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Christmas lights along Aleksanterinkatu

The Christmas lights along Aleksanterinkatu, the main shopping in the city centre, will be turned on for the 66th year in a row on 23 November 2014. Shopkeepers along Aleksanterinkatu initiated the tradition back in 1949 in order to bring light and hope to the city’s residents, who were still recovering from the war. Over the years the event has come to signify the opening of the Christmas season and is even attended by Santa Claus, who arrives from Lapland to greet the children and all his fans.

Opening of the Christmas street festivities begin at 2:30pm in Senate Square, and the Christmas lights are turned on at 4pm. At the same time the traditional Christmas window display at Stockmann’s department store is unveiled, having been a familiar part of the Christmas season in Helsinki for over 60 years.

Gift ideas and treats from Christmas markets
Helsinki has numerous Christmas markets offering great gift ideas and seasonal treats throughout the city.

The biggest Christmas markets are the, St. Thomas Christmas Market, in Senate Square on 8-21 December,Women's Christmas Fair at Wanha Satama in Katajanokka on 3-7 December, and Ornamo’s Design Christmas Market on 5-7 December.

Cable Factory’s Merikaapelihalli transforms into a huge Christmas market during 12-21 December. The new Christmas festival Kaapelin joulu introduces products from 150 artisans, designers and craftsmen and offers workshops and other programme in the spirit of Christmas.

For fresh design, innovative ideas and new art, check out also the Christmas markets at the Korjaamo Culture Factory on two weekends 13-14 December and 20-21 December, the We Got Beef bar on Iso-Roobertinkatu and the Tori Quarters between Senate Square and the Market Square.
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Welcome to Helsinki

Helsinki is one of Europe’s most modern and culturally progressive cities, yet remains in touch with an intriguing history stretching back over 450 years. It is a city of bustling, colourful market squares and halls, of outdoor summer concerts and sports events, of seaside parks, of excellent cafes and restaurants for every taste and budget, top-notch hotels and cutting-edge art in fine museums. It is also a pleasantly compact city, with many of the attractions in the central districts, within easy reach of one another.
Attractions range from the fabulous island fortress of Suomenlinna in the entrance to the South Harbour and the Open Air Museum of traditional buildings on the island of Seurasaari, to the startling Kiasma housing the Museum of Contemporary Art and the unique ‘Church in the Rock’. History abounds in the magnificent Senate Square, with its neo-Classical Lutheran Cathedral, in the nearby Uspensky Orthodox Cathedral, and in the art nouveau details of the Railway Museum and National Museum.
Suomenlinna is a major monument of military architecture. The 250-year-old fortress, which has been preserved intact because of its military use, is today part of the world heritage. Suomenlinna is one of Finland’s most popular tourist attractions. At the same time it is a suburb of Helsinki, with 850 people living in the renovated ramparts and barracks.
Rock Church – Helsinki
Quarried out of the natural bedrock, Temppeliaukio Church is one of Helsinki's most popular tourist attractions. The interior walls are created naturally by the rock. The church was designed by architects Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen and opened in 1969. Due to its excellent acoustics the church is a popular venue for concerts.

Lucia Parade lights up the city

The traditional Lucia Parade on 13 December is a festival of light during wintertime. Each year a young maiden is selected to represent Saint Lucia, receiving her crown of candles at Helsinki Cathedral before descending the steps to Senate Square.

Lucia is crowned at 5pm. The Lucia Parade begins at 6pm and continues down Aleksanterinkatu where you can catch a glimpse of Lucia along with Christmas elves, horses and historic cars.

Seurasaari Christmas Path

The Seurasaari Christmas Path is a free-of-charge event for families and children taking place on 14 December at 1pm-5pm. The event offers a glimpse into the world of fairy tales, old Finnish Christmas traditions and the basic message of Christmas.

Animals of the forest can be spotted along the Christmas Path, which is being staged for the 19th year in 2014. You can also enjoy a wide range of events and activities.

Christmas concerts

Throughout the holiday season, Christmas music can be enjoyed in the churches and concert halls of Helsinki. The traditional Christmas concerts performed by the YL Male Voice Choir and Cantores Minores, the Choir of Boys and Young Men of Helsinki Cathedral, are particularly popular. Carol concerts are also held in many churches and are a great way of getting into the Christmas spirit.
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