In many ways, Finland is the most practical of nations – and a quick walk around the compact central core of Helsinki, the country’s lovely capital, reveals this in a beautiful, physical form. Accompanied by a guide named Raija, under a vast blue sky on a sunny, crisp morning, I walk past many buildings designed by Carl Ludvig Engel, the German architect appointed by the Romanovs in the 19th century to build a city that would make its Russian rulers proud, after it became part of their vast empire. His masterpiece, the city’s focal point, is Senate Square, a spot dominated by a domed cathedral built to honour Tsar Nicholas I and by an impressive statue of Tsar Alexander II.

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