The Cathedrals in Helsinki
December 31, 2011 § 6 Comments
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!
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.
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.
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.