One of Helsinki’s main tourist attractions, Senate Square (Senaatintori) is the beating heart of the Finnish capital. Designed by renowned German architect Carl Ludvig Engel in the 18th century, Engel was charged with giving Helsinki a St Petersburg-style makeover by the Russian administration at the time. Equal parts elegant and austere, Senate Square was turned into a neoclassical dream, and today it’s the oldest part of Helsinki, which in turn houses the capital’s oldest building - Sederhold House, dating back to 1757.
When Finland gained independence from Russia in 1917, Senate Square’s grand cathedral became Lutheran evangelical, and today, over 350,000 people visit the famous church every year. With its green dome and haughty apostle statues looking down from the roof, the cathedral is perfect for its important task of looking out austerely over the Finnish capital, and the steps to the church are a popular meeting point among locals.
Senate Square is also popular for its shops, cafes and restaurants that dot the elegant square. If you’re in the plaza at 5:49 p.m., listen out for the digital carillon bell music that gets played every evening.
Lutheran Cathedral is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, and entrance is free. The closest metro to Senate Square is Kaisaniemen.