Helsinki is the capital, primate, and most populous city of Finland. Located on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, it is the seat of the region of Uusimaa in southern Finland, and has a population of 656,250. The city's urban area has a population of 1,268,296, making it by far the most populous urban area in Finland as well as the country's most important center for politics, education, finance, culture, and research; while Tampere in the Pirkanmaa region, located 179 kilometres to the north from Helsinki, is the second largest urban area in Finland. Helsinki is located 80 kilometres north of Tallinn, Estonia, 400 km east of Stockholm, Sweden, and 300 km west of Saint Petersburg, Russia. It has close historical ties with these three cities.
Together with the cities of Espoo, Vantaa, and Kauniainen, and surrounding commuter towns, Helsinki forms the Greater Helsinki metropolitan area, which has a population of over 1.5 million. Often considered to be Finland's only metropolis, it is the world's northernmost metro area with over one million people as well as the northernmost capital of an EU member state.