Helsinki Cathedral in Helsinki, Finland
Situated in the middle of the city, the lovely Helsinki Cathedral soars over the Senate Square. For many tourists, this building becomes a monumental, classic image that they forever associate with Helsinki. Constructed originally ( from 1830 – 1852) in tribute to Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, the cathedral was designed by Carl Ludvig Engel and inspired by the St. Isaac Cathedral of St. Petersburg. At present, it is the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Cathedral of the Diocese of Helsinki.
Neoclassical style dictates the plan of Helsinki Cathedral, which is based on a symmetrical Greek cross. Each arm of the building features a pediment and colonnade, both typical of the architectural style. The tall green dome is distinctive, surrounded by four domes of a smaller scale. In the Lutheran spirit, the architect created a serene, 203 feet high (62 meters) interior, almost devoid of ornaments. In rejection of the Catholic concept that saints were closer to God, the Lutherans opposed worshiping saints and therefore did not decorate their cathedrals with icons and images. In place of artistic embellishments, this space is filled with harmonious music played by a beautifully crafted organ.
Over 350,000 visitors make their way to Helsinki Cathedral annually. Masses, weddings, national and academic festivals are hosted here regularly. There is no entrance fee and the church is open daily, except during services and special events.
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