Katajanokka is a district in Helsinki located on the eastern side of the city center. Most visitors will recognise its most famous landmark, the Uspenski Cathedral, but may easily overlook the area’s incredible Art Nouveau architecture that can be found just beyond the Cathedral.
The western section of the district, sometimes referred to as the “Old Side”, is an elegant residential area with rows of beautiful, pastel coloured buildings in the famous Art Nouveau (or “Jugendstil”) style.
It had a humble start, as it was originally a wooden shanty town occupied by mostly fisherfolk since the 1600s. It was not until the latter part of the 1800s that real development of the area began to take place.
In 1844 the Katajanokka headland was separated from the mainland when the small canal was constructed. The Uspenski Cathedral, which is situated on the highest hill in Katajanokka, was completed in 1868 and is the largest Orthodox church in Northern and Western Europe. The Cathedral is Byzantine-Russian in architectural style.
Most of the buildings in the Katajanokka Art Nouveau district were built between 1901 and 1910. Many of the buildings are now used for residential apartments along with small shops and business places.
While you walk along the quiet streets of this charming district you can admire the ornamental motifs and nature-inspired details on many of the buildings, which are signatures of the Jugend style.