Senate Square (Senaatintori) presents Carl Ludvig Engel's architecture as a unique allegory of political, religious, scientific and commercial powers in the centre of Helsinki. It has been the centrum of Helsinki since the city was established in 1640. Russians destroyed Helsinki entirely during the Great Northern War (1713-1721).

When the Finland became an autonomous part of Russia in 1812, the capital was moved from Turku to Helsinki. This started a massive construction programme to enhance the cityscape of Helsinki. The responsibility of the new design was given to German architect Carl Ludvig Engel. He decided that all buildings surrounding the old main square should be reconstructed to solid neoclassical ensemble. Many old buildings were demolished including the church of Ulrika Eleonora.

The Palace of the Council of State was completed on the eastern side of the Senate Square in 1822. The main University building, on the opposite side of the Senate Square, was constructed in 1832. The Helsinki Cathedral on the northern edge of the Senate Square was Engel's lengthiest architectural project. He was working on it from 1818 until his death in 1840. The Helsinki Cathedral — then called the Church of St. Nicholas — dominates the Senate Square, and was finalized twelve years afters Engel's death, in 1852.

A statue of Emperor Alexander II is located in the center of the square. The statue, erected in 1894, was built to commemorate his re-establishment the Diet of Finland in 1863, as well as his initiation of several reforms that increased Finland's autonomy from Russia. The statue comprises Alexander on a pedestal surrounded by figures representing the law, culture and the peasants.

Today, the Senate Square is one of the main tourist attractions of Helsinki. Various art happenings, ranging from concerts to snow buildings to controversial snow board happenings, have been set up on the Senate Square. Several buildings near the Senate Square are managed by the government real estate provider, Senate Properties.

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Details

Founded: 1816-1852
Category: Historic city squares, old towns and villages in Finland
Historical period: Russian Grand Duchy (Finland)

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Nisha Mishra (14 months ago)
Senate Square in Heksinki is one of the major tourist attractions. Very beautifully built and a must visit place in Helsinki. Great place to hangout in any season, surrounded by Helsinki Cathedral Church, Harbour, Market, Food stalls and great restaurants. Highly recommended.
Amirouche Assam (15 months ago)
A super beautiful tourist place if you don't know this place you know nothing at all in Finland
Mik B. (15 months ago)
Really impressive. Odd atmosphere but not unpleasant
Joonas Lehtimäki (16 months ago)
Probably nice if it's not freezing outside. And nasty toilets.
Matiss Kellerts (16 months ago)
Very beautiful square. With nice site seeing places. Many outside tables and chairs with lot of flowers and green bushes. And of course the main building in the top of the hill senate building. White and massively which you can see very well from good distance when you are walking towards to it. Nice place to take a look and make good photos.
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