Helsinki’s underground city a legacy of cold war fears

Threat of Russian invasion, attack and erratic leaders prompted construction of lair

The entrance to the Arena sport centre in Helsinki. Photograph: Derek Scally

The entrance to the Arena sport centre in Helsinki. Photograph: Derek Scally

The rocky ground beneath Finland’s capital, Helsinki, is filled with more holes than the Emmentaler cheese Finns enjoy with their morning rye bread.

Take, for instance, the unremarkable glass hut standing beside a Helsinki market hall which houses an elevator entrance to the Arena sport centre.

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