Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is a friendly and cosmopolitan city, which offers a high European quality of life. Due to the quality and conditions of life Helsinki is considered to be one of the top-ten attractive cities in Europe. Helsinki is quite small city with the current population of about 560,000, but the Helsinki region with the neighboring suburban cities of Espoo and Vantaa has a population of over one million. Helsinki along with its satellites Vantaa and Espoo is often called Big Helsinki.
The lifestyle as far as the small-town atmosphere of Helsinki makes the city much different from the European capitals. The Finnish capital is often called "the provincial capital". Throughout its 450-year history, Helsinki blends Swedish and Russian influences. The colorful layers of history can be seen everywhere: there are no high-rise buildings and the market square is still surrounded by 19th-century architecture. The skyline of this coastal city is dominated by church spires. High-rise buildings are not common and none of them can be found in the historical downtown area.
Urban cosmopolitan lifestyle of Helsinki exists in perfect harmony with nature. Life in Helsinki is defined by very contrasting seasonal changes. In the summer, the warmth and permanent daylight invigorate the city. In the winter, the cozy and mysterious darkness dominates. Surrounded by the sea and its own exotic archipelago, Helsinki offers visitors an endless number of possibilities. Its green parks and waterways, a perfect coastline makes it a both perfect summer and winter destination for the tourists. Efficient public transport, good shopping, numerous events and high-standard accommodation services ensure a pleasant visit. Helsinki is Finland's capital and the centre of its cultural, financial and economic activity. Despite the city is the place for all main business companies, and located on the crossroad of transportation routes, it stays a quite ecological city. Helsinki, the Finnish capital, is known as an international meeting point.
The country's most important administrative, cultural and financial centers are located here, and the largest museums and historical attractions are found in the Helsinki metro area. The most famous names in architecture, music and arts are Alvar Aalto, Jean Sibelius and Akseli Gallen Kallela.
Today's Helsinki is also a city of the future. Its modern architecture, cutting-edge design and high-technology have attracted international recognition for the city.