Being called the "Daughter of the Baltic", Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is located on the tip of a peninsula surrounded by an archipelago of 315 islands.
The population of the city is close to half a million and the buildings only have 12 floors, so provincial Helsinki retains an aesthetic, but creative, modern city.
Helsinki became the capital when Finland gained independence from Russia in 1917. The new republic prospered over the years 20 and 30 of the twentieth century, an era when architect Alvar Aalto added the architectural currents of modernism and functionalism to the city. The unique blend of East and West in Helsinki's cultural scene has its maximum representation in the contrast between the simple lines of Finlandia Hall and the rich decoration of the golden dome of the Uspensky Cathedral. The center of the city, designed by German architect Carl Angel, resembles a miniature version of neoclassical St. Petersburg and can be explored easily on foot.