Old historical photos and images of Helsinki (Helsingfors), Uusimaa
Vanhoja historiallisia valokuvia ja kuvia Helsingistä (Helsingfors), Uudestamaasta

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History of city Helsinki (Helsingfors), Uusimaa in photos

A small historical reference

Geography: Administrative Gliederung of Helsinki:

Alppiharju, Eira, Etu-Töölö, Haaga, Hermanni, Herttoniemi, Kaarela, Kaartinkaupunki, Kaivopuisto, Kallio, Kamppi, Käpylä, Karhusaari, Katajanokka, Kluuvi, Konala, Koskela, Kruununhaka, Kulosaari, Kumpula, Laajasalo, Laakso, Länsisatama, Lauttasaari, Malmi, Meilahti, Mellunkylä, Munkkiniemi, Mustikkamaa-Korkeasaari, Östersundom, Oulunkylä, Pakila, Pasila, Pitäjänmäki, Pukinmäki, Punavuori, Ruskeasuo, Salmenkallio, Santahamina, Sörnäinen, Suomenlinna, Suurmetsä, Suutarila, Taka-Töölö, Talosaari, Tammisalo, Tapaninkylä, Toukola, Tuomarinkylä, Ulkosaaret, Ullanlinna, Ultuna, Vallila, Vanhakaupunki, Vartiokylä, Vartiosaari, Viikki, Villinki, Vuosaari

Date of foundation:


Population: 574 579


Helsinki. Aleksanterinkatu, 1907
Aleksanterinkatu, 1907
Helsinki. Alexandrovskaya street, 1900
Alexandrovskaya street, 1900
Helsinki. Antinkatu, 1909
Antinkatu, 1909
Helsinki. Antinkatu (Lönnrotinkatu) - street, 1910
Antinkatu (Lönnrotinkatu) - street, 1910
Helsinki. Antinkatu, now - Parliamentary Park, 1908
Antinkatu, now - Parliamentary Park, 1908
Helsinki. Balloon seller at Yurenkatu
Balloon seller at Yurenkatu
Helsinki. Bulevardinkatu - Boulevardi Avenue 5, 1907
Bulevardinkatu - Boulevardi Avenue 5, 1907
Helsinki. Bulevardinkatu - Boulevardi Avenue
Bulevardinkatu - Boulevardi Avenue
Helsinki. Street Bulevardin, 1906
Bulevardinkatu - Boulevardi Avenue, 1906
Helsinki. Bus Station, 1941
Bus Station, 1941
Helsinki. Church of St John
Church of St John
Helsinki. Panorama of city, 1906
City Square, Military horse escort, 1906
Helsinki. Construction of a student dormitory, 1901
Construction of a student dormitory, 1901
Helsinki. Corner of Konstantininkatu (Meritullinkatu) and Elisabetinkatu (Liisankatu), 1910
Corner of Konstantininkatu (Meritullinkatu) and Elisabetinkatu (Liisankatu), 1910
Helsinki. Corner of Lapinlahdenkatu and Albertinkatu
Corner of Lapinlahdenkatu and Albertinkatu
Helsinki. Cottage street
Cottage street
Helsinki. Eastern Heikinkatu, 1908
Eastern Heikinkatu, 1908
Helsinki. Eko №9 (now - Bear Park), 1911
Eko №9 (now - Bear Park), 1911
Helsinki. Erottajankatu - Main fire station in the background, 1907
Erottajankatu - Main fire station in the background, 1907
Helsinki. Square Erottaya, Swedish Theatre
Erottaya Square, Swedish Theater
Helsinki. Erottaya Square, Swedish Theater
Erottaya Square, Swedish Theater
Helsinki. Esplanade Park
Esplanade Park
Helsinki. Fredrikinkatu, 1907
Fredrikinkatu - Fredrick Street, 1907
Helsinki. Fredrick Street
Fredrick Street


Early history

In the Iron Age the area occupied by present-day Helsinki was inhabited by Tavastians. They used the area for fishing and hunting, but due to a lack of archeological finds it is difficult to say how extensive their settlements were. Pollen analysis has shown that there were cultivating settlements in the area in the 10th century and surviving historical records from the 14th century describe Tavastian settlements in the area. Swedes colonized the coastline of the Helsinki region in the late 13th century after the successful Second Crusade to Finland, which led to the defeat of the Tavastians.

Founding of Helsinki

Helsinki was established as a trading town by King Gustav I of Sweden in 1550 as the town of Helsingfors, which he intended to be a rival to the Hanseatic city of Reval (today known as Tallinn). In order to populate his newly founded town, the King issued an order to resettle the bourgeoisie of Porvoo, Ekenäs, Rauma and Ulvila into the town. Little came of the plans as Helsinki remained a tiny town plagued by poverty, wars, and diseases. The plague of 1710 killed the greater part of the inhabitants of Helsinki. The construction of the naval fortress Sveaborg (in Finnish Viapori, today also Suomenlinna) in the 18th century helped improve Helsinki's status, but it was not until Russia defeated Sweden in the Finnish War and annexed Finland as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland in 1809 that the town began to develop into a substantial city. Russians besieged the Sveaborg fortress during the war, and about one quarter of the town was destroyed in an 1808 fire.

Russian Emperor Alexander I of Russia moved the Finnish capital from Turku to Helsinki in 1812 to reduce Swedish influence in Finland, and to bring the capital closer to Saint Petersburg. Following the Great Fire of Turku in 1827, the Royal Academy of Turku, which at the time was the country's only university, was also relocated to Helsinki and eventually became the modern University of Helsinki. The move consolidated the city's new role and helped set it on a path of continuous growth. This transformation is highly apparent in the downtown core, which was rebuilt in the neoclassical style to resemble Saint Petersburg, mostly to a plan by the German-born architect C. L. Engel. As elsewhere, technological advancements such as railroads and industrialization were key factors behind the city's growth.

Twentieth century

Despite the tumultuous nature of Finnish history during the first half of the 20th century (including the Finnish Civil War and the Winter War which both left marks on the city), Helsinki continued its steady development. A landmark event was the 1952 Olympic Games, held in Helsinki. Finland's rapid urbanization in the 1970s, occurring late relative to the rest of Europe, tripled the population in the metropolitan area, and the Helsinki Metro subway system was built. The relatively sparse population density of Helsinki and its peculiar structure have often been attributed to the lateness of its growth.


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