Religious sites in Finland

Helsinki Cathedral

Helsinki Cathedral is a distinct landmark in the scenery of central Helsinki, with a tall green dome surrounded by four smaller domes. It was built in 1830–1852 in neoclassical style to replace an earlier church from 1727. The cathedral was designed by Carl Ludvig Engel, to form the climax of the whole Senate Square laid out by Engel, surrounded by a number of buildings all designed by him.Today the cathedral is one ...
Founded: 1830-1852 | Location: Helsinki, Finland

Uspenski Cathedral

Uspenski Cathedral is an Eastern Orthodox cathedral dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos (the Virgin Mary). The cathedral was designed by the Russian architect Alexey Gornostaev (1808–1862), but it was built after his death in 1862-1868. It was made of bricks brought mainly from Bomarsund fortress in Åland which had been destroyed during the Crimean War in 1854.Uspenski cathedral represents the Slavonic architec ...
Founded: 1862-1868 | Location: Helsinki, Finland

Temppeliaukio Church

Quarried out of the natural bedrock, The Temppeliaukio church is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city; half a million people visit it annually. The interior walls are created naturally by the rock. The church was designed by architects Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen and opened in 1969. The interior was excavated and built into the rock but is bathed in natural light entering through the glazed dome. Due to ...
Founded: 1969 | Location: Helsinki, Finland

The Old Church

The old church of Helsinki was designed by famous architect C. L. Engel and completed in 1826. It was originally mentioned to be temporary church for the construction time of new cathedral in Senate Square. When the old Ulrika Eleonora Church was demolished, the recovered building materials and part of the movables were auctioned but some of the furnishings including the pulpit, benches and chandeliers as well as the org ...
Founded: 1826 | Location: Helsinki, Finland

Tampere Old Church

The old church of Tampere is a wooden cruciform shape church built in 1824-1825. It’s the oldest public building in the downtown. The church was designed by Carlo Bassi. The belfry was added in 1828-1829. The first public park in Tampere was built around the church in 1835.The old church is popular for weddings and it’s open around the year from Wednesday to Sunday.
Founded: 1824-1825 | Location: Tampere, Finland

Turku Cathedral

Turku Cathedral is the Mother Church of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, and the country's national shrine. It is the central church of the Archdiocese of Turku and the seat of the Archbishop of Finland. It is also regarded as one of the major records of Finnish architectural history.The cathedral was originally built out of wood in the late 13th century, and was dedicated as the main cathedral of Finland in 13 ...
Founded: 1400-1410 | Location: Turku, Finland

St. John's Church

St. John’s Church was built between 1888-1891. It was designed by A. E. Melander, who win the design competition in 1878. St. John’s Church is most remarkable sample of neo-gothic church architecture in Finland. It’s also biggest stone church in Finland with 2600 seats.The twin towers are 74 metres in height, and the church has excellent acoustics. It’s therefore used for big concerts and events as well as service ...
Founded: 1888-1891 | Location: Helsinki, Finland

Porvoo Cathedral

The Porvoo Cathedral was originally made of wood. The first stone walls were built between 1410 and 1420 and in 1450 the church was expanded four meters towards east and six meters towards south. The cathedral has been destroyed by fire numerous times; in 1508 by Danish and in 1571, 1590, and 1708 by Russian forces. On May 29, 2006, the outer roof collapsed after arson, however with the inner ceiling undamaged and the ca ...
Founded: 1410-1420 | Location: Porvoo, Finland

German Church

The neo-gothic German Church was built in 1864 by Harald Bosse and C. J. von Heideken. The tower was added in 1897. It’s popular venue for weddings and concerts.
Founded: 1864 | Location: Helsinki, Finland

Kallio Church

The spectacular Kallio church, designed by Lars Sonck and built in 1908–1912, represents the Finnish national romantic school of architecture, as well as a change to Art Nouveau. The bells of the tower play a melody composed by Jean Sibelius. Inside the church are numerous interesting details such as a crucifix and relief made by sculptor Hannes Autere.In the beginning of independent Finland Tolstoyan movement took ...
Founded: 1908-1912 | Location: Helsinki, Finland

