Religious sites in Finland

Uusikaarlepyy Church

St. Birgitta Church, which lies by the bridge crossing the river of Nykarleby, is one of the most famous sights of the town. The church was built in 1708 and is considered one of the most beautiful in Ostrobothnia. The ceiling paintings in the church date from the 18th century and are the work of Daniel Hjulström and Johan Alm. The paintings on the windows behind the altar were painted by Lennart Segerstråhle i ...
Founded: 1708 | Location: Uusikaarlepyy, Finland

The Church of St. Michael

The eastern part of Tammela Church was build c. 1530-1550 (narrow part in the foreground), western part and the tower in 1780s (completed in 1785). Today the church is well preserved and historically remarkable sample of the post-medieval architecture. The hall is the second longest (54m) in Finnish churches. There are lot of old wooden sculptures inside the church sanctified to several Catholic saints and also an old s ...
Founded: 1530-1540 | Location: Tammela, Finland

Savilahti Stone Sacristy

Savilahti stone sacristy was originally a part of Savilahti church, which was destroyed for some reason. The sacristy was built approximately in 1520-1560 and it was planned to be the first part of new stone church. The plan was never finished because the King of Sweden confiscated parish during Reformation.The sacristy have been used for burials and there are 22 graves under the floor. It was abandoded for a long time un ...
Founded: 1520-1560 | Location: Mikkeli, Finland

Korppoo Church

The Korppoo Church was erected probably between years 1430 and 1440. It represents the oldest church architecture in Finland. Good example of this is the stone tower, which was probably built for defensive purposes, not for belfry. When the church was renovated in 1952-1953, several overpainted medieval wall paintings were found overpainted and restored.The oldest wooden statue in Finland, "Korppoon madonna", was original ...
Founded: 1430-1440 | Location: Korppoo, Finland

The Church of Ulrika Eleanora

The first wooden church of Kristiinankaupunki was built between 1654 and 1658 on the site where the Ulrika Eleonora Church now stands, however it burned down on 16th June 1697. The building of the Ulrika Eleonora Church, which replaced it, was completed in 1700. The church was renovated and returned to use in 1965. The wooden church is a typical seaside church complete with a votive ship hanging from the ceiling. The ship ...
Founded: 1700 | Location: Kristiinankaupunki, Finland

Alahärmä Church

The grey stone church of Alahärmä is designed by Josef Stenbäck and built in the Neo-Gothic and national romanticism style. The church was built in 1901-1903 to replace the earlier one destroyed by fire in 1898.
Founded: 1901-1903 | Location: Kauhava, Finland

The Church of St. Catherine

The Church of St. Catherine was built in the end of the 13th century, and is oblong in shape. It was destroyed by fire in the beginning of the 15th century. The wall paintings are from 15th century, and the pulpit was placed in 1650. The church has been reconstructed in the 1830s, and the alterpiece was painted by R.W. Ekman in 1869.
Founded: 1300 | Location: Hammarland, Finland

The Church of St. Matthias

The stone church of Vårdö was built between 1520 and 1550. There may have been a wooden church before in the same site since the 14th century. Church was enlarged in 1784 and the new sacristy was masoned in 1786. Vårdö church survived without damages from the Great Northern War (1700-1721) although the town of Vårdö was burnt.
Founded: 1520-1550 | Location: Vårdö, Finland

Rusko Church

The Church of Rusko was built probably in 1510-1530 and was dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene. It's one of the smallest medieval churches in Finland. The wooden belfry was erected in 1744. There are three medieval crucifixes in church, other 11 are moved to the National Museum or to the Historical Museum of Turku. The National Board of Antiques has named the church area, surrounding graveyard and near stone bridge as natio ...
Founded: 1510-1530 | Location: Rusko, Finland

Utsjoki Church

Utsjoki Church is designed by Ernst Lohrmann and it was built of stone in 1850-1853. Old church houses are from the 19th century. All the 14 church houses have been renovated.
Founded: 1850-1853 | Location: Utsjoki, Finland

Mäntyharju Church

The church of Mäntyharju was completed in 1822. With 1700 seats it is the second largest wooden church in Finland. The church was designed by the government architect Charles Bassi. The bell tower was erected in 1891.
Founded: 1822 | Location: Mäntyharju, Finland

Ylistaro Church

The church of Ylistaro was built between 1847-1852. It is designed by Ernst Lohrmann and the building master was Jaakko Kuorikoski. The Neo-gothic church with 52-meter tower is the third highest in Finland. The altarpiece was painted in 1888 by Adolf von Becker.
Founded: 1847-1852 | Location: Seinäjoki, Finland

Muurame Church

The village of Muurame lies a few miles south of Jyväskylä, the town where Aalto grew up and opened his first architectural practice in 1923, so it was only natural for the parish council to commission its new church from the closest qualified architect. Aalto had made his first trip to Italy in 1924, during which he had been greatly impressed by the architettura minore of small, simple churches in rural setting ...
Founded: 1926 | Location: Muurame, Finland

The Church of St. Michael

The Church of St. Michael is supposed to be built in the end of the 13th century, but another theories suggest sometime between the beginning of the 12th century or in the end of the 15th century. The church replaced an earlier wooden church from around the 1000s. The church has one of the best preserved medieval interior in Finland. There are many medieval wooden sculptures decorating the interior, and the wall pain ...
Founded: 1445-1455 | Location: Finström, Finland

Geta Church

Geta Church is believed to be built in the 1460s, and was dedicated to St. George. It was used as a chapel until the beginning of the 20th century. The altarpiece was donated in 1685. The Empire-style pulpit is from 1842. The major reconstructions have been done in the 17th century, and in 1842. The belfry was built in the middle of the 17th century, but it has been reconstructed in 1685 and in the 19th century.
Founded: 1460-1540 | Location: Geta, Finland

Irjanne Church

The church in Irjanne village is the oldest wooden church in Satakunta county. It was built in 1731 to replace the older medieval church. The bell tower wad erected in 1758. Old cemetery and church park surround the church.
Founded: 1731 | Location: Eurajoki, Finland

Kustavi Church

There were originally two wooden chapels in Kustavi, one in Vartsala (first record from the year 1554) and another in Kunnarainen (1675). In 1783 Kunnarainen chapel was moved to the current site and reconstructed by J. Höckert. The new parish church was named after the king of Sweden, Gustaf III. The church was enhanced between years 1876-1879 and again in 1928.The pulpit dates back to the 1640s. There are also coupl ...
Founded: 1783 | Location: Kustavi, 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

Pudasjärvi Church

The cruciform church in Pudasjärvi was built in 1781 on the shore of the lake Pudasjärvi in Riekinkangas and it was the third church that had been built in the same place. There's room for 700 people in the church. The bell tower has three floors. The paintings on the outside walls are the only known outdoor paintings Mikael Toppelius has made (completed 1765-1766).
Founded: 1781 | Location: Pudasjärvi, Finland

Akaa Stone Sacristy

Akaa medieval stone sacristy was built probably in 1510. The sacristy was originally a part of wooden church. It is supposed to be the first part of a planned stone church, but the plan was never finished.
Founded: 1510 | Location: Toijala, Finland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Derbent Fortress

Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.

Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.

A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.

The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.

The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.

In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.

In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.