The Helsinki Lutheran Cathedral is also known as Tuomiokirkko. Built from 1830 to 1852, it replaced a smaller 18th-century church and was originally called St. Nicholas' Church in homage to Russian Czar. After Finland gained independence from Russia, the church was renamed, and in 1959 it became an Evangelical Lutheran cathedral.
Designed by German architect Carl Ludwig Engel, who also laid out the city’s Senate Square, the cathedral features a neoclassical-style façade. The design was later altered by Ernst Lohrmann, who added zinc rooftop statues of the Twelve Apostles and a few more small domes. Inside, there is room for 1,300 worshipers. The church is used regularly for services and weddings. The cathedral is a popular spot on most walking tours of Helsinki.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The cathedral’s crypt now serves as a café for visitors.
- The central dome was designed to allow natural light into the cathedral from various angles.
- In contrast to the exterior, the interior features few ornaments other than an altarpiece flanked by angels.
How to Get There
Trams 1,2, 3B, and 3T will take you to Senate Square, where the church is located. It’s also an easy walk, and clearly visible, from anywhere in central Helsinki. The cathedral is also included in bus tours of the city, and is a 30-minute drive from the airport.
When to Get There
The cathedral is open daily, but the souvenir shop and café are open only during the summer, which is high season for tourism in Helsinki. This is also when you can expect the biggest crowds. Weddings and baptisms typically occur on Saturday and Sunday, so the church may be temporarily closed then.
Ateneum Art Museum
Located in the center of Helsinki, near the cathedral, this art museum boasts an impressive collection of Finnish art, as well as works by other artists, including Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Cézanne. Free guided and private tours of the museum are available, and it is typically included as a stop on citywide tours.