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Aleksanterin kaunottaret


In the National Museum of Finland you will see one of the official copies of the throne of the Russian Emperor Alexander I. Alexander I used this throne when he declared Finland as the Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire at the Diet of Porvoo in 1809. Then Finland first became Finland, a nation among other nations. Alexander was the sovereign ruler of the Finnish people but he also granted new liberties to his new subjects. These liberties were very modern and special during those times in Europe; the French revolution had at the end of the 18th century started a new era and people started to be considered also persons and human beings instead of only subjects to the power of the princes and landlords. The new  liberties of the Finnish people consisted of quite limited political, economical, religious and cultural rights. They were limited in the beginning but later the politicians and diplomats achieved greater liberties especially during the reign of Alexander II.   The Finnish language became the official language together with Swedish and Russian in 1863.


Street sign from Mikkeli

Alexander I decided in 1812 that Helsinki should be the new Capital of  the Grand Duchy Finland.Carl Ludwig Engel, a German architect and  Finnish Johan Albrecht Ehrenström were appointed to create the city centre of Helsinki. Ehrenström was responsible of the city plan and Engel designed the monumental buildings on the Senate Square as well as several other buildings.  More information: http://www.virtualhelsinki.net/helsinkipanoraama/eng/senaatintori.html

The National Museum

The National Museum is full of treasures of the history of the people who have habited or visited the Finland peninsula.


The map above shows the moves of the Vikings on the late Iron Age, around the years 1100 – 1400. The blue colour in the map indicates that the Vikings who lived in now Swedish territory were the ones who extended their trade routes along the coastline of Finland to the Carelian isthmus, to the river Neva, to the Olhava-river and Ilmen lake. There they established Novgorod, the oldest city in Russia. The trade route of the Vikings reached the river Dnjepr and there they established Kiev that became another important political, religious and trade center. The Vikibgs reached the waterway to the Black Sea and on the other side, where now lies the city of Istanbul, then called the Bysantium. Old Bysantian coins and treasures have reached Lapland because of the fur trade.


This picure above is a detail of a map from 1550 from Carta Marina, drawn by a Swedish Catholic archbishop Olaus Magnus. The picture is titeled ”trade without words”.  source: http://lapinkavijat.rovaniemi.fi/carta_final/index.php?l=f

Poika Kansallismuseon rapuilla_edited-1It was great to guide you in the National Museum, hopefully you learned some new facts and fiction about the past of the Finnish people.

Don´t forget to read the Kalevala.Nyt.Elias Lönnrotin 1849 ilmestyneen Kalevalan pohjalta kirjoittanut Kai Nieminen.SKS.2011.

It costs only 8 euros and you will be greatly rewarded with wisdom after reading this page-turner.


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Oli pimeä ja myrskyinen aamu…

oopperan edessa2

We have been walking around on our lessons, learning English and Helsinki . Two weeks ago we got together at the entrance of the National Opera at the Töölönlahti bay. It was a dark and rainy morning,with  strong wind from the south. Richard took the shift in the Sibeliuspark, but before that we discovered a number of things and learned how to cross Mannerheimintie street with a group.

The Finnish National Opera has been celebrating it´s  100 years birthday this year. In 2013 it will be the Ballet´s turn for 100 years parties. Here is more information of the opera http://www.opera.fi/en.It is worth a while to click the video there and listen a few bars (tacts) of La Traviata-theme by Verdi and view the coming performances.

To describe the Finnish operalife to our guests it is good to tell of the great Finnish singers in the world: Karita Mattila, Soile Isokoski and Monica Groop are very well known to international audiences. The great stars have been Martti Talvela, Jaakko Ryhänen, Matti Salminen – all bass singers and Jorma Hynninen with the baritone voice. The modern Finnish opera composers are also known in the world, Joonas Kokkonen of The Last Temptations – opera, Aulis Sallinen with many works and latest Kaija Saariaho, whose work is performed all over the world. The Savonlinna Opera Festival is known also to many visitors – then it is good to know where Savonlinna and Olavinlinna are situated.

Finnish National Opera in a nutshell

There are some 300 performances each year in the Finnish National Opera. The repertoire in any given season includes on average 15 operas and 9 ballets. The Opera also organizes recitals, matinee concerts with free admission, events for kids and teens, and audience briefings where opera and ballet production teams discuss their work.

Finnish National Opera today


Korjaamo was introduced by Säde. Korjaamo is an important venue of contemporary art performances, art exhibitions, concerts, theatre and cross art projects. Korjaamo also makes a nice meeting place with restaurants. And there is also a tram museum.


We took our way past the Töölö library and in fromt of the building there is a statue that we did not recognize:


This statue is called Lukusali – the reading room. It is a work by Kari Juva. An the story is fascinating:

” kaksi tyyliteltyä figuuria esittävät kirjastossa sattumalta toisensa kohdanneita henkilöitä, joita yhdistää lukuharrastus” And freely translated: two people sharing the same hobbies (passions…?) accidentally meeting in the library. Now that would be a nice story to tell to our visitors. There is always room for some romance, no matter how old or young your clients are. More info of the statues of Helsinki:


Then we continued to Sibelius Park, one of the musts to see in Helsinki.


and there Richard took over and told an interesting story of the guy from Iceland who happened to participate twice in Sibelius´s party in the Kämp Hotel.The same party took more than a week… he got to the party on his way to London and a week later the party was still on when he was getting back.

Sibelius is important to learn – and the best way to learn is to listen and fall in love of his work: The Violin Concerto, The Seven Symphonies, Finlandia, Valse Triste, Lemminkäinen, Swan of Tuonela, Kullervo etc. Here is the finale of the 2nd ymphony – it will make you cry.