My home neighbourhood has become a concentration of urban life at its best, a hotspot not known by many. True Helsinki gems from top hotels to cool restaurants pop up as you walk around these streets. The people are friendly, there are great museums and the old market hall, as well as the sea, parks, and jogging routes. You wouldn't think this is right in the downtown area – the feeling is somehow calmer. This neighbourhood is easy to fall in love with. And it's easy to fall in love here.
A neighbourhood situated in the southern downtown area of Helsinki, Kaartinkaupunki is dominated by offices and workplaces. Yet around 1,000 residents also live here. This office neighbourhood is known for its great restaurants, shops, and showrooms. The most expensive residential spaces in Helsinki in 2017 were sold in Kaartinkaupunki.
The name of the neighbourhood comes from the old Russian army barracks – the Guards' Barracks – situated in the Kasarmitori square. Helsinki's main Market Square is one of the defining landmarks here, as is the beloved statue called Havis Amanda – a nude female figure erected on a fountain on the 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.)
The adjacent Old Market Hall is extremely popular amongst residents and visitors alike. The green oasis that is Esplanade Park attracts everyone from tourists to office workers for a lunchtime picnic on the lawn. In the darkest hours of the year, the park is cheerfully illuminated with Christmas lights.
Deeper into Kaartinkaupunki, the Erottaja Rescue Station was completed in 1891 and has been called the most beautiful fire station in the country. It is also Helsinki's oldest fire station still in use. Another beautiful building in the area is the Rikhardinkatu Library.
There is plenty to see and discover here for lovers of design and architecture. In addition to plentiful shops and notable buildings, design aficionados will head to the Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Design Museum which are situated next to one another. The street Pieni Roobertinkatu has live music venues, restaurants, and a hotel housed in the premises of a former police station.