was a province of Sweden from 1362 to 1807 and of
Russia from 1807 to independence in 1917. Helsinki
was founded by King Gustav Vasa of Sweden in 1550
to entice trade away from Tallinn , but it really
flourished only after Suomenlinna Island Fortress
was built in 1748. In 1812, Tsar Alexander I named
it Finland's capital. Much of the elegant, Neo-Classical
architecture, centered around Helsinki Cathedral,
was built over the next 80 years. However, Helsinki
is also renowned for its Romantic and Modernist buildings,
such as the National Museum and Central Railway Station.
In the 20th century, the Finns became world leaders
in contemporary architecture, as reflected in Alvar
Aalto's works and the ultra-modern Kiasma museum.