Helsinki Senate Square
The Senate Square presents Carl Ludvig Engel
Carl Ludvig Engel
Carl Ludvig Engel, or Johann Carl Ludwig Engel , was a German architect known for his neoclassical style. He had a great impact on the architecture of Finland in the first part of the 19th century....

's architecture as a unique allegory of political, religious, scientific and commercial powers in the centre of Helsinki
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The population of the city of Helsinki is , making it by far the most populous municipality in Finland. Helsinki is...

, Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...



The Palace of the Council of State was completed on the eastern side of the Senate Square in 1822. It served as the seat of the Senate of Finland
Senate of Finland
The Senate of Finland combined the functions of cabinet and supreme court in the Grand Duchy of Finland from 1816 to 1917 and in the independent Republic of Finland from 1917 to 1918....

 until it was replaced by the Council of State
Finnish Council of State
The Cabinet of Finland is the body that directs the Government of Finland. However, in governmental translations to English, the distinction is often blurred between cabinet and government in the wider sense...

 in 1918, and now houses the offices of the Prime minister of Finland
Prime Minister of Finland
The Prime Minister is the Head of Government of Finland. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President, who is the Head of State. The current Prime Minister is Jyrki Katainen of the National Coalition Party.-Overview:...

 and the cabinet
Cabinet (government)
A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

The main University
University of Helsinki
The University of Helsinki is a university located in Helsinki, Finland since 1829, but was founded in the city of Turku in 1640 as The Royal Academy of Turku, at that time part of the Swedish Empire. It is the oldest and largest university in Finland with the widest range of disciplines available...

 building, on the opposite side of the Senate Square, was constructed in 1832.

The Helsinki Cathedral
Helsinki Cathedral
Helsinki Cathedral is an Evangelical Lutheran cathedral of the Diocese of Helsinki, located in the centre of Helsinki, Finland. The church was originally built as a tribute to the Grand Duke, Nicholas I, the Tsar of Russia and until the independence of Finland in 1917, it was called St...

 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.

Statue of Alexander II

A statue of Emperor Alexander II
Alexander II of Russia
Alexander II , also known as Alexander the Liberator was the Emperor of the Russian Empire from 3 March 1855 until his assassination in 1881...

 is located in the center of the square. The statue, erected in 1894, was built to commemorate his re-establishment the Diet of Finland
Diet of Finland
The Diet of Finland , was the legislative assembly of the Grand Duchy of Finland from 1809 to 1906 and the recipient of the powers of the Swedish Riksdag of the Estates....

 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.

During the Russification of Finland
Russification of Finland
The policy of Russification of Finland was a governmental policy of the Russian Empire aimed at limiting the special status of the Grand Duchy of Finland and possibly the termination of its political autonomy and cultural uniqueness...

 from 1899 onwards, the statue became a symbol of quiet resistance, with people of Helsinki protesting to the decrees of Nicholas II
Nicholas II of Russia
Nicholas II was the last Emperor of Russia, Grand Prince of Finland, and titular King of Poland. His official short title was Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias and he is known as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church.Nicholas II ruled from 1894 until...

 leaving flowers at the foot of the statue of his grandfather, then known in Finland as "the good czar".

After Finland's independence in 1917, demands were made regarding the removal of the statue, and later, a suggestion was made that it should be replaced with the equestrian statue of Mannerheim (currently located along Mannerheimintie
Mannerheimintie , or Mannerheimvägen , named after the Finnish military leader and statesman Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, is one of the most famous streets in Helsinki, Finland. It was originally named Heikinkatu , after Robert Henrik Rehbinder, but was renamed after the Winter War...

, near Eduskuntatalo
Parliament House is the seat of the Parliament of Finland. It is located in the Finnish capital of Helsinki, in the district of Töölö.-History:In 1923 a competition was held to choose a site for a new Parliament House...

). Nothing came of either of these suggestions, and today the statue is one of the major tourist landmarks on the city, standing as a monument to Finland's relationship with Imperial Russia.

