The Presidential Palace is yet, another marvellous-showcase of an imposing architecture across the Helsinki harbour. We stumbled upon this office of the President, while, we were on our way to the Helsinki Cathedral. Which, is when, our guide shared with us, the importance of Helsinki Presidential Palace in Finnish and Russian history. This renaissance architecture is one of the three official residences of the ruling monarchy. (Guarded by two Finnish soldiers) Our guide pointed towards the 3rd floor of the Palace and told us that’s where President staterooms, reception rooms, red waiting room, yellow room, and President’s study were.
Also, our guide was happy to announce, the recent renovation of the Presidential building in 2014. (For a whopping 45 million Euro! Yes, you heard that right) Then again, extravagance is the middle name of Scandinavia and every second Nordic building reminded us of that.
The Neoclassical Transformation of Helsinki Presidential Palace
Near Helsinki Market Square, stands a perfect example of neoclassical architecture. None other than, the Finnish Presidential Palace of Helsinki! While taking a leisurely walk, in the piazza, we learned that architect Carl Ludvig Engel owned the building in the 18th-century. After discovering the site, which was then a salt storehouse, Engel bought and turned it into a remarkable Heidenstrauch House. In the late18th-century, this fantastic piece of art was bought (again) to be, converted into the official residence of the Grand Duke of Finland. The neoclassical transformation is indeed worth visiting and appreciating.
After the Imperial Implications
While walking past the iron railing, we couldn’t help but, notice the metal edges in gold, resembling the medieval lances. Evoking an emotion which usually, triggers at the time, when you observe an official march. Intervening our silence and the light raindrops, pouring from above, our English speaking Finnish guide, pulled out her umbrella and continued to narrate the story of this Imperial Palace. For a moment, she took us back to the World War I era; when Helsinki’s political conditions had the palace, temporarily converted into a Military Hospital. She concluded, “the building is now known as the Imperial Palace.” In the aftermath, of World War I, the higher floors were reserved for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
Either way, a fantastic architecture, with even more interesting, history! We would love to explore the Presidential Palace from inside, on our next trip to Helsinki. Until then, feel free to drop your thoughts and tips if you have been to this magnanimous architectural wonder.