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  Historical Tour in the Centre of Helsinki
 

The Observatory and Observatory Hill

The Observatory and Observatory Hill

Finland's first observatory was built in Turku in 1819. After the great fire which devastated Turku in September 1827, Tsar Nicholas I ordered that the university be moved from Turku to Helsinki. The observatory was ordered to move along with the university.

The tsar issued a decision to build an observatory in Helsinki and the German architect Carl Ludwig Engel was commissioned to design it, along with numerous public buildings in the centre of Helsinki. When the observatory was completed in 1834, it was one of the most versatile and best-equipped observatories of its time.

Observatory Hill (Tähtitorninmäki)

Observatory Hill (Tähtitorninmäki) was originally called Fire Hill. Long ago fires were lit on the hill to warn people of an imminent attack. The last time this happened was in the early 18th century, during the Great Northern War. After the observatory was built, the name was changed.

Observatory Hill (Tähtitorninmäki)The hill was bare rock to begin with and the observatory on top of it could be seen a long way off. In the late 19th century, when famine struck, a project was undertaken to make the hill suitable for cultivation. Vast amounts of dirt were hauled in for this purpose. This was the largest park project of the period and was completed in 1903. Robert Stigell's sculpture "The Shipwrecked" was placed in the park in 1898.


Additional information on the Observatory:
http://www.astro.helsinki.fi
Additional information on "The Shipwrecked":
http://www.taidemuseo.hel.fi

Photographs:
- Double refractor observatory designed by Gustaf Nyström, photographed in 2002.
Photographer: Mika Lappalainen, Helsinki City Information Office.
- View from Observatory Hill north towards the city centre and the Market Square ca 1900, with flowers in the foreground.
Photo: Helsinki City Museum's photo archives.
- View from Observatory Hill towards the city centre in 2002.
Photographer: Mika Lappalainen, Helsinki City Information Office.

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  Choose a sight:
1. Parliament House
2. Finlandia Hall
3. Hakasalmi Villa
4. Helsinki City Hall
5. Kaisaniemi
6. The Observatory and Observatory Hill
7. The Government Palace
8. The Old Church and the adjacent cemetery
9. Helsinki University Library
10. The Main Building of the University of Helsinki