Tampere Orthodox Church

The Orthodox church of Tampere was built in Russian romantic style, with onion style cupolas, and was completed in 1899. The architect of the Russian army, T.U. Jasikov, drew the floor plan. The church was consecrated in 1899 to Saint Alexander Nevsky, a Novgorodian who in 1240 fought against the Catholic Swedes and two years later the Catholic Teutonic Knights with equal success, and was accordingly canoniced for these n ...
Founded: 1896-1899 | Location: Tampere, Finland

Hämeenlinna Church

Hämeenlinna Church was built in 1798 as a rotunda modelled on the Pantheon in Rome. It is designed by Frenchman L. J. Desprez, the court architect of Sweden. The altar stood in the middle of the amphitheatre-shaped church, and the pulpit was above the sacristy door. Hämeenlinna church is one of the best samples of so-called Gustavian classism style in Finland.
Founded: 1792–1798 | Location: Hämeenlinna, Finland

The Church of the Holy Cross

The church of the former Franciscan monastery was built probably between 1515 and 1520. It is located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Rauma. The church stands by the small stream of Raumanjoki (Rauma river). The exact age of the Church of the Holy Cross is unknown, but it was built to serve as the monastery church of the Rauma Franciscan Friary. The monastery had been established in the early 15th century and ...
Founded: 1515-1520 | Location: Rauma, Finland

Naantali Church

The Naantali Church was originally part of the Catholic Convent of St. Bridget. The convent was built between years 1443 and 1462 and church probably later in the end of 15th century. Nowadays the church is the only remaining building of the convent, which was closed during Reformation in 1540s. Naantali Church is damaged several times by fire and the present interior is mostly from the modern times except the pulpit (162 ...
Founded: 1443-1462 | Location: Naantali, Finland

Tampere Cathedral

The national romantic cathedral was designed by Lars Sonck and built between 1902 and 1907. In the beginning of the 20th century Russification was a governmental policy of the Russian Empire aimed at limiting the special status of the Grand Duchy of Finland and possibly the termination of its autonomy. This caused the rise of the national romanticism in Finland and Tampere Cathedral was one of the most remarkable examples ...
Founded: 1902-1907 | Location: Tampere, Finland

Oulu Cathedral

The Oulu Cathedral is an Evangelical Lutheran cathedral and the seat of the Diocese of Oulu. The church was built in 1777 as a tribute to the King of Sweden Gustav III of Sweden and named after his wife as Sofia Magdalena's church.The wooden structures burned in the large fire of the city of Oulu in 1822. The church was built again on top of the old stonewalls with famous architect Carl Ludvig Engel as the designer. T ...
Founded: 1777 (restored 1832) | Location: Oulu, Finland

Virgin Mary Church

The Virgin Mary Church of Lappeenranta is the oldest Greek Catholic church in Finland and the second oldest building in Lappeenranta. It was inaugurated in 1785. The narrow church was expanded in 1903, when the Russian cavalry was garrisoned in the city.
Founded: 1785 | Location: Lappeenranta, Finland

Messukylä Old Church

The older church in Messukylä, dedicated to St. Michael, is the oldest building in Tampere. First wooden church in Messukylä was built in the 15th century, probably 1434. The present stone church was built to replace the previous one probably between 1510-1530. The oldest still existing part is the sacristy built in the end of 15th century. During the Civil War (1918), Messukylä was the scene of heavy batt ...
Founded: 1510-1530 | Location: Tampere, Finland

St. Henry's Cathedral

St. Henry's Cathedral is dedicated to Henry, Bishop of Uppsala. It was constructed between 1858–1860. The architecture of the church is Gothic Revival with statues of Saint Henry, Saint Peter and Saint Paul decorating the exterior. Since Finland is predominantly Lutheran, the church was intended primarily for use by Catholic foreigners. The church is the main Catholic church in Helsinki, and offers Mass in many ...
Founded: 1858-1860 | Location: Helsinki, Finland

St. John's Church

The St. John's Church in the Hamina city centre was built in 1841-1843. It was designed by famous architect Carl Ludvig Engel and represents the Neoclassicism style with strong influence of Greece temples.Before the present church there was a church of Ulrika Eleanora (built in 1732, destroyed by fire in 1742) and the commandant’s house. The residence of the fortress commander was the place where the Russian ne ...
Founded: 1841-1843 | Location: Hamina, Finland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.