The Church of Rock

When my Italian teacher moved to Finland she was amazed at the austerity of the churches. Where, she wondered, were the statues, the golden altars, the ornate candelabra? Welcome, teacher, to the Protestant church.

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Although many churches here do hold those features, there are others that are standouts solely for their architectural design. Which can be a welcome relief for those suffering ‘cathedral fatigue.’

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If you make it to Helsinki, I would recommend visiting both the Chapel of Silence and Temppeliaukio (Rock Church).

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Temppeliaukio was designed by architects Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen and opened in 1969. Their vision was to carve the chapel straight out of the rock it sits on; a vision that was met with some resistance.

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Once dubbed ‘a devil defence bunker’ it is now one of Helsinki’s most visited sites and was made a protected building in 2004.

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Its huge copper dome is supported by large concrete beams that allow the light to shine in and illuminate the chapel.

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There are places where you can burn a candle for a loved one and the great acoustics mean it is a popular place for orchestral practice sessions.

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The neighbouring apartments in Töölö wrap themselves around the church and there are good cafes nearby.

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Within walking distance of the city centre, there is always room inside to sit upon arrival and rest your feet. Which, on a snowy Helsinki day like today, means this really is a church that rocks.

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Temppeliaukio

Lutherinkatu 3, Helsinki 00100

11 thoughts on “The Church of Rock

  1. This is probably one of the first stops I made when I first visited Helsinki couple years ago. Now that I live here, I haven’t returned but this reminds me I should very soon. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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  2. Well, if the Rock Church isn’t your thing, you can go to a metal mass. Your visitors wouldn’t happen to be in the country on the 9th of June, would they?

    Personally, I think it sort of defeats the purpose – of metal, that is.

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    • That is mind-blowing – metal mass! There’s even a video shot inside Temppeliaukio. My visitors include my 72-year old father who is always up for new experiences – but whether his church back home is ready to introduce Metal Mass, I’m not so sure.

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  3. Pingback: The Church of Rock | The Diary of a Taxi Driver in Finland

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