When you think of Helsinki, the first thing that comes to mind is the image of the Helsinki Lutheran Cathedral, the iconic and monumental building located in the heart of the Finnish capital.
History of the Lutheran Cathedral
The Helsinki Lutheran Cathedral, or Helsingin tuomiokirkko in Finnish, is a church built between the years 1830 and 1852 as a tribute to the Grand Duke Nicholas I, Tsar of Russia. Besides, it was called the Church of St. Nicholas until 1917, the year in which Finland became independent from Russia.
The creator was the architect Carl Engel and the work was the culmination of the Helsinki Senate Square, whose urban complex was also developed by Engel. The church was modified years later by the architect Ernst Lohrmann, who added four small domes next to the characteristic green vault that is in the central part of the building.
The cathedral is, nowadays, the most important tourist attraction in Helsinki and receives more than 350,000 visitors every year, the majority of which are tourists who visit the country. However, the church continues to be used to hold masses, weddings and other religious events. In addition, the crypt was renovated in the 1980s and is used in exhibitions and events organized by the church.
Helsinki Cathedral opening hours and entrance fee
The building is open every day of the year and has long opening hours. However, it is important to organize the visit well, since visits to the church are interrupted when it hosts a private event. Below we show you the visiting hours of the Helsinki Lutheran Cathedral:
Access to the church is free and it is also allowed to enter the crypt when an exhibition or concert is held inside. If you plan to visit the Helsinki Cathedral during the summer, you should know that you will also find a souvenir shop open.
How to get to the church
The cathedral is located on Unioninkatu 29, located in the heart of the city, so it is quite possible that getting there on foot is the most comfortable and cheapest option to get there. However, there are also different options if your accommodation is far from the centre of Helsinki.
The M1 and M2 metro lines can take you to the church, although you will still have to walk for about 5-10 minutes to get there.
The tram is another valid alternative to get to the cathedral. Lines 2, 3, 4 and 7 are the ones that have stops more or less close to the church. Line 7 is your best option since you will only have to walk for two minutes after getting off the tram.
The taxi will also drop you near Senate Square, but its price will be much higher compared to public transport especially if it is a long journey, so it is a worse option and should be avoided if possible.
What to see in the cathedral
When you get to the Senate Square you will find in the centre a statue dedicated to Alexander II, one of the Russian tsars, and in front of it, you will find a huge staircase that leads to the church, since it is located in the most elevated from the square.
Before entering you will see sculptures of the 12 Apostles scattered on the roof of Helsinki Cathedral. Inside, the altar, the pulpit and the organ are the most outstanding elements. Besides, there is an altarpiece on display donated by Tsar Nicholas I that shows the burial of Jesus Christ.
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