Monday, June 02, 2008

Stockholm - Helsinki - Moscow - St Petersburg - Riga - Stockholm

We had a one-day stop in Helsinki, real quick but honestly, quite sufficient. The highlight was going to naval fortress, Suomenlinna. The rest of city was pretty small, but rather interesting.

Our boat - the Gabriella!

Where we got off at the habour

Captain Haddock day??

Nej! It was May Day! :) A good excuse for a big party.

At the Market Square where a carnival was going on.

Fun with dog-doo! heh

L: For reasons I did not know, people dressed up in real weird racing-like costumes
R: The streets were littered with confetti! 

The palace - where something was going on, but we couldn't see what as we were too short to peer inside! :(

On the boat on the way to Suomenlinna
A nice couple picture! :)

All of us 'cept for Jiamin got off the boat - he felt like bumming around, so decided not to join us for our day chiong-ing around Helsinki! 

View from the boat. 
(people actually live on that small island??)

Otherwise known as Castle of Finland - a sea fortress

It was this naval fortress that helped Finland develop its major city status in the 16th century period.

L2R: Carol, Ansen, Yocksong & David

Suomenlinna Church

Suomenlinna Church was built during the Russian regime, by order of Czar Nikolay I, to function as a military church in 1854. Its church bell is the largest in Finland - cast in Moscow in 1855 weighing 6,683kg! The following text, in Slavic and inspired by the Psalms, is cast on the church bell of Suomenlinna:

"Praise the Lord upon the loud cymbals.
Shew forth His salvation from day to day.
Give unto the Lord glory and strength.
Fear before Him, all the earth.
Let the sea roar and the fullness thereof.
All the earth shall worship Him."

Too bad we didn't get to go to the bell tower because of the construction.

How it looked like then - with 5 onion domes

How it looks like now

The interior is really modern and stylish!

Many picturesques views of the fortress 

Cannon and the mounds

HUGE anchor-ring.

David & I being touristy

I was sooo freaked out on climbing the cannon! It IS actually really way above the ground okay.

Haha I really like this shot.

Afterwards I went back to the boat to see what Jiamin was up to while the rest headed to the stadium (that held the 1952 olympics). After dragging his bum outta the bunk bed, we walked around the city area with our bags for a short while before heading off to the train station to meet the rest of the group.

Uspenskin Katedraali (Upenski Cathedral)
Eastern Orthodox cathedral in Helsinki
with people picnic-ing at the base!

Helsingin Tuomiokirkko (Helsinki Cathedral) in the distance.
Built, in neoclassical style, in tribute to Grand Duke Nicholas I, Tsar of Russia.

A little peek into the inside - while a choir was singing during service.

On the steps outside of Helsinki Cathedral.

I was pretty curious as to why Helsinki had so many connections with Russia, regarding their architecture and history. Whilst reading up found out that Russia had defeated Sweden whilst Finland was part of Sweden in the 1800s. And in order to reduce Swedish influence in Finland, Tsar Alexander I moved the capital from Turku to Helsinki, and the city was rebuilt in neoclassical style to resemble St Petersburg. It was really awesome to take in so much of their rich and long history, and make the connections to the other places we were headed off to :)

Goodbye Helsinki!

Hello Russia! :)

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