Some suburbs still exist were there are mainly whole streets of old wooden houses and others were there are only modern office block buildings. It's thus like many big cities in its versatility.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mallards in bay of Toolo

I leave you for a few days with these two images of some of the birdlife in Helsinki. Allthough the sea is still quite frozen closer to the shores this bit of water gets ice free early on as it is close to a bridge and there's always a stream under bridges. That is of course good for the birds.

I'd like to wish all my visitors a happy Easter. May the Easter bunny have a lot of chocolate eggs to bring you.

This Easter cactus of mine will enchant this blog until after Easter. See you then.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Botanical gardens

We have now walked past that National theatre building in the previous post through the left hand side little street.

View from behind the theatre allthough there's a newer and not so pretty office building just behind it, as you can see. On the left of the picture is a more traditional style of building. Through the gap you can see a bit of the Amos Andersen art gallery. The spire belongs to the Johannes church, which will be featured later on in this blog.

There's a walkway soon after that little street going alongside the railway tracks and passing the bay of Toolo. The railway tracks go right over the bay, which narrows down significantly on one point so that there's a bridge over that part.

Before reaching the bay there is the Botanical gardens building, housing all sorts of exotic species of plants.
The outside areas of these gardens have these days been badly ravished by ever increasing numbers of rabbits, not natural to our fauna, that have been let loose from rabbit farms and seem to be able to live and multiply in this kind of environment with plenty of shelter from the elements. People also feed them quite a lot. They are spreading to other nearby areas as well.