One of St. Petersburg's most famous and popular visitor attractions, the palace and park at Peterhof (also known as Petrodvorets) are often referred to as "the Russian Versailles", although many visitors conclude that the comparison does a disservice to the grandeur and scope of this majestic estate.
Versailles was, however, the inspiration for Peter the Great's desire to build an imperial palace in the suburbs of his new city and, after an aborted attempt at Strelna, Peterhof - which means "Peter's Court" in German - became the site for the Tsar's Monplaisir Palace, and then of the original Grand Palace. The estate was equally popular with Peter's daughter, Empress Elizabeth, who ordered the expansion of the Grand Palace and greatly extended the park and the famous system of fountains, including the truly spectacular Grand Cascade.
Improvements to the park continued throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Catherine the Great, after leaving her own mark on the park, moved the court to Pushkin, but Peterhof once again became the official Imperial Residence in the reign of Nicholas I, who ordered the building of the modest Cottage Palace in 1826.
Like almost all St. Petersburg's suburban estates, Peterhof was ravaged by German troops during the Second World War. It was, however, one of the first to be resurrected and, thanks to the work of military engineers as well as over 1,000 volunteers, the Lower Park opened to the public in 1945 and the facades of the Grand Palace were restored in 1952. The name was also de-Germanicized in 1944, becoming Petrodvorets, the name under which the surrounding town is still known. The palace and park are once again known as Peterhof.
This Church was built on the site where Emperor Alexander II was severely wounded and died in March 1881.The church was built from 1883 till 1907. The construction was funded by the imperial family.
Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The Church contains over 7500 square meters of mosaics—according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.
Although it is only a 20th century creation, Palace Bridge is undoubtedly one of the most famous sights of St. Petersburg, and is quite literally unmissable for most visitors to the city, who will find themselves continually using the bridge to move between Palace Square, home to the Winter Palace and the Hermitage Museum, and the numerous historic attractions on Vasilevskiy Ostrov.
Despite the grandeur and extravagance of the surrounding architecture, Palace Bridge itself is a relatively simple structure, comprising five cast-iron spans resting on granite-clad, packed-rubble piers. Height of the bridge was strictly limited, so as not to obstruct the view of the monuments around. The central span of the bridge splits into two wings, which are raised through an angle of over 45° to allow ships to pass up the Neva River, and the view of the golden spire of the Ss. Peter and Paul Cathedral between the two raised wings is one of the most widespread and memorable images of St. Petersburg. It also makes Palace Embankment the centre of nightly celebrations during the White Nights, when thousands of locals and visitors gather to watch Palace Bridge open in the small hours.
In the 17th century, Narva was a city on the border between Sweden and Russia, which Sweden wanted to turn into a regional capital. The designer of the defence fortifications was a military engineer and architect Erik Dahlberg.
German, Swedish and Italian architectural influences are mixed in the building style of the Town Hall that dates back to the 17th century (architect G. Teuffel). The architectural complex of the Town Hall Square included the Town Hall, Stock Exchange, and residences of the wealthy Swedish citizenry.
The Northern yard is our attempt of recreating the 17th century. Here, we imagine genuine and vibrant early modern urban quarters with houses, people, and their everyday lives. This way, a guest of the Northern yard is instantly taken 300–400 years back in time.
Narva Museum today – it is the Narva stronghold, the Northern Courtyard, and the Art Gallery. These are more than architectural monuments, as the castle and the gallery also have exhibition halls.
The exhibition of Narva castle talks about the history of Narva from the 13th century until the beginning of the 20th century. In 1991, the Art Gallery was opened. This allowed the museum to host Estonian and foreign art exhibitions in addition to displaying its own art collection.
In 2007, Põhjaõu was opened as a new tourist attraction in the Northern Courtyard of the castle; this is how Narva Museum interprets the district of artisans dating from the 17th century.
Situated in the heart of Lappeenranta, St. Mary’s Church of Lappee is a double cruciform wooden church that was originally built in 1794. The current church was built by Juhana Salonen, from Savitaipale, although it has undergone restoration work over the years. The altarpiece, representing Christ’s Ascension, was painted by Aleksandra Frosterus-Såltin in 1887, and there are many other paintings in the church by unknown artists.
The Church of the Virgin Mary is the oldest orthodox church in Finland and is situated in Linnoitus, otherwise known as the Fortress of Lappeenranta. There was a wooden church on the site as far back as 1742, the present church was completed in 1785. The most valuable icon here is the 200-year-old Communion of the Holy, found in the middle of the north wall.
