Religious sites in Finland

St. Mary's Church

The Vehkalahti Church (today known as the St. Mary's Church) was built in the 14th century at the place were the town of Hamina is now. The history of Vehkalahti churches begins in 1396, when the first mention of town was written to a letter by Vyborg castle lord. The present stone church was built probably between 1430 and 1470. Because of it's location near the Russian border it was robbed and burned twice in wars duri ...
Founded: 1430-1470 | Location: Hamina, Finland

St Olaf's Church

The St. Olaf's Church in Tyrvää is a late medieval stone church built probably in 1510-1516.Archeologists have found evidences that the church site has been a spiritual place even in 1000 BC. The settlement has concentrated to the Vanhankirkonnimemi area during the end of Iron Age. There may have been two wooden churches before the present one built in the 14th century. The St. Olaf's Church was probably extende ...
Founded: 1510-1516 | Location: Sastamala, Finland

The St. Birgit Memorial Church

The St. Birgit Memorial Church was built probably between years 1502-1505. It is dedicated in memory of St. Birgit who died in Rome in 1373 and was proclaimed as a saint in 1391. Situated on the bordering area between the historic districts of Satakunta and Häme, the architectural style of the church exhibits certain influences from both of these areas. The shapes of the nave, rich in decoration, are typical of Sata ...
Founded: 1502-1505 | Location: Lempäälä, Finland

Inkoo Church

The oldest parts of grey stone church date back to the 15th century. It was built in three periods: the first part probably in 1430s, second maybe in the later half of 15th century and latest in 1510s. The roof was destroyed by lightning in 1623 and the bell tower was built beside 1739-1740. The Inkoo parish is very old (established in the beginning of 13th century) and it's quite probable there have been wooden churches ...
Founded: 1430-1510 | Location: Inkoo, Finland

The Church of St. Sigfrid

The Old Church in Sipoo was built in 1450-1454 by the same unknown architect who designed for example Porvoo, Pernaja and Pyhtää churches.There are several wall paintings inside the church from the end of 15th century.
Founded: 1450-1454 | Location: Sipoo, Finland

Kangasala Church

Kangasala grey granite church, with its beautiful baroque star ceiling, was built in 1767. Its rare wooden sculptures, dating back to the 15th century, make the church particularly fascinating. The tower collapsed in 1782 and the new one was completed in 1800.There is a "bleeding stone" in the wall which is known among the local people. According the legend the girl called "Kuussalon Kaarina" was beheaded on it.During the ...
Founded: 1767 | Location: Kangasala, Finland

Lappeenranta Church

The Lutheran church of Lappeenranta was completed in 1924. The building started in 1912 and it was originally mentioned to be an Orthodox military church of Russian garrison in Lappeenranta. The construction was interrupted quite soon by World War I. After the independence declaration the church was moved as the property of Finland government. The parish of Lappeenranta decided to complete it as the Lutheran church. The ...
Founded: 1912-1924 | Location: Lappeenranta, Finland

Kotka Church

The church of Kotka was designed by architect Josef Stenbäck and completed in 1898. The red-brick church was built in the Neo-Gothic style. The altarpiece was painted by famous painter Pekka Halonen.
Founded: 1897-1898 | Location: Kotka, Finland

Parainen Church

The greystone church in Parainen was built in the 15th century (probably in 1440-1460) and is dedicated to St. Simon. The western part of the Agricola-chapel is the eldest component of the church, today a museum. On the churchyard is located the chapel of bishop Tengström, Finland's first archbishop (erected in 1819). The interior of the church is covered with several coat of arms. The rarest one is dedicated to pope ...
Founded: 1440-1460 | Location: Länsi-Turunmaa, Finland

Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas

The Orthodox Church of Kotka, known also as St. Nicolas church, was built between 1799-1801 under the Russian order. It was designed in accordance with drawings by Jakov Perrin, architect of the St Petersburg Admiralty. The orthodox church is probably the oldest building in Kotka and one of the rare to survive a British bombardment of the town in 1855.The church was built in Russian Neo-classicism style. Differing from a ...
Founded: 1799-1801 | Location: Kotka, Finland

The Church of St. James

The church of Renko was built in the end of 15th century or at the beginning of 16th century. It was consecrated to St. Jacob as well as the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in Spain. This is why Renko church was a popular pilgrimage destination before Reformation. Church has an octagonal exterior, which is quite unique in Finnish post-medieval architecture (it's the only one existing octagonal church in Finland).
Founded: 1495-1505 | Location: Renko, Finland

Kökar Church

There may have been two or three wooden churches in Kökar since the last half of 14th century. During the 16th century a Franciscan monastery was founded on Hamnö island. This place became a spiritual and cultural centre for the entire archipelago.Today the ruins of monastery share their site with current Kökar's church, which is probably third in this place. It was built between 1769 and 1784 in charge of ...
Founded: 1769-1784 | Location: Kökar, Finland

Sastamala Church

The church of Sastamala in Karkku (dedicated to St. Mary) was built in the end of 15th century. In the Middle Ages Karkku was the spiritual and administrative center for the northern Satakunta area. Unfortunately church was nearly abandoned for decades in the 19th and 20th centuries. During this time for example the floor was destroyed. The church was renovated in 1960-1977 and today it's used mainly for summer ceremonies ...
Founded: 1497-1505 | Location: Sastamala, Finland

