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June 20: City Highlights Cruise at 11:30 is cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. Read more here.

Guide to churches & cathedrals in Helsinki

2024-05-28

These churches and cathedrals offer a glimpse into Helsinki’s rich history, architectural diversity, and spiritual significance. Whether you’re a visitor or a local, exploring these sacred spaces is a rewarding experience. Here’s our short guide to some of the beautiful churches and cathedrals in Helsinki. 

 

1. Helsinki Cathedral

Located in Senate Square, this Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Cathedral was originally built between 1830 and 1852 as a tribute to Tsar Nicholas I of Russia. Its green dome is a distinctive landmark in the cityscape. This white church in Helsinki is one of the most photographed tourist destinations in Finland. So, the Helsinki Cathedral in Unioninkatu is definitely worth a visit!

Tip 1!
Helsinki city tour is an easy way to get to know about Helsinki’s top sights. Book a private guide and bus to take you on an interesting trip through Helsinki. During the tour you will see famous sights such as the beautiful Helsinki Cathedral on Senate Square, the famous church built inside a rock, the Temppeliaukio Church, and the Sibelius Monument.

Tip 2!
Senate Square is the departure point for the Helsinki Hop On-Hop Off bus. When you're about to hop on the bus, you can visit the Cathedral at the same time.

 

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2. Helsinki Uspenski Cathedral

This Orthodox church sits on a hill overlooking the city and the sea. Its red-brick exterior and golden onion domes make it a striking sight. The Uspenski Cathedral was designed by the Russian architect Aleksey Gornostayev (1808–1862). The Orthodox Church of Finland is recognised as the second state church in the country, alongside the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Tip!
Try our Guided City Walks! The guided city walks are available for groups throughout the year on request. The walking tours explore different aspects of the city, such as the Helsinski Uspenski Cathedral and other popular attractions.

 

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3. Temppeliaukio Church (a.k.a. the Church in the Rock)

Also known as the Church in the Rock, the Temppeliaukio Church is a Lutheran church designed by architects Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen. The church is carved into solid rock and features a unique copper dome. This church of rock is really worth seeing. The rough, virtually unworked rock surfaces contribute to its excellent acoustics. The church is frequently used as a concert venue because of its exceptional sound quality.

Tip!
Temppeliaukio Church is one of the stops of our Hop On-Hop Off bus and the Panorama Sightseeing Tour. Entrance to the church is free with the Helsinki Card.

4. Kallio Church

Kallio Church is a Lutheran church located in the Kallio district of Helsinki. Designed by the architect Lars Sonck, it beautifully blends elements of National Romanticism with Art Nouveau influences. The church bells play a chorale written by the famous composer Jean Sibelius.

The church tower served as an air surveillance station during World War II. Starting from beginning of summer 2024 you can even visit the church tower to get a maginificent view over the rooftops of Helsinki. Please note that to visit the tower, you have to be 18 years old or older.

Tip!
Join our Hop On-Hop Off sightseeing tour, the guided bus tour with the city’s highlights. Get off at stop 19 to see Kallio Church with its majestic tower. At the same stop you'll find the Hakanemiemi Market Square and Market Hall!

5. Töölö Church

Töölö Church is a Lutheran church located in the Töölö district of Helsinki. Designed by architect Hilding Ekelund following an architectural competition, this church represents Nordic Classicism and holds a rich history. Its unique roof shape resembles a tent.

 

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6. Suomenlinna Church

Located on the historic fortress island of Suomenlinna, this Lutheran church serves both residents and visitors. Originally built in 1854, it served as an Eastern Orthodox garrison church for the Russian troops stationed at Suomenlinna Sea Fortress.

Suomenlinna is an inhabited sea fortress consisting of eight islands. Suomenlinna is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Helsinki as well as a favourite picnic spot for the city's residents. There are also about 900 permanent residents on the islands and 350 people working there all year round.

The tower of the chuch serves as a lighthouse. The lights blinks the morse code letter H - H for Helsinki.

Tip!
You can see Suomenlinna from the sea on most of our cruises. With the Helsinki Card, you get a free ferry ride from Kauppatori to Suomenlinna. In Suomenlinna, the Helsinki Card gives you free entry to the Military Museum's Manege and submarine Vesikko. With the Helsinki Card, you can also enjoy a one-hour guided walking tour of Suomenlinna for free.

7. Helsinki Old Church

The Old Church is the oldest Lutheran church in Helsinki. Its wooden architecture adds to its charm. The church was designed by Carl Ludvig Engel and completed in 1826.

The church is located in a recreational park called Old Church Park. The park was once a cemetery, and over a thousand victims of the 1710 plague are buried nearby. Although it is no longer a cemetery, some gravestones and memorials remain, preserving the historical significance of the area.

8. Mikael Agricola Church

Mikael Agricola Church is a Lutheran church located in the Punavuori district of Helsinki. The church is named after Bishop Mikael Agricola and was designed by architect Lars Sonck. Built between 1933 and 1935, the church is constructed using red bricks and its tower stands 97 meters high, reaching up to 103 meters above sea level.

9. St. John’s Church

St. John’s Church is located in the Ullanlinna district of Helsinki. It’s a Lutheran church designed by the Swedish architect Adolf Melander in the Gothic Revival style. It has historical significance and architectural beauty, making it a notable landmark in the city. It was built between 1888 and 1891, and the remarkable twin towers reach a height of 74 meters (243 feet).

10. Kamppi Chapel of Silence

The Kamppi Chapel, also known as the Chapel of Silence, is a unique architectural gem located in the lively Kamppi district. The Kamppi Chapel is not a traditional church but rather a place for personal reflection, peace, and quiet.

The chapel was thoughtfully designed by architects Mikko Summanen, Niko Sirola, and Kimmo Lintula of the Helsinki-based practice, K2S Architects. Standing at 11.5 metres tall, the chapel is a serene oasis amidst the city’s hustle and bustle. It is constructed using three different types of wood. You’ll find the Kamppi Chapel on Narinkka Square, right in the heart of Helsinki.


Map of churches in Helsinki

 

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