Havis Amanda fountain or 'Shameless Amanda'
At the end of Kauppatori square in front of the Esplanade park, there is the most famous fountain in Finland (map), called Havis Amanda. The proposal to build a fountain was put forward by the city Council of Helsinki in 1904. A pool of red granite designed by world-renowned Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen, the author of Central station and the bronze sculpture was commissioned in France.
The order was received by sculptor Ville Valgren, Finn, who went to study in Paris. The city Council wanted to see the monument as a symbol of the formation of Helsinki as the Baltic capital and Valgren cast bronze figure of the virgin, coming out of the water on the shore. Before sending to Finland, the sculptor exhibited his work at the Paris salon of arts, his "Mermaid" so pleased the Parisians that there were proposals to install the statue on the Champs Elysees. However, the sculpture reached Finland and on 20 September 1908 was presented to the public in the center of the fountain on the Market square.
The opening of the fountain went without any pomp, but caused the largest cultural conflict in the history of Finland. The sculpture of a naked woman outraged the adherents of traditional values, many believed that the image of the "Parisian prostitute" denigrates the Finnish girl, who was represented by the statue. Feminists even in the images of sea lions saw lustful males surrounding a depraved woman. Over time passions subsided, and bronze naked girl has become one of Helsiki symbols. The official name of the fountain did not come up, the author of the sculpture gave her the name "Mermaid", the inhabitants of Helsinki called the fountain "Daughter of the Baltic", "Sea maiden", or simply "Shower". Moral advocates gave the statue the nickname "Shameless Amanda", which is widely used today. The name "Havis Amanda" appeared a few days after the opening of the fountain in one of the Newspapers in Swedish (official in Finland at that time), referring to the old ballad "Amanda and Herman" (Amanda och Herman), at the end of which the girl drowns in the stormy sea. There is another version: "hav" in Swedish means "sea", and the Latin "Amanda" - "worthy of love" that is "Sea mistress". Anyway, the name "Havis Amanda" has become the most popular and indicated in the guides.
In 1909, in a Walpurgis night a drunken students company put on the head of the statue the student cap with white top. Since 1921, the cap began to appear every year, the authorities unsuccessfully fought with it, and in 1961 this tradition was declared an official student holiday