My birth home is in Kaivopuisto. The area still glows with the old time charm of embassies and movies about undercover agents. The nearby Tähtitorninmäki (Observatory Hill) is the city's best spot to bring a date and discuss the cult film "The Stars Will Tell, Inspector Palmu" set in this very scenery.
Kaivopuisto is situated right at the tip of the Helsinki peninsula. It is one of the oldest and most popular parks in the city. The streets surrounding the park also form a residential area of around 500 inhabitants. The neighbourhood is home to old villas and several embassies, and has become known as a diplomat district.
The rocky peninsula tip used to be covered in pristine forest and swamps. In the 1830s, a high-society spa opened its doors in the area with an adjacent refurbished park. The park was far enough removed from the bustle of the city centre and became a meeting point and recreational hub for society. These days Kaivopuisto or "Kaivari" serves the pastime needs of nearby residents as well as the whole metropolitan area. The biggest yearly get-together is the May Day picnic when tens of thousands of Helsinkians flock to the park to welcome the approaching summer – although the weather can be anything from t-shirt bliss to a hailstorm. In Finland, the May Day celebrations merge labour day traditions with an urban carnival.
The quaint group of villas on the eastern side of the park includes many ambassadors’ residences. Some villas date back to the era of the famed spa, such as Villa Kleineh, Kalliolinna, and Villa Cygnaeus. The Marshal of Finland, C.G. Mannerheim, also resided in one of the villas in the area from 1924 to 1951. The house is open to the public as the Mannerheim Museum.