Founded in 1550, Helsinki was rebuilt by the Tsar of Russia in 1812, and modelled on St. Petersburg by the same architects who designed the Russian Imperial city. The Empire style used to rebuild the city still dominates the grand buildings that surround the city's Lutheran cathedral and Senate Square, and gives Helsinki its distinctive character. While very much a Nordic capital city, the influences of both east and west are very much in evidence, and give the city its very unique atmosphere.
Helsinki is famous for its design, architecture and high technology which can be seen all throughout the city and attracts design and architecture fans from around the world. Finnish design is characterised by minimalism and clean lines. Finnish modernism from the 1950s is particularly popular. Contemporary Finnish design combines these traditions with the latest innovations. But what makes the city really special is its nice, friendly and easily approachable local residents.
Visit Helsinki wants all visitors to enjoy the city's tolerant, active and friendly atmosphere. Since 2009 the Gay Friendly Helsinki network has brought together local companies that are dedicated to providing high quality services for LGBT visitors. All participating companies have received training to make sure that we are especially welcoming for our LGBT visitors