Temppeliaukio – or “The Rock Church”


Temppeliaukio (otherwise known to non-locals as the rock church) is conveniently located in the very heart of Helsinki, in a district called Töölö. The rock church attracts roughly half a million people each year, and is incredibly famous for its unique design. It is in fact often one of the first things that people want to see when they come to Helsinki!

The Rock church was a ground breaking project designed by two brothers – Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen, locally known as the Suomalainen brothers. In 1906, the area of southern Töölö underwent the initial stages of planning, and a location for what was to be a church for the area, was reserved. However, the church was not built until the year 1969 – over 60 years later. It took a total of three competitions to create an architectural design that satisfied the parish council. But even after the design of the church was accepted, the project still faced a lot of criticism – caused by a difficult situation in the world, particularly the African unrest. Some locals tended to promote the opinion that the Töölö district already had enough churches, and the money required for its construction could be better used somewhere else.

The unrest in Africa related mainly to an unrecognized republic called Biafra. It caused many Finnish students to turn against the Rock church project. They claimed that the money should be spent on the needs of the suffering people in Biafra. On a summer night in 1968, a group of students decided to openly express their opinion, and wrote the word ‘Biafra’ on the exterior walls of the church, in graffiti. Some people believe that it was the first graffiti that was recorded in Finland.


Nevertheless, all the uprising challenges of the Rock Church were overcome, and the project was eventually completed in 1969. To satisfy partially those who were against the building of the church, the project was built on a smaller scale than was originally designed, and all of the budget that was originally planned was not used.

The main unique feature of the church is that it is excavated directly into a rock, and the experience of entering the church is literally that of going into a cave.  These untouched rock surfaces inside are multi-purpose; they not only give a natural look and feel to the church in a very unusual way, but they also create incredible sound acoustics. For this exact reason, the Rock church today often serves as a music venue, and if you’re lucky, you can even hear an organ recital on certain days!

The address for the Rock Church is Lutherinkatu 3. By taking tram number 2 from the central railway station, you can arrive at the rock church in only 15 minutes. Alternatively you can walk there in around 20 minutes.

Whilst you are already in the beautiful Töölö district, nearby is the famous Sibelius monument – another place high on the list of places to see in Helsinki – a monument honoring a man who is closely in the hearts of the Finnish people. If you would like to try coffee and cake in one of the most traditional cafes in Helsinki (with arguably one of the best views!) you can also visit the famous cafe Regatta.

Enjoy your sightseeing of the Töölö district!

Helsinki Guru ^^


FREE in Helsinki

Are you coming to visit Helsinki and afraid that everything is expensive here? No need to worry. In this blog post you will find out all the things you can do for FREE or almost free in Helsinki.

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  • My personal favorite in Helsinki is Suomenlinna.

Suomenlinna is a beautiful sea fortress that was founded by the Swedish monarchy in the 18th century. The purpose of the fortress was to protect the city of Helsinki from sea invasions. As Saint Petersburg was founded in 1703, Russia posed a great risk to the Swedish kingdom. As Finland was a part of Sweden at the time, it used to suffer the most from the Russo-Swedish wars. Nowadays, Suomenlinna is a peaceful, picturesque place full of charm. It is also a real district of Helsinki with the population of just under 1000 people. In order to get there you need to take a boat from the market square. The boat is a part of the public transportation in Helsinki region, which means you can use a daily pas to go there. If you need to buy a ticket, you can buy a Suomenlinna ticket for 5 euros. The ticket is valid for 12 hours which gives you plenty of time to explore the islands.There are no entrance fees to get to the island. All you need to do is to have a public transport ticket!

  • National Library of Finland

National Library of Finland is a part of the University of Helsinki. It is also known as Helsinki University Library. The neoclassical yellow building is located in front of the main entrance to the Helsinki Cathedral. Its exact address is Unioninkatu 36. The interior design of the place is simply stunning! It is definitely something that is worth seeing while in Helsinki. The library has a large collection of books in various languages and and impressive 115 kilometres of shelf materials.  The library is open Monday to Friday 9am-20pm, Saturday 9am-4pm. The best thing is, it is completely FREE!


Three Cathedrals of Helsinki

One of the most iconic buildings in Helsinki is indeed the Helsinki Cathedral. Built in the year 1852, the cathedral still continues to inspire people by its beauty. Built in a simple neoclassical style, it merely stuns people by its simplicity. The cathedral also has a very unusual crypt that has never served its purpose. In old days, the crypt used to be a cellar where wood storage was located. Nowadays, you can have a buffet lunch there or enjoy an organ concert. Crypt is open only during the summer months: from June until August. The entrance to the cathedral as well as to the crypt is completely FREE of charge. The exact address is Unioninkatu 29.


  • Uspenski Cathedral or Russian Church

Uspenski Cathedral was built by a real Russian architect in 1868. It was during the times when Finland was called a Grand Duchy of Finland and when it used to be a part of the Russian empire. The Cathedral is the great cultural heritage and one of the main attractions in the city. The cathedral is famous for its miraculous icon of  the Theotokos of Kozeltshan. The icon was stolen from the cathedral  in 2011. However, one of the thieves felt really guilty for his did and he helped the police to rescue it. Today the miraculous icon is once again inside the cathedral. You will see it a big wooden frame surrounded by golden rings and necklaces. These were the donations by the thankful worshipers,   The address of the church is Kanavakatu 1.


The famous Rock Church is one of a kind place in Helsinki. It is located a bit outside of the city center. However, the short tram journey or a 15 minute walk will take you there from the central railway station. The church is famous for its unusual design. Being literally carved into the rock, it attracts thousands of visitors each year who come to admire its extraordinary design. Rock church is also a popular place for weddings as well as various concerts. Hence, sometimes it may not be open for visitors. There is a small 3-euro entrance fee. It is completely worth it though if you are a true beauty lover.

The exact address is Lutherinkatu 3.


There are also plenty of free museum in Helsinki that you might enjoy visiting. Read my next post to find out!

Enjoy your time in Helsinki!

Helsinki Guru ^^