Temppeliaukio Church, the Church of the Rock in Helsinki

Temppeliaukio Church, Temppeliaukion Kirkko in Finnish, is a Lutheran church located in Helsinki, more specifically in the district of Töölö, very close to the city centre. The church, whose interior is carved out of rock, was opened in 1969.

This church is one of the must-see places we recommend you visit if you travel to Helsinki. Every year it receives about a million visits from tourists who want to go inside the rock church. We tell you all the details about the church and everything you need to know before your visit – read on!

History of Temppeliaukio Church

Architects Timo Suomalainen and Tuomo Suomalainen were responsible for the final design of Temppeliaukio Church, which was inaugurated in 1969. Construction began in February 1968, a year and a half before its opening.

In the 1930s, the temple square or Temppeliaukio was chosen as the future location for a church. J. S. Sirén was the architect who presented the original winning project, but the outbreak of World War II brought the work to a complete standstill. After the end of the war, another competition was held, which was won by the Suomalainen brothers in 1961.

The jury chose their project because of its originality, as they managed to respect the park and the parking area next to the square, as well as including the large rocky area in the square in their work.

Details of Temppeliaukio Church

To save the large rock in the centre of the square, architects Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen chose to design the church in such a way that its interior is carved out of the rock itself.

The church is at the same level as the access from one of the streets in the square, so it is possible to enter the church without having to use stairs.

Exterior of Temppeliaukio Church in Helsinki

As for the church roof, it has a 24-metre diameter dome that connects directly to the natural rock. In addition, the dome is protected by copper sheets and concrete structural elements that ensure its stability.

In the space between the dome and the rock, a total of 180 windows allow natural light to enter the interior of Temppeliaukio Church. Since the rock is not uniform in shape, each of these windows is of a different size, completely adapted to the space available. This means that the illumination of the rock-hewn church changes throughout the day, depending on the way the natural light enters.

Thanks to the excellent acoustics provided by the church and its unique location, it is frequently used for concerts. This is due to the sound qualities provided by the naturally maintained rough rock surface.

A peculiarity of the rock church is that it has no bells, so the characteristic sound of the bells is reproduced through loudspeakers.

How to get to Helsinki’s rock church

Temppeliaukio Church is located just a few minutes from Helsinki city centre. The main entrance to the rock-hewn church is located at Lutherinkatu 3, just a 10-minute walk from the “Kamppi” shopping centre.

It is also possible to reach the church by bicycle. There are bike paths all over the city that will take you there. In addition, there are several bike racks near the main entrance of the church on Lutherinkatu and another one on the other side of the church on Temppelikatu.

The main entrance and vestibule of the church are at street level, so that visitors with wheelchairs, prams and walkers can easily move around the church. There is no lift to the church gallery, so the only way to visit the church is by using the stairs.

Rock church located in Helsinki

Opening hours and entrance fees to the church

The opening hours of Temppeliaukio Church vary according to the events taking place in the church. During weddings, christenings, funerals and Sunday services, the church is closed to visitors. The same applies to concerts and private events.

The general opening hours of the church are from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays. On weekends there are more variations in the opening hours, as a greater number of events are held. For this reason, we recommend you check the opening hours on the church’s website, which is updated every week with the definitive timetable.

The entrance fee to Temppeliaukio Church is €5 per person. Tickets can be purchased at the church reception desk and can be paid for in cash or with most international credit cards. It is also possible to purchase tickets online to avoid queues when you arrive at the church.

If you have the Helsinki City Card, the card for tourists in Helsinki, you can enter the rock-hewn church free of charge, as this is one of the benefits offered to travellers who buy the card.

What do you think about the Temppeliaukio Church and its peculiar location inside a rock? Let us know in the comments and, if you found the article helpful, we encourage you to share it on social media using the icons below.

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