SONALI SRIVASTAVA a HR professional from India has also worked as a kindergarten teacher in England and Finland. She has lived in Finland for over five years and is currently a stay at home mum of two children.
Where do you live?
Ullanlinna, south Helsinki.
How long have you lived there?
5 years and 8 months.
What kind of neighbourhood is it?
It’s an older residential neighbourhood in south Helsinki. Ten minutes by tram 3B and 3T to the centre. 15 to 20 minutes on foot.
What do you like about your neighbourhood?
• One of the oldest, most desirable districts in Helsinki. Bordered by Punavuori and Kaartinkaupunki districts in the north and by the sea in the south. The main thoroughfare is Tehtaankatu.
• The name Ullanlinna, meaning Ulla’s Castle, comes from the Swedish Queen Ulrika Eleonora (1688-1741) and the fortification’s plans were drawn up in the 18th century. Some parts of the never-finished fortifications are still found in Tähtitorninmäki Park.
• Known especially for its art nouveau architecture and the old observatory designed by Carl Ludvig Engel.
• Many notable persons, such as Finnish presidents Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg and Urho Kekkonen, have lived in Ullanlinna. Also, Vladimir Lenin used to live at Vuorimiehenkatu 35 for a short while.
• The walk from centre Helsinki to Ullanlinna is just few minutes. Ullanlinna can also be reached with trams 3B, 3T and 1A.
The people are friendly and very eager to help and translate Finnish. There are a lot of embassies in the area, so there are many programs for foreigners like the English speaking child and mother’s group at Mikael Agricola Church. It’s a short and beautiful walk to the centre through cobbled streets, passing through all the major attractions of Helsinki. The Kauppatori market square is so close for seasonal delights at the same time there is Aleksaterinkatu for all the big stores. Not to forget the small boutiques that offer specialities.
What is special about your neighbourhood?
There is everything in Ullanlinna that one can look for as part of desirable living. It’s proximity to the sea, the beautiful expanse of green in the Kaivopuisto Park and Art Nouveau architecture to give the old world charm.
Please recommend one shop or service in your neighborhood that you would like to promote.
Aito kauppa on Tehtaankatu is a small shop that stocks organic and Finnish foods. There is a varied stock, from fruits, vegetables , fresh buns and breads to fish and herbs. They also have special Päivan tarjous (deal of the day) that can be rather economical and interesting to follow.
Other things you would like HT readers to know about your neighborhood.
There is plenty to see and enjoy in Ullanlinnna, but one of my favourite views is that from the top of the old observatory in Kaivopuisto. The panoramic views of the entire neighbourhood and its architectural glory behind you and the views of the Baltic sea stretching as far as the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress in the front bring nature and architecture together all in one. During the winter, on the frozen Baltic Sea, a makeshift bridge is built to connect the harbour to Uunisaari, a small island. The walk to the island and a little break to catch a cuppa at the café Uunisaari to warm our freezing selves can be a delightful experience. The sea, the nature, architecture, the convenience of trams all go on to make Ullanlinna one of the most sought after residential areas in Helsinki. A place where old and new come together to give the place a unique character. A place that has given me many fond memories of Helsinki which I will cherish for a lifetime.