Contemporary role

Today, the Senate Square is one of the main tourist attractions of Helsinki. Various art happenings, ranging from concert
A concert is a live performance before an audience. The performance may be by a single musician, sometimes then called a recital, or by a musical ensemble, such as an orchestra, a choir, or a musical band...

s to snow
Snow is a form of precipitation within the Earth's atmosphere in the form of crystalline water ice, consisting of a multitude of snowflakes that fall from clouds. Since snow is composed of small ice particles, it is a granular material. It has an open and therefore soft structure, unless packed by...

 buildings to controversial snow board happenings, have been set up on the Senate Square.

The United Buddy Bears
United Buddy Bears
Buddy Bears are a series of painted, life-size fibreglass bear sculptures originally developed in Berlin, Germany. The first Buddy Bear was created by the German businesspeople Klaus and Eva Herlitz, in cooperation with the sculptor Roman Strobl in 2001....

 exhibition, which was displayed in autumn of 2010 on the historic square, was the largest open air art show ever held in Finland.

Digital carillon
A carillon is a musical instrument that is typically housed in a free-standing bell tower, or the belfry of a church or other municipal building. The instrument consists of at least 23 cast bronze, cup-shaped bells, which are played serially to play a melody, or sounded together to play a chord...

 music (in Finnish Senaatintorin ääni) is played daily at 17:49 (5:49 PM) at the Senate Square. The sound installation was composed by Harri Viitanen, composer and organist of Helsinki Cathedral
Helsinki Cathedral
Helsinki Cathedral is an Evangelical Lutheran cathedral of the Diocese of Helsinki, located in the centre of Helsinki, Finland. The church was originally built as a tribute to the Grand Duke, Nicholas I, the Tsar of Russia and until the independence of Finland in 1917, it was called St...

, and Jyrki Alakuijala, Doctor of Technology. The optimal listening position is at the proximity of the Square's central monument, the bronze statue of Alexander II.

The broad flight of steps on the north side of the square, in front of the cathedral are so steep that unsuspecting visitors approaching the square from the north often assume that they are approaching a cliff edge: because the steps do not come into view until one is at the very top step, one experiences a moment of vertigo. Locals even refer to the point as the 'cliff edge.'.

American actor and film director Warren Beatty
Warren Beatty
Warren Beatty born March 30, 1937) is an American actor, producer, screenwriter and director. He has received a total of fourteen Academy Award nominations, winning one for Best Director in 1982. He has also won four Golden Globe Awards including the Cecil B. DeMille Award.-Early life and...

 filmed scenes from his film Reds (1981) on the square — Helsinki playing the role of St. Peterburg — but without showing the Cathedral. The title sequence of John Huston's The Kremlin Letter
The Kremlin Letter
The Kremlin Letter is an American noir film directed by John Huston, starring Richard Boone, Orson Welles, Max von Sydow, Bibi Andersson, Patrick O'Neal and George Sanders. It was released in February 1970 by 20th Century-Fox...

(1970) was filmed over the square at night, including the silhouette of the Cathedral. Snowy night scenes from Jim Jarmusch
Jim Jarmusch
James R. "Jim" Jarmusch is an American independent film director, screenwriter, actor, producer, editor and composer. Jarmusch has been a major proponent of independent cinema, particularly during the 1980s and 1990s.-Early life:...

's film Night on Earth (1991) were filmed on the square, but given the impression that there is a traffic roundabout at the centre. The opening sequence of the music video for "Sandstorm
Sandstorm (song)
"Sandstorm" is a song by Finnish trance producer and DJ Darude. It was released on November 15, 1999 in Finland by 16 Inch Records, and re-released in Europe in 2000. "Sandstorm" was the best-selling 12" single worldwide in 2000...

" by Darude
Ville Virtanen , better known by his stage name Darude is a trance producer and DJ from Eura, Hinnerjoki, Finland. Debuting in 1995, he released the hit single "Sandstorm" in late 1999 and subsequent album Before the Storm...

 was filmed on Senate Square, prominently featuring the Cathedral in the background.

Several buildings near the Senate Square are managed by the government real estate provider, Senate Properties
Senate Properties
Senate Properties is a Finnish unincorporated state-owned enterprise, which manages a major part of the real estate assets owned by the Republic of Finland.-History:...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.