New Valamo

Tradition has it that the original Monastery of Valamo was founded in the 12th century or no later than the 14th century. New Valamo or New Valaam is an Orthodox monastery in Heinävesi. The monastery was established in 1940, when some 190 monks from Valamo Monastery in Karelia were evacuated from their old abode on a group of islands in Lake Laatokka (Ladoga) to Eastern Finland. The old Valamo Monastery was quite soo ...
Founded: 1940 | Location: Heinävesi, Finland

Nauvo Church

The Nauvo Church was built probably between years 1430 and 1450 and it's dedicated to St. Olaf. The mural paintings were made in the 17th century. The most significant artefact in church is the crucifix from the beginning of 15th century. The oldest music instrument in Finland, organs called "Nauvon positiivi" (built probably in 1664), was originally in the Nauvo church. today it's preserved to the National Museum of Finl ...
Founded: 1430-1450 | Location: Nauvo, Finland

The Church of St. Lawrence

The church of Janakkala is a typical medieval stone church. Building was started in 1510 and completed 1520. The author and initiator of the church building was a war marshall Åke Tott.
Founded: 1510-1520 | Location: Janakkala, Finland

St. Catherine's Church

The Church of St. Catherine in Nummi suburb represents the medieval church building tradition. The construction began in the 1340s, the sacristy was completed first and the church later. Bishop Hemming and Bishop Thomas of Växjö consecrated the church on 22 January 1351.Finnish National Board of Antiquities has named the church site as a national built heritage.
Founded: 1351 | Location: Turku, Finland

Tuusula Church

The current Tuusula Church was built in 1729-1734. The interior of this cross-formed wooden church is very ascetic. The builder was probably local peasant Erik Hannula, who also leaded construction. The belfry was added in 1746.
Founded: 1729-1734 | Location: Tuusula, Finland

Kajaani Church

Kajaani Church was built in 1897. The decorative wooden church is designed by architect Jac Ahrenberg and it represents the Gothic revival of late 1800’s. The present church is third in Kajaani. First one was built in 1656 and destroyed by Russian army during the Great Wrath (1716). The second one completed in 1734 and served Kajaani parish for 160 years. The altarpiece of the current church was moved from that chu ...
Founded: 1897 | Location: Kajaani, Finland

Paltaniemi Church

First church in Paltaniemi was built in 1599, but it was destroyed by the very unusual earthquake in 1626. The next one was completed in 1665, but again it was destroyed by the Russian forces during the Greath Wrath in 1716. The current wooden church was built in 1726. Probably the oldest artifact inside the Paltainiemi church is the altarpiece from the year 1727. Famous paintings on the ceiling and walls was made by Eman ...
Founded: 1726 | Location: Kajaani, Finland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Klis Fortress

From its origin as a small stronghold built by the ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae, becoming a royal castle that was the seat of many Croatian kings, to its final development as a large fortress during the Ottoman wars in Europe, Klis Fortress has guarded the frontier, being lost and re-conquered several times. Due to its location on a pass that separates the mountains Mosor and Kozjak, the fortress served as a major source of defense in Dalmatia, especially against the Ottoman advance, and has been a key crossroad between the Mediterranean belt and the Balkan rear.

Since Duke Mislav of the Duchy of Croatia made Klis Fortress the seat of his throne in the middle of the 9th century, the fortress served as the seat of many Croatia"s rulers. The reign of his successor, Duke Trpimir I, the founder of the Croatian royal House of Trpimirović, is significant for spreading Christianity in the Duchy of Croatia. He largely expanded the Klis Fortress, and in Rižinice, in the valley under the fortress, he built a church and the first Benedictine monastery in Croatia. During the reign of the first Croatian king, Tomislav, Klis and Biograd na Moru were his chief residences.

In March 1242 at Klis Fortress, Tatars who were a constituent segment of the Mongol army under the leadership of Kadan suffered a major defeat while in pursuit of the Hungarian army led by King Béla IV. After their defeat by Croatian forces, the Mongols retreated, and Béla IV rewarded many Croatian towns and nobles with 'substantial riches'. During the Late Middle Ages, the fortress was governed by Croatian nobility, amongst whom Paul I Šubić of Bribir was the most significant. During his reign, the House of Šubić controlled most of modern-day Croatia and Bosnia. Excluding the brief possession by the forces of Bosnian King, Tvrtko I, the fortress remained in Hungaro-Croatian hands for the next several hundred years, until the 16th century.

Klis Fortress is probably best known for its defense against the Ottoman invasion of Europe in the early 16th century. Croatian captain Petar Kružić led the defense of the fortress against a Turkish invasion and siege that lasted for more than two and a half decades. During this defense, as Kružić and his soldiers fought without allies against the Turks, the military faction of Uskoks was formed, which later became famous as an elite Croatian militant sect. Ultimately, the defenders were defeated and the fortress was occupied by the Ottomans in 1537. After more than a century under Ottoman rule, in 1669, Klis Fortress was besieged and seized by the Republic of Venice, thus moving the border between Christian and Muslim Europe further east and helping to contribute to the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The Venetians restored and enlarged the fortress, but it was taken by the Austrians after Napoleon extinguished the republic itself in 1797. Today, Klis Fortress contains a museum where visitors to this historic military structure can see an array of arms, armor, and traditional uniforms.