Very close to the Kamppi centre in the western part of the Helsinki city centre, the Hietaniemi Cemetery houses old tombstones and statues, a park-like atmosphere and a lot of red squirrels. Next to it, there is also a Russian-orthodox graveyard.
A visit to an old and romantic looking cemetery in my neighborhood, as well as previously published location tips about interesting graveyards here in the community have encouraged me to keep a lookout for cemeteries during my time abroad, too. And in Helsinki I found another impressive example: the Hietaniemi Cemetery.
When I told it to my family and friends after my return back home, most of them didn’t understand why I did sightseeing in a cemetery. But there is nothing creepy in it. I just like the nostalgic and weather-beaten look of the old gravestones and statues. Especially since the Hietaniemi Cemetery is more like a park with wide paths and fountains. People also go by bike through it to get to the other side.
Next to the main entrance at the Mechelininkatu, there are the oldest gravestones. The more you proceed to the western direction, the more modern the park becomes. When you finally reach the westernmost point you are standing at the entrance to the Hietaranta Beach. So, why not combining a visit to the cemetery with a short dip into the water? I know, it sounds a bit odd.
Well, and last but not least, the Hietaniemi Cemetery is another place where you can meet the Finnish red squirrels. There are a lot of them in the park. They are not as tame and used to people as the ones on the Seurasaari museum island. But you still can get very close to them. And they will follow you…