The busy Market Square, with its orange stalls, between the
sea and the impressive row of historical buildings is the
first view to catch the eye of the visitor arriving by sea.
On one side of the bay is the South Harbour, on the other
the Katajanokka headland. Facing out to sea are Helsinki City
Hall, the Swedish Embassy and the Presidential Palace.
One notable feature of the Market is the old Market Hall
on the south shore, the first of its kind in Finland and opened
in 1889. Rising out of the fountain near the Esplanade Park
at the western end of the Market is the statue of Havis Amanda,
the mermaid symbol of Helsinki.
The hustle and bustle of the Market and its appetising smells
act as a magnet for shoppers and for anyone looking for a
snack or a coffee. Food and other wares have been changing
hands at the Market Square since the 18th century, which also
saw the start of the ever-popular Baltic Herring Market in
October. The ferry to the Suomenlinna sea fortress departs
from the Market Square, as do many waterbus cruises in summer.