One of the most famous landmarks in Helsinki is located in a quiet, residential neighborhood. Walking around, you would never spot the church as there are none of the typical signs, like a spire or a cross, marking it. All you see is a large green dome atop a hill - it looks like a flying saucer landed in a the middle of a grassy hillock!
Step inside Temppeliaukion Church and you'll be in for an even greater surprise. The interior was excavated and built directly out of solid rock and the rock walls remain unworked. The entire space is bathed by natural light that pours down from the copper lined dome.
The interior is spacious, airy, and starkly modern both in layout and design; a perfect emblem for Finnish architecture and design. When was the last time you saw plum colored pew seat cushions and didn't think it was out of place?
There's a small upper gallery that's worth heading up to just to see the view of the lower level from above.
After we finished inside, we headed back out and climbed the hill to view the dome and surrounding neighborhood. Seems like a lot of other people wer just as curious as we were!
Temppeliaukion Church is an extremely popular tourist attraction. We arrived about a half hour before it opened and there was already a small crowd waiting to get in! There's a small park nearby, with benches, that we waited at.
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Architectural Church Built into a Rock
The church is also known as the rock church. I had just arrived in Helsinki and my taxi driver brought me to this church and said this is where tourists have been hanging out lately. From the outside the architecture is beautiful and built into the environment. To get a tour inside, the church is only open a few times a day for visitors and each visit is only 15 minutes long, but... it is so worth it! You don't know what to expect, but the minute you walk in - WOW! You walk into this breathtaking round room with modern bright purple pews and a large slated window. It was my favorite architectural structure in Helsinki!
Appropriately nicknamed the Church in the Rock, Temppeliaukio was carved from a massive slab of granite. Inside, the bedrock of Finland serves as the church’s walls. Piles of boulders hold up a ceiling made of 22 kilometers of copper stripping. Sunlight streams in from skylights that surround the pews.
Based on a design by brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen, Temppeliaukio was completed in 1969. The church’s stellar acoustics make it a popular concert hall. Its boulder strewn entrance makes it a popular climbing spot.