The Temppeliaukio Church, also known as the Rock Church, welcomes more than half a million visitors every year, making it one of the most popular attractions in Helsinki. It’s easy to understand why so many people flock to see it, as the church has been carved right from the granite bedrock in the center of Helsinki.
History of the Rock ChurchThe iconic church was designed by brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen for an architectural competