Out for churches in the city center of Helsinki

Pauliina Flam | Live the World

November 23, 2022

For some reason, churches are among the most visited attractions in any big city. It makes sense; churches are architecturally interesting, they reflect the history of the country and maintain a spiritual atmosphere, which creates an experience out of a visit. 

Lutheranism is the most common religion in Finland. Lutheran churches here are simple and out of heavy decorations. Maybe that is why many interesting churches in Helsinki are built around unusual design ideas. Let us take a look at some churches around Helsinki center, besides Tuomiokirkko, which is the main church and impossible to miss anyway.

The Kamppi Chapel

A modern yellow building, looking like a big jar out of nowhere, is the Kamppi Chapel. It probably will not cross your mind that it is a church until you step in. The idea behind this one is to have a comforting place for silence right in the middle of the busiest square; that is why we also call it "a Chapel of Silence."  The soundproof in Kamppi Chapel is brilliantly done, and as soon as you lurk in, you are going to be surrounded only by your own thoughts. The room inside is tiny and round-shaped. Having no sharp corners, it stimulates the feeling of safety and comfort. By the way, the building won an International Architecture Awards back in 2010. Kamppi Chapel is an unusual and calm place to escape the hustle of central streets


The Temppeliaukio Rock Church

One of the most famous Helsinki attractions is a church built into solid rock. The untouched wall surface brings up the best acoustics in town, so from time to time, the Rock Church holds beautiful concerts. As you step inside, it is hard not to notice a beautiful dome lined with a 22 kilometers long copper stripe. If there were no stone walls, the place would probably remind a space ship from some movie, but the architecture plays around the idea of being united with nature, and it works, bringing up an enchanting atmosphere. Temppeliaukio Church is a must-see and a unique spiritual experience. By the way, the church was built as a result of two brothers winning the architectural competition and gained a lot of protests at the time. Youngsters could not understand why spending money on a new church when there is hunger in the world.  Well, as we know now, it ended to be a beautiful and popular place. 


Uspensky Cathedral

Finnish people are mostly Lutheran or not religious, but there is also a percentage of Orthodox people, and Uspensky Cathedral is the principal Church for them. Lurking inside, you can notice the difference in decorations between Lutheran and Orthodox traditions, here are many valuable icons and gold over the altar. If you think decorations make the atmosphere, this place should be in your interest. My favorite thing about Uspensky Cathedral is the hill where it stands. There are some beautiful views of the sea and the city from the hill.


St. John's Church

This gothic beauty was constructed for a good reason: there was not enough place for people inside the churches that already existed. Nowadays this church sits the biggest amount of visitors in Finland: 2600 people. Looking from the Market Square, you can notice two towers piercing the sky, the church is approximately a kilometer walk from here. Inside St.John's Church, it is quite festive compared to other churches of the city. No wonder it is a very famous place for weddings.


Kallio Church

This mighty building is much more impressive outside than inside. Kallio Church is especially picturesque during stormy weather, and one day, it ended up in magazines just because of looking great in the dark sky. The scenic tower beholds seven church bells, for which famous Finnish composer Jean Sibelius wrote a melody. This melody is still played in the church every day at 12 and 18 o'clock. Kallio church is also one famous concert place for its acoustics.

Honestly, being an active traveler, some of my favorite churches are still in Finland, for its pure and spiritual approach, making me want to revisit them even though I am not religious. Especially the Rock Church and the Kamppi Chapel are my favorite places for a moment of peace.

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