Free Tour in Helsinki
Celebrate Finland’s 100th Independence Anniversary by visiting its most iconic architectural wonders.
TRAVEL TO FINLAND AND VISIT ITS ARCHITECTURAL WONDERS IN HELSINKI
This year, Finland celebrates its 100th anniversary after its independence, so today, we are traveling to Helsinki, its capital city, to enjoy a wonderful vacation visiting historical sites and trying tasty food, of course! Let’s go!
HELSINKI CATHEDRAL (TUOMIOKIRKKO)
We start this trip at Helsinki Cathedral, which was built in elaborate chalk and watches over the city. It was completed in 1852 and it’s located in the heart of ancient Helsinki’s Empire era and it’s a landmark for those who arrive by sea. Until Finland became independent from Russia in 1917, the cathedral, which serves as a Luthern church, was known as St. Nicholas Church. It was designed by German architect Carl Ludvig Engel in neoclassical style. However, at the beginning, it was smaller and only had a central dome. Later, Engel’s successor, Ernst Bernhard Lohrmann, constructed bell-tower, a chapel and four smaller domes. Also, he added sculptures of the twelve apostles to guard the city from the roof of the church. It took 30 years to complete, but that was how it became the Cathedral you can visit now.
Look up at this beautiful Cathedral from Senate Square which is located right in front of the construction. This square is the center of the city and the nucleus of the most historical district in Helsinki. Stand on the 40 million granite bedrock that was used to design the square and enjoy the moment.
COFFEE BREAK IN HELSINKI
You won’t be tired after this first stop, but still, it’s always a good idea to stop for a coffee break. There is a unique café nearby that was designed by architect Carl Ludvig Engel. Didn’t we just mention his name? Yes, we did. He is the same architect who designed the Helsinki Cathedral!
Visit Café Engel on the first floor of a building that dates back to 1765, and which used to be a tobacco factory. Actually, it’s one of the oldest buildings in Helsinki. In 1830, two floors were added to the construction and Carl Ludvig Engel designed a new façade. You can enjoy a fantastic view of Helsinki Cathedral through the windows while delighting in a homemade menu. Drop by; it’s worth it!
USPENSKI CATHEDRAL (USPENSKIN KATEDRAALI)
Move on to Uspenski Cathedral. It’s the largest Russian Orthodox Church in Western Europe, and it’s a remnant of the Russian Empire in Finland. It was designed by Russian architect Aleksei Gornostajev who completed it in 1868. This iconic Cathedral has a golden onion dome atop green spires that can be seen from a great distance in Helsinki. It was built with red bricks which contrast with the ceiling, in the interior, which is painted with beautiful stars on a blue background. The mood it creates is mystic and mysterious. We invite you to exercise your artistic skills by comparing this orthodox cathedral with the Lutheran cathedral we mentioned above.
LUNCH AT ETELA PORT (KAUPPATORI)
After visiting two cathedrals in a row, your stomach might object to continue walking. Therefore, stop by at the Etela port to pamper your taste buds. Around 10:00 am, the street will be crowded with stalls selling fresh tasty fruits, vegetables, seafood, and fried fish. After dessert, splurge a bit on craftworks. This will be your chance to find the best souvenirs for your friends and family.
If you travel during Summer time, don’t forget to try all kinds of berries at this market. And don’t forget to buy some extra ones to bring back to your hotel. They’ll be a great snack to help you recover from a day’s tour.
KAMPPI CHAPEL (KAMPIN KAPPELI)
After joining the cheerful and energetic atmosphere of the market you might be in the mood for calmness. Therefore, our next recommended stop is the Chapel of Silence or Kamppi Chapel.
This chapel was designed by architects Kimmo Lintula, Niko Sirola and Mikko Summanen, and it is a great example of innovative architecture. The construction will definitely catch your eye. Its unique oval shape stands out among the offices and shopping malls in the area. Actually, the Kamppi Chapel was part of the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 program. There, church services and other holy events won’t be organized, but still it opens daily from morning to nightfall for visitors who want to enjoy some moments of silence. Soak yourself in this peaceful retreat and give in to a relaxing experience.
TEMPPELIAUKIO CHURCH (TEMPPELIAUKION KIRKKO)
Lastly, visit Temppeliaukio Church, also known as Rock Church. This building actually doesn’t look like a church, because it was created as part of a natural craggy mountain. It was designed by brothers Timo & Tuomo Suomalainen, and it was completed in 1969. The inner wall is simply bedrock while the ceiling is covered with a 24m-diameter copper plate. Meanwhile, 180 glass skylights surround the copper plate representing the sun. You’ll love to see how the lights coming in through the skylights fill the church and make it as bright as you will feel inside after this trip.
Enjoy all these unique places that are so worth visiting and continue planning your vacations with DINKtravelers.