Top Historic Sights in Joensuu, Finland

Explore the historic highlights of Joensuu

Carelicum

Carelicum is a culture, museum, and tourist centre situated at the market place in the middle of Joensuu. The special interest is the collection of the Sortavala Museum, evacuated during the Second World War. A wide photographic collection related to North Karelia and Karelia on the other side of the border, the Ladoga Karelia.
Founded: 1998 | Location: Joensuu, Finland

Joensuu Church

The brick-made Joensuu Church was built in 1903 and designed by a Finnish church architect Josef Stenbäck. The church is in the Gothic Revival style, but it also has some features of Jugendstil. The high tower located in the southeast corner is the bell tower and in the lower southwest tower is the organ. It was built in 1969 by Organ Factory of Kangasala and has 36 stops. The church has 1000 seats. On the altar is a pai ...
Founded: 1903 | Location: Joensuu, Finland

St. Nicholas Church

The Orthodox St. Nicholas Church of Joensuu was completed in 1887. It’s one of the most significant samples of Orthodox wooden church architecture in Finland. The most valuable artefact is the iconostasis painted in St. Petersburg. The original six bells are also casted there.
Founded: 1887 | Location: Joensuu, Finland

Kiihtelysvaara Church

UPDATE: The church was completely destroyed by fire at 23.9.2018. The wooden church of Kiihtelysvaara is the oldest church in North Carelia province. It was built in 1769-1770 to replace the previous decayed one made in 1680s. The building master was Henrik Häger. Interior of the church was mainly renovated in 1966-67. The bell tower, built in 1856, is the third on site. Two earlier ones were destroyed by fire.
Founded: 1769-1770 | Location: Joensuu, Finland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Abbey of Saint-Étienne

The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.

Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.

The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.

As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).