Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Senate House is not so gorgeous

Toward evening we left Abo and again entered the maze of granite islands. Early next morning we arrived at Hango and at noon we reached Helsingfors where another halt of six hours was made . This city is the capital of Finland and the seat of the university. The coast is fortified for miles on each side of the harbor and six monitors and a few other war vessels were lying in the roads . The two most prominent buildings in Helsingfors are the Greek Catholic Cathedral and the Senate House. Both stand upon elevations above the city and make quite an imposing appearance . The church has five towers resplendent in gilt which glitters in the sun. The Senate House is not so gorgeous, especially upon nearer examination, but still looks very well from a distance.

Finland is quite distinct from Russia, the Czar being but a grand duke. It has a different coinage and a representative system like that which Gustavus Adolphus gave to Sweden. It is considered the best administered province in the empire. The people have a more pleasing character than the Russians and ninety-eight per cent, of the population are Protestants.

In the evening our steamer turned her head once more toward the sea and we soon passed the monitors and forts bristling with cannon. The next day at noon we reached Viburg where I spent the two hours of our stay in walking around the walls and looking at the hideous old castle.

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