For most visitors, the bright stalls of the modern Market Square are their most enduring memory of Finland’s capital.
Fruit, vegetables, fresh and smoked fish and snacks have been sold in the open air near the South Harbour since the 17th century. The dolls, clothes and wooden products are a more recent addition.
|Mon - Fri||6:30 –18:00 (6 p.m.)|
|Sat – Sun*||6:30 – 16:00 (4.p.m.)|
|* Open Sundays from mid-May to September|
Even today, fishing boats sail in from the archipelago, moor at the cholera basin and sell their fish direct to the public.
The name of this corner of the quay doesn't seem to hinder business and the food is quite safe. A skipper from the archipelago did die here from cholera, but that was in 1897.
In the middle of the Market Square is Helsinki’s oldest public monument, the Tsarina’s Stone. It is an obelisk of red granite topped by a globe and a double-headed eagle.
This was the emblem used by the Tsars of Russia. The eagle’s breastplate shows a lion, the coat of arms of Finland. The monument was erected in 1835 in honour of the visit by Tsar Nikolai I and the Tsarina Alexandra, who stepped ashore here.
|Market Hall open|
|Mon - Fri||8:00 –18:00 (6 p.m.)|
|Sat||8:00 – 16:00 (4.p.m.)|
In 1917, the year of the Russian Revolution and Finland’s independence, Russian seamen took down the globe and eagle, but the Finns kept them safe and they were put back in 1971. There are few places anywhere else where original monuments to the old Russian royal family still exist.
Nearby is the old market hall. It is Finland’s oldest, having been built in 1889, but is now more like a delicatessen than a market place.