Goodbye / Au Revoir
A new day breaks in the perfect manner with art shaped by nature. Such a location is the Eiranranta shore, one of the few horizontal points on the Helsinki coastline. When you start off there on a short run towards the Market Square, you arrive at a complete work of art. Following the National Romantic style, the statues of Villa Ensi support the building’s architecture, made perfect together with the facing sea and the garden. Once you have said your Goodbyes, feel free to keep running.
What: Harald Sörensen-Ringi: Goodbye / Au revoir, 1910
Where: Villa Ensi, Merikatu 23
Statue of Peace
Once you breathe your way through towards the ferry terminal, you will encounter a woman running by your side levitating and rising to the air. This energising figure is the Statue of Peace, a spirit returning to the ground with a new heart after the war. May the sensitive being accompany you in your footsteps and encourage you to take your trip further, with your eyes landing on top of the Tähtitorninmäki hill already in sight.
What: Essi Renvall: Statue of Peace, 1968
Where: Ehrenströmintie 12
On top of the hill, you will meet a statue of a shipwrecked family. Together with the castaways, you can take a breather and lay your eyes on the sea and the rescuers about to arrive. Leave the shipwreck behind you, and take with you only that gruesome force calling for life, bringing a floating voice of drama into the otherwise sleepy park.
What: Robert Stigell: Shipwrecked, 1898
Make your way to meet Miss Amanda, perhaps the most beloved Helsinkian of all. When you continue running from the Tähtitorninmäki hill along Unionkatu and up towards the Market Square, you can also take in one of the most spectacular sights in the city: a street that goes on and on, all the way to the Kallio church in the horizon. Perhaps this tender Parisian beauty, nicknamed Manta, would feel more at home in a more rugged neighbourhood. But the Market Square is perhaps a more intimate setting than the original proposal at the Champs-Élysées. Rising from the sea, the figure of a woman symbolises Helsinki and the birth of a city. Its home is among the waves. Bring along some binoculars on your morning run: a closer inspection of her features takes the breath away.
What: Ville Vallgren: Havis Amanda, 1908
Where: Market Square - Please note that Havis Amanda is currently undergoing renovation and the surrounding area is fenced off as a construction site. The renovation work is expected to continue until August 2024.
As you continue along Rauhankatu, you will soon encounter a woman who greets both you and the rising sun with her hands enthusiastically in the air. She holds a shy awaiting as well as a sprinkle of life. No wonder that this statue is also known as The Young Girl and a Promise. The work was a direct commission by the Bank of Finland from the artist, and now this young beauty greets visitors to the banknote printing works. May she bring you a promise of a fine day, dear runner.
What: Wäinö Aaltonen: Daybreak, 1956
Where: Rauhankatu 19
Unioninkatu is perhaps not the most peaceful nor unrefined jogging route, but it is a good connection to Kaisaniemi Park. Along the way, you can admire some horses. Locals are known to sometimes bring them hay. The tender relationship of a mare and foal was sculpted by an artist highly acclaimed by Marshal C.G.E. Mannerheim (1867-1951): “Anyone can make a sculpture of me, but only Emil Cedercreutz (1879-1949) can sculpt the horse underneath me.”
What: Emil Cedercreutz: Maternal Love, 1928
Kaisaniemi Park is at its greenest by the botanical garden, offering a refuge in the concrete city. You can admire several artworks in the park: for example, the bust of national hymn composer Fredrik Pacius (1809-1891). It is sculpted by Emil Wikström (1864-1942), one of the most important artists of the Golden Age of Finland. If your step is light and you feel energetic, make a tour of the park to find more gems, such as the oldest memorial in the city, the Freemason’s Tomb, or the sculpture Convolvulus by Viktor Jansson (1886-1958).
What: Emil Wikström: Fredrik Pacius, 1895
Where: Kaisaniemi Park
A fine way to continue the run from Kaisaniemi Park is to go through the tunnel to the other side of the Central Railway Station. This route brings you to the Helsinki Music Centre, as well as to a pike rising up from the ground outside it. Made of aluminium and steel, the fish speaks for Finnish folk traditions and poetry. A grand piano elevated beside it reminds of high culture, further accompanied by a pile of wood. The pike is about to burst into song, but if you happen to hear some music on your run, it is most likely floating out of the Music Centre.
Mikä: Reijo Hukkanen: Song Trees, 2012
Missä: Kansalaistori square
The Baana bicycle lane cuts through the city. It runs from Kiasma and the Music Centre right past HAM, all the way to the Ruoholahti district. Converted from an old railway chasm, it has since been planted with trees and bushes and dotted with basketball, table tennis and pétanque fields. The chasm has several resting spots, as well as environmental artworks such as Love Helsinki by Janne Siltanen (1976-). One part of this work is a mural and the second part a red sculpture spelling out Helsinki, inviting to rest for a moment on top of it. You might not be the only one enjoying the sculpture as its curves and platforms are also a favourite of skateboarders.
What: Janne Siltanen: Love Helsinki, 2012
Olo n:o 22
Almost there! Continue by foot from the end of the Baana bicycle lane towards the Hietalahdenallas harbour basin. This maritime location is dotted with more than 50 polished steel balls of different sizes. This environmental artwork has no beginning or end to it; instead, it has a continuous presence in the area. If you are carrying a camera, take a snapshot of your own reflection on one of the balls. About a mile to go and you are back to square one. You can now reach the Au Revoir sculpture by, for instance, the Telakkakatu street and along the Eiranranta shore.
What: Pasi Karjula, Marko Vuokola: Olo n:o 22, 2000
Where: Hietalahdenallas harbour basin surroundings
HAM has created several other sculpture trails. They guide you to new picnic sites, feature the life of artist Tove Jansson and take you to an expedition to the newest public artworks in town, among others.