The Fortress of Lappeenranta is a unique place in South-Eastern Finland. Inhabited and full of life even today, it once formed part of a defence system that also included the fortress of Suomenlinna in Helsinki and the fortress of Hamina.
Although different in size, all three of these fortresses are of a similar nature and share the same passion for development. While seeking to protect and preserve these areas through careful land use planning, they also aim to increase services and levels of activity around the year.
The Fortress of Lappeenranta was constructed as a border fortress, forming part of the chain of fortresses between Finland and North-Western Russia. Over the centuries, the Fortress was alternately held by the Swedes and Russians. Today, the Fortress of Lappeenranta is a valuable component of Finnish, Russian and Swedish cultural heritage and forms part of the Castles and Fortifications chain of cultural destinations.
The building of Olavinlinna Castle began in 1475. The Danish-born founder of the castle, knight Erik Axelsson Tott, decided that a powerful fortification should be build to protect the strategically important Savo region
Savonlinna Cathedral is the main church of Savonlinna’s Evangelical-Lutheran parish. The name of the church originates from the cathedral, the seat of a bishop, located in Savonlinna from 1897 to 1924.
The church was designed by architect A.H. Dahlström in 1858, and it was consecrated on 2 February 1879. The church was damaged during an air raid in 1940. The reconstruction was designed by architect B. Lilljeqvist. The altar choir ceiling fresco, paintings on the gallery bannisters, and the chandeliers were created by artist Antti Salmenlinna. The altarpiece “Jesus in Gethsemane” is a triptych painted by artist Paavo Leinonen. The church textiles, designed by artist Helena Karvonen, are from 1979.
Alatskivi Castle Park – the biggest park in Tartu County (130 ha) – was established by squire von Stackelberg in the end of the 18th century. The Alatskivi Castle built according to the designs of Arved von Nolcken with the surrounding park is one of the main sights in the area. The towers and terraces of the castle offer beautiful views of the lakes, the church and the surrounding landscape. A marked hiking track runs through the park. The majority of the trees growing in the park are local species, such as lime trees, maples and oaks.
Artist Pentti Ikäheimonen art gallery Villi Villa is located in the middle of a beautiful Finnish lake landscape, only 5 km from the center of Rantasalmi.
Come and explore the remodelled building and artwork that breathe both rural and natural beauty.
The gallery presents a sales exhibition of Pentti Ikäheimonen and visiting artists as well as works by former masters.
Tartu Cathedral, located on the beautiful Toomemägi Hill, is one of the largest churches in Estonia. It is also the only mediaeval church with two towers in Estonia. The construction of the church started in the 13th century and the church was fully completed in the beginning of the 16th century. The church towers were the last things to be finished. During the Livonian War, the church was destroyed and since then, it has not operated as a church. The ruins of the Tartu Cathedral are one of the most prominent examples of brick-Gothic buildings in Old Livonia.
The University of Tartu Museum, which introduces the history of science and university education, operates there. In addition to the museum, there is also the Toompood store, and visitors can also go to the cathedral’s towers, which offer beautiful views.
Söderskär lighthouse island combines a rugged but breathakingly beautiful environment with a fascinating history. In summer there are cruises to the island for the public, and for groups there is the possibility of chartering a cruise. During your visit you will hear many fascinating stories and also visit the art exhibition, which changes every summer. You can book accommodation in the lighthouse from July to September.
World Heritage Site Suomenlinna is a cultural treasure. Its construction began in the mid-18th century, when Finland was still part of Sweden. The development of tourism began after the wars in the 20th century, and in the 21st century, the Suomenlinna sea fortress is one of the most popular attractions in Finland. Today, the fortress and its museums, restaurants and events are a memorable experience for visitors of all ages. Suomenlinna is not only a popular visitor attraction but also a home of 800 residents.
The number of visitors to Suomenlinna has continued to grow, and with over 900,000 visitors every year, the sea fortress is one of Finland’s most popular tourist destinations. Suomenlinna attracts visitors from both Finland and abroad: it offers an ideal environment for exploring a historical world heritage site, or just spending a day relaxing. Many visitors come to the island during the summer, but the number of wintertime visitors is steadily growing.
