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Temppeliaukio Church in Helsinki was Built Inside a Rock

Travelblog Gone with the Wine Blog

Travelblog and lifestyleblog. Life under the Californian sun - Gone with the Wine. Trips, food and wine from all over the world. Solo and family adventures.

Temppeliaukio Church in Helsinki was Built Inside a Rock

Paula Gaston

At last I was able to visit this church that so many tourists visit every year in my home country Finland. Even though the Temppeliaukio Church is not very big, it is architecturally very special and interesting. At this time, it was the only place in Helsinki we visited on our Finland road trip.   

On our road trip in Finland we already drove from Kokkola to Heinävesi where we visited Valamo Monastery, and from there to visit our friends in Rääkkylä. We saw a Nightwish Exhibition in Kitee, traveled to Vyborg, Russia via Saimaa Canal, and spent a day in Porvoo. It was time to head to Helsinki, the capital city of Finland. There we stayed in a famous Rock’n Rose Room in Radisson Blu Aleksanteri.

Temppeliaukio Church was located only in a short walk from our hotel so we decided go for a visit little before it’s closing time. The history of this church is quite interesting. This rocky lot was reserved to a spot for a church already in 1906. The actual construction started years later, and after three separate architect contest. The first contest ended in 1933 with no resolution since the board didn’t like any of the suggested plans. In 1936 there was a new contest and the construction started in 1939 with quarrying the rock. However, it soon ended since Finland went into a war with Russia. After the war they decided to give up the plan to build a church.

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In 1961 the third architect competition was completed when the winner was announced as brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen. Their plan was to quarry a church inside the rock. The construction started and the church opened in 1969. The original name for the church was Taivallahti Church but it was later changed into Temppeliaukio Church. People visiting the church will first notice the big dome made with copper. Some natural light will come from a rooftop window, and the altarpiece is a cracked rock from the ice age. Because of it’s excellent acoustics, the church is very popular place for concerts.

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Today the church is one of the most important architectural sights in Finland and one of the most popular places to visit in Helsinki among the tourists. During our visit we noticed that most people were tourists from other countries than Finland. Many were sitting in the seats in silence but then there were also those who walked straight to the altar with their selfie sticks. There they were posing, in front of everyone else changing the pose and the people in the photos. Even though I get that everyone wants to get their photo taking there, people should still remember that it is a church after all. And if you visit, don’t forget to climb also up to the balcony!

The entrance fee was 3€, kids under 18 were free of charge.