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Helsinki Cathedral - A symbol of the city

Cathedral Helsinki in Finland was originally built as a tribute to Grand Duke Nicholas I, Tsar of Russia, from 1830-1852. It was first known among the locals as St. Nicholas's Church and was eventually dubbed Helsinki Cathedral after the Independence of Finland from Russia in 1917.

This church was originally built as a tribute to Grand Duke Nicholas I, Tsar of Russia, from 1830-1852. It was first known among the locals as St. Nicholas's Church and was eventually dubbed Helsinki Cathedral after the Independence of Finland from Russia in 1917.

Photo. Helsinki’s Lutheran Cathedral - a beautiful landmark in Helsinki. © Travel Explorations.

The Helsinki Cathedral, also known as the Helsinki Lutheran Cathedral or St. Nicholas' Church, is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city of Helsinki, Finland. It is situated in the Senate Square (Senaatintori in Finnish), which is the central square of the city. It is a reference point for navigation within the city. It`s possible to watch the church from almost every cornner of the city. 

Helsinki is the most northerly of continental European capitals. Its often called the “white city of the north” because many of its buildings are constructed of a local light-coloured granite. The stunning architectural marvel of the church is something that I never get tired of photographing. I like taking photos of the church from different angels and time of the day and year. 

The Helsinki Cathedral was designed by the Russian architect Carl Ludvig Engel in the neoclassical style. The construction began in 1830 and was completed in 1852. The cathedral's design is characterised by its clean, symmetrical lines and a prominent dome with a statue of Emperor Alexander II on top. This building is the focal point of Senate Square, which is surrounded by other historically significant buildings, including the Government Palace, the University of Helsinki, and the National Library of Finland. The cathedral, along with other neoclassical buildings surrounding the square, creates a harmonious architectural ensemble.

The cathedral serves as a venue for various cultural and musical events, including concerts, and it plays a role in the annual Helsinki Festival, adding to its cultural significance. Its steps and the square in front are perfect for big events, gatherings and concerts. One of the biggest events ever, must be the Total Balalaika Show 1994. Finland and Russia united in music and culture - Total Balalaika Show 1994! Finland marked the 70th anniversary of Winter War against Soviet Russia on the 30th November 2009! It woke up terrible memories, but it also give time to look forward. Music and culture exchange have often shown ways to build relations between nations, and that has also helped Finland and Russia. Probably the most amazing concert ever in the world was the Total Balalaika Show in Helsinki, Finland, in 1994. See the cover of the album “Total Balalaika Show” - A wonderful concert in the wonderful old empire style city Helsinki, the capital in Finland. Helsinki`s biggest landmark, Helsinki Cathedral, Helsingin tuomiokirkko, Suurkirkko (in Finnish), is seen in the background on the cover. This historical event broke some of the "ice" between Finland and Russia. Then the Cold War was turned to a warm and peaceful coexistence between the people. After the Winter War between Finland and Soviet Russia in 1940, the friendship between the two nations has been fragile, but not on this particular day. The lady speaker opened the show with: "This a outrages spectacle - the Total Balalaika Show!"  And so the show continued with sing along Finlandia - Hymn, composed by the famous Finnish composer Sibelius. This concert took place on 12 June 1993 on Senate Square in Helsinki, Finland. 

The Helsinki Cathedral and surroundings are for those would like to explore Helsinki's rich history, architecture and experience various kind of shows. Visiting the cathedral is not only an architectural and historical experience, but also a way to immerse oneself in the culture and identity of Helsinki and Finland. Whether you appreciate its historical context, its architectural beauty, or its role as a symbol of the city, Helsinki Cathedral is indeed a wonder in the heart of the Finnish capital.

Stein Morten Lund, 10th October 2023

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