The Senate Square and its surroundings form a unique and cohesive example of Neoclassical architecture. The square is dominated by four buildings designed by Carl Ludvig Engel (1778-1840): Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace, the main building of the University of Helsinki and the National Library of Finland. A statue of Alexander II (1894) stands in the middle of the Senate Square. Helsinki Cathedral is arguably Finland's most famous and photographed building. The oldest stone building in Helsinki is the Sederholm House located on the southeast corner of the square. Today the building hosts the Helsinki City Museum. The Esplanade park and the Market Square are just a block away. The Senate Square also hosts a sound installation called the Sound of the Senate Square. It is a modern version of the European glockenspiel and can be heard every day at 17:49 as it travels from one building to the next. The composition runs for 5 minutes 18 seconds and is composed by Harri Viitanen and Jyrki Alakuijala.
Completed in 1969, Temppeliaukio Church is carved right from the bedrock in the center of Helsinki.
The underground house of worship, called Temppeliaukion kirkko in Finnish, was designed by architect brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen in the charmingly named Töölö neighborhood. On all sides of the circular church are roughly hewn stone, where sometimes water still seeps in to create miniature waterfalls. A dome coated with copper covers the rock church, with a skylight open in a belt below it to make the dome appear to hover. Even further below the church is a Cold War-era air raid shelter, which now serves as parking.
Despite its cave-like appearance, Temppeliaukio Church actually has marvelous acoustics, where the sound beautifully bounces from the craggy stone.
Hanasaari is an enchanting place in the midst of the archipelago, close to the Helsinki city centre. The Hanasaari Swedish-Finnish Cultural Centre promotes and develops interaction between Finland and Sweden, as well as co-operation in all areas of society.
Hanasaari’s home is a modern well-maintained building, amply decorated with modern Finnish and Swedish art. The Hanasaari cultural centre was inaugurated on 1 June 1975 by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and President Urho Kekkonen of Finland. The building was designed by architect Veikko Malmio, and its original interior decorations by Professor Yrjö Sotamaa.
An art competition was organised during the building phase, and the winner was revealed by King Carl XVI Gustaf when he inaugurated the house. The winning piece was Heikki Häiväoja‘s grand relief “Vuorovaikutus” (Interaction). Two other participating works were also purchased for Hanasaari: Marjatta Weckström‘s relief “Vuodenajat” (The seasons), which today can be seen in Restaurant Johannes, and the bronze front doors with small coloured windows embedded in them by Kauko Räsänen.
On the northern shore of Laajalahti Bay, in Tarvaspää, lies the Gallen-Kallela Museum, designed and built by one of Finland’s finest artists, Akseli Gallen-Kallela. Tarvaspää’s beautiful surroundings and the museum’s unique architecture provide the perfect setting for a museum visit. Originally a studio and residence, the museum opened to the public in 1961. The temporary exhibitions that present the art and life of Gallen-Kallela are shown alongside present-day works of contemporary art, while a wide range of events and activities are arranged during the year, with the museum acting as a centre for information on the great artist. Tarvaspää Cafe Zoceria is located in a delightful villa next to the museum where visitors can enjoy great coffee, snacks, salads and soups.
The City of Espoo is unique in not having a single centre, but instead have a number of major urban centres. One of these is Tapiola, which can lay claim to being the cultural heart of the city, as it features the Espoo Cultural Centre, home to the Tapiola Sinfonietta, Espoo City Theatre, and two concert spaces in Louhisali and Tapiolasali. Tapiola is also home to the nearby WeeGee Exhibition Centre, which consists of four very different museums: EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art, KAMU – Espoo City Museum, the Finnish Toy Museum Hevosenkenkä and the Finnish Museum of Horology.
WeeGee Exhibition Centre provides a wide range of experiences for visitors of all ages. There are numerous temporary exhibitions in the museums to complement their permanent collections, and guided tours, workshops and themed events are held throughout the year. The centre also houses the museum shop, perfect for picking up souvenirs, and the Cafe WeeGee. Behind the main building visitors will find the visionary Futuro House, while the Studio Suuronen exhibitions are always interesting.
Kadriorg Park is the most outstanding palatial and urban park in Estonia, covering around 70 hectares. Its construction began in 1718 on the orders of Russian tsar Peter I. Elements of park design from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries can be seen here.
The most popular places for a stroll in the park are the flower beds surrounding the Swan Pond and the promenade leading from there to the president's palace.
There are a number of museums in the park, including KUMU (the Estonian Art Museum), Kadriorg Art Museum and the Mikkeli Museum, as well as monuments to such cultural figures as sculptor Amandus Adamson, author F. R. Kreutzwald and artist Jaan Koort.
