Helsingfors, the capital of Finland, is situated on a peninsula in the Gulf, in lat. 60° 10' N. and long. 25° E. Its founder was Gustavus I. of Sweden, by whom it was placed on a site somewhat farther inland than the present town. In 1819 it became the capital of the. duchy. Though it has now for avcentury been in Russian hands, Swedish is still spoken in the town. Helsingfors is protected by the fortifications of Sveaborg, consisting of a line of batteries a mile long on seven islands at the entrance to the-harbour. These were bornbarded for two days by the Allies in 1855, and the impression as to their strength was confirmed.
Helsingfors is a handsome town, with a senatehouse, diet-house, three fine churches, and some university buildings. The university was removed hence from Abo in 1828, and has upwards of 1,500 students and more than 40 professors. It has a large library, the remains of that which was burnt at.Abo, a hospital, and a good observatory. The town is also important commercially as a Baltic port, and exports large quantities of timber. It is much resorted to by the inhabitants of St. Petersburg as a bathing-place.