The Cathedrals in Helsinki

December 31, 2011 § 6 Comments

9 o'clock in the morning at the Helsinki Cathedral. Dec 10, 2011.

When I found out it was an easy bus ride to get to the city of Helsinki from the airport, I picked a connection flight that had a 10 hours of transfer and would allow me to make a quick day trip to see this winter wonderland. Okay… when I stepped out the warm and cozy HEL airport, what welcomed me was just rain and crazy strong wind. So here we go, my cold journey!

How can you not visit the Helsinki Cathedral (Helsingin tuomiokirkko)? I walked over to this Evangelical Lutheran cathedral at 8:45am. The sky was still quite dark, which really played tricks with my head. For a second, I was scared this could be the brightest they got in winter… Anyway, the white cathedral sit just beautifully up there against that dark shade of blue. I loved it. I thought it was quite strange that they built a high wall in front of the cathedral. Until I got close enough and realized that “wall” was actually stairs! Then I remembered all those pictures I saw online, people would sit there on the stairs to enjoy the sun in the summer!

Walking up to the Uspenski Cathedral. Dec 10, 2011.

Although I don’t know the reason behind making such a tall and steep stairs, but it was so windy a great view up there. From the main door, I was pointed to the entrance on the left. Stepped inside, it was a very calming and peaceful place on earth. The golden chandelier and a fresh Christmas tree was just a lovely thing to see in a cold winter morning. There wasn’t too many sculptures, stained glass windows or paintings on the ceiling. Although my mom did say this cathedral looked as if it wasn’t finished yet, to me it was the beauty of simplicity and purity.

Looking to the iconostasis inside Uspenski Cathedral. Dec 10, 2011.

Not far away, I walked over to see the Uspenski Cathedral (Uspenskin katedraali). I believe the Finns love to build a house of worship on high ground. This Eastern Orthodox cathedral sits on top a little hill without much buildings around at the same level, which makes it even f*cking windier was a smaller cathedral decorated in a very different style. It was a bit hard to find the entrance: I saw quite a few visitors circled the place, tried to open a couple of doors and then left without getting inside. Shame…(try the one that’s on the side, connecting the stairs to the entrance tower. You can see the door from this picture, but on the other side.)

I love visiting different types of architectures. Inside the newer ones, I get to learn how we live today and how people try to improve their lives; Inside an old church, I get to learn the history, the culture, the craftsmanship and even imagine as if I was living in the past, going to this very same church with the town’s folks every Sunday.

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Note: To get to the city from HEL airport, you can either take bus #615 or the Finnair shuttle bus. Both buses are parked right outside the arrival hall, easy to find. I took the #615 with a sign that reads “Helsinki” from platform 21, €4/person. The journey was roughly 40 mins. Get off at the last stop, and you are at the central train station. Due to the cold weather and me arriving too early for anything to open, I took shelter inside the train station before exploring the town entirely on foot.

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§ 6 Responses to The Cathedrals in Helsinki

  • sartenada says:

    Wow. In ten hours You got so much to see! Congratulations.

    You missed

    Rock church

    I have posts from those churches You saw:

    Uspensky Orthodox Cathedral

    Helsinki Cathedral.

    If You some day come again, go to Kemi. There is

    World’s biggest Snow Castle

    I am very glad that You made a quick post from Helsinki.

    Happy New Year 2012.

    • Katharine says:

      wow, you took very nice picture. at the Uspenski, it looked very different under beautiful summer light! and it must be so much better tog et to walk up close to those icons. and I would die to slide down that little snow mountain in front of the Helsinki Cathedral ! Too bad that I only got drizzling rain when I visited.

      I was so determined not to visit places up north in the winter, i need more sun instead. but after seeing the snow castle, i guess i need to plan on going back near the arctic circle in Feb!

      I wished I had more than 10 hours in Helsink, there are still a lot more I wanted to see there. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful pictures 🙂

  • We’ve only visited a few of the Helsinki Cathedrals/churches and are hooked.

  • Very wise to “insert” a sightseeing break in the midst of a trip–sometimes it’s the only way to see a place you might otherwise not have the opportunity to visit, and I’m quite sure it helped with the exhaustive toll travel takes on you when flying.

    I hope to visit Helsinki one day, either this way or on a longer visit, and was happy to see here that you showed us some of the older history of the city–most who tell us about Helsinki focus almost exclusively on the modern aspects, which are impressive enough too, but you don’t get this same sense of how long the Finns have been cultured as well!

    • Katharine says:

      I wasn’t sure what to expect from Finland especially in the cold winter, so a short day trip was just perfect for me to have a taste of this city in the far north! Now I know I need to go back to stay for another day or 2, to see places a bit outside the downtown area 🙂

      I believe the Finns’d like to show Helsinki as a modern city with great Finnish design, especially this year as they are the World Design Capital 2012. But seeing the historic and cultural element in this city is just lovely, although it’s not as rich as some other European cities. also it’s definitely a nice contrast between the new and the old.

      ohhhh if you are a seafood lover, you must not miss out any opportunity to visit Helsinki! Things are so fresh and delicious!

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