Listed in UNESCO heritage, the complex provides an overview of maritime trade, agencies, and navigation in the Middle Ages, as well as in the era of sailing, steam, and motor ships. There is a total of 1,000 m² of exhibition space. The star exhibit is the 700-year-old Koge wreck found in Kadriorg in 2015. There are about 70 ship models out of which 17 have been created specifically for the exhibition, nearly 700 items, and 50 digital and hands-on solutions.
The representative square of Tallinn – Freedom Square is a popular meeting place designed for pedestrians. The monument to the War of Independence is also located there.
Over the years, the square has gone by many names: Heinaturg (Hay Market), Peetri plats (Peter’s Square), and Võiduväljak (Victory Square) among them. It was first named Freedom Square in 1939, remaining that way until 1948. The name was readopted in 1989.
The defensive structures found at archaeological excavations have been preserved and stored in the parking lot under the square; the remains of the guard gates of the defence tower can be seen at the end of Harju Street through a glass screen.
The 30m high red brick water tower was constructed in 1911 and was preserved until today with its small windows and the octangular wooden upper part.
The tower was actively used for about 50 years. After a long time of emptiness, the building was renovated in 2001 as an observation tower. You are welcome to visit and enjoy the beautiful view over the lake and Old Town of Viljandi! Interesting to know: ·Viljandi was one of the first towns in Estonia to receive waterworks and canalisation. ·The three storeys of the tower accommodate one permanent and several travelling exhibitions. The water tower is an important part of the skyline of Viljandi as a so-called town of towers.
The bridge made by the Riga company Felser & Co in 1879 was erected amid the castle hills in Viljandi in 1931. It was a present by the lord of the Tarvastu Manor Karl von Mensenkampf.
Interesting to know: *The bridge is over 50 m long. * It was erected over a valley which is 15 m deep. * At first, the bridge was located over the moat in Tarvastu to make it easier for the family of the lord to visit the chapel in the ruins. The suspension bridge has become a favourite object of both citizens and visitors of Viljandi and one of the town’s important symbols. It was reconstructed in 1995.
A new type of visitor centre, Haltia strives to bring all of Finland’s nature under one roof and closer to the visitor through the building’s facilities and its exhibitions. With a visit to Haltia you can experience nature from all over Finland, in the Helsinki region. Visitors to the Haltia – The Finnish Nature Centre are blessed with spectacular views of Nuuksio National Park and Lake Nuuksio Pitkäjärvi, as well as access to the excellent hiking trails that abound.
The exhibitions in Haltia take visitors on a trip through Finland to experience the country’s nature at its most spectacular, from all the distinct regions, and the 40 national parks within its borders. There is also an introduction to the numerous nature experiences available in the Helsinki region, some of which will be well known while others much less so.
The Snowy Canyon leads you to the main exhibition hall, where you can examine the Finnish winter and how animals and plants survive it. In the main exhibition, photography and videos by Finland’s finest nature photographers take visitors through Finnish landscapes as well as underwater in all seasons. There are over 80 Finnish nature destinations that can be explored through touchscreens, from the Finnish Archipelago to the fells of Lapland. The exhibition includes a large wooden Duck Egg, which serves as the setting for the Game Theory video installation by artist Osmo Rauhala. At Haltia, you will also find the Nature Mothers Call sound installation room, Bear’s Den (Karhunpesä) and an Open wilderness hut. The exhibition follows the annual cycle of nature, utilising not only the panorama landscape but also video presentations, dioramas, interactive features, works of art and scale models, among other features. The experience is completed with a world of sounds and light, allowing visitors to live and experience real Finnish nature!
Founded in 1920, Ugala is one of Estonia's oldest professional drama theatres. It became a professional theatre in 1926. In 1981, the theatre received a new, large and modern building that was one of the most advanced ones in the Baltic countries at the time.
The Ugala offers a varied repertoire from children's stories and musical plays to world classics and contemporary world dramaturgy. Estonian originals also have their place in the programme.
Sangaste Castle is one of the 21 Southern Estonian places worth discovering that are marked with a yellow National Geographic window; if you are interested in culture and history, it is definitely worth a visit.
Sangaste castle and park were fashioned after the famous Windsor castle in England. The magnificent halls, architecture and history of the castle make this a good place for a big wedding, get-togethers or spending the night in a genuine castle. The castle restaurant serves local food and real rye vodka made from Sangaste rye.
In addition to the castle, the stables, dairy, barn, water tower and arboretum are also open for visitors.