Helsinki, the capital of Finland since 1812, has been in existence for more than 450 years. The Russians chose it as the capital during their reign, as they preferred having the capital close to the border. Although the country gained its independence in 1917, Helsinki remained its capital.Helsinki is at the tip of the country’s southern peninsula and is surrounded by some 315 islands. The city is situated between Stockholm and Moscow and is fondly referred to as the ‘daughter of the Baltic’. Although Helsinki is a relatively sparsely populated city, with a population of just about half a million people, it is among the fastest developing cities in Europe.Russia’s influence is still evident in several ways, including the architectural designs you will find here. For instance, you will find many neo-classical buildings at the Senate Square.Temppeliaukio churchDue to its unique style of architecture, the Temppeliaukio church is one of the most popular attractions in the city. The church was carved out of natural bedrock and its interior walls are made of natural rock surfaces. It was designed by siblings Tuomo and Timo Suomalainen. You can enjoy the concerts that are held in the church on a regular basis, with the natural surface adding a special appeal.National MuseumAnother special attraction is the country’s National Museum, which is located in the center of the city. The National Museum hosts ethnographic and archaeological artefacts that date back to pre-historic times. This is a great place to learn of the country’s history. One of the unique things about this museum is the process of collecting the artefacts itself, which was carried out for nearly two centuries.The Rock ChurchThe Rock Church, which was carved out of solid rock, has uniquely designed windows that light up the church. The church has a copper dome roof.Suomenlinna Sea FortressThe fortress was erected in 1748 and is among the sites protected by UNESCO. The fortress is compromised of a series of interconnected islands with several historic buildings, including museums.Korkeasaari ZooAnother place of interest is the Korkeasaari Zoo, which is one of the oldest zoos. The zoo contains about 200 animal species (including endangered species) and 1000 species of plants.Sibelius ParkThe Sibelius Monument is located in Sibelius Park. This great monument was designed out of hundreds of steel pipes.There are things to enjoy in Helsinki during both summer and winter. Some of the activities during winter include skiing, skating, sailing, ice-fishing or relaxing in a sauna. During summer you can enjoy the sun for up to 22 hours. It is best to explore the city on foot.