Senaatintori (Senate Square), Helsinki

Senaatintori (Senate Square), Helsinki (must see)

Senate Square, or Senaatintori, is a city square surrounded by beautiful Neo-Classical buildings. The square and its buildings are the oldest part of Helsinki. The structures on the square include the Cathedral, the main building of the University of Helsinki, the Government Palace, and the Sederholm House dating from 1757.

The square is built on the site of a 17th and 18th-century graveyard. The city plan, designed by Johan Albrecht Ehrenström, designated the square in 1812. By 1822, the Government Palace was completed. The Senate of Finland met there until the Council of State replaced it in 1918. Today, the building is used by the Prime Minister and Cabinet officials.

The University Building was constructed in 1832. But the most dominant building in the square is by far the Helsinki Cathedral. It was designed by Carl Ludvig Engel but was not completed until 12 years after his death. It was initially called the Church of St. Nicholas.

Walter Runeberg carved the central statue of Emperor Alexander II in 1894. During the Russian years, the Alexander statue was a symbol of resistance. People would leave flowers under the statue as a gesture of protest against Alexander's grandson, tsar Nicolas II. Alexander was known locally as "the good tsar."

Why You Should Visit

Today, Senate Square is a popular destination. There's often a festival, art exhibition, or concert going on.

The square is the site of the oldest buildings in Helsinki. The Cathedral is especially worth seeing as it is one of the most iconic buildings in the city. From the stairs to the Cathedral, be sure to take in the view of the city all around.

Tips

Every day a digital carillon plays at 17:49. The acoustically best spot to hear the piece is at the central statue of Alexander II.

If visiting in the wintertime, the Helsinki Christmas Market is held every December in Senate Square.

The square has appeared in many movies, including many scenes that were supposedly set in Russia. By omitting the distinctive Cathedral from his shots, Warren Beatty convincingly used Senate Square as a substitute for Soviet St. Petersburg in the 1981 film Reds.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Helsinki. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Senaatintori (Senate Square) on Map

Sight Name: Senaatintori (Senate Square)
Sight Location: Helsinki, Finland (See walking tours in Helsinki)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Helsinki, Finland

Create Your Own Walk in Helsinki

Create Your Own Walk in Helsinki

Creating your own self-guided walk in Helsinki is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Helsinki's Architectural Jewels

Helsinki's Architectural Jewels

Typified by Nordic minimalism and refinement, the architecture of Helsinki is shaped primarily by the early Neo-Classical style and a regional form of Art Nouveau, called Jugendstil. Still, it is the later work by modernist architect Alvar Aalto, as well as the thriving contemporary designs deeply rooted in nature and local craft, that give Helsinki, as well Finland in general, their current...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 Km or 1.2 Miles
Helsinki Introduction Walking Tour

Helsinki Introduction Walking Tour

Helsinki was created as a trading town by Swedish King Gustav I in 1550, but it is believed that Swedish settlers had arrived here in the 1300s. Sometimes called the “Daughter of the Baltic,” Helsinki is a port town through and through. Its close connection to its Baltic neighbors, Sweden and Russia, has shaped its history for better and worse over the last 400 years. Both Finnish and Swedish...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
Seurasaari Island Walking Tour

Seurasaari Island Walking Tour

Seurasaari is an island in Helsinki and is best known as the home to the popular Seurasaari Open-Air Museum. The museum provides an overview of life in the Finnish countryside by showcasing old, mainly wooden houses built in different eras. Some of these houses – once lived in by famous people in the Finnish history – were transplanted to Seurasaari island to become the part of the museum.

...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
Helsinki's Historical Churches

Helsinki's Historical Churches

Helsinki features many impressive places of worship where you can enjoy a peaceful moment and admire the beauty of the religious buildings. Helsinki has two main religious denominations: Lutheran and Orthodox, but there are also some beautiful Anglican and German churches. Take this self-guided walking tour to see the most interesting religious buildings in the city.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Finnish Souvenir Shopping Tour

Finnish Souvenir Shopping Tour

It would be a pity to leave Helsinki without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, all unique to Finland, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

The souvenirs include Sauna Bucket & Ladle, Finnish traditional music instrument, ryija rug, Finnish vodka made from Arctic-grown...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles

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