Jogging along Kallio and Kruununhaka’s “north beach” road I noticed that between all the modern boats, there were a cluster of beautiful wooden-hulled sailing ships docked at the “Halkolaituri”. It took a while before I returned to the spot with Brigitte, Jesse, a camera and a bit of research about this place and its lovely vessels.
It turns out that in the 1650’s the first dock (the “laivasilta” = boat + bridge) was built here, and that this area functioned as the city’s main port until the early 1800’s when construction started on the South Harbour (only a short walk away). Over time Halkolaituri was used mostly for bringing wood (for construction and burning) – hence its name (halko = log, laituri = pier). You can find more about the Halkolaituri’s history here, here and here (in Finnish).
These days Halkolaituri is home to quite a few large sailing ships (yatchs?), and with last month’s Helsinki arts festival part of it was even temporarily converted to a cafe (as part of the Heineken Style Nuggets promotion). It’s a beautiful location and well worth a visit (especially on a stunning sunny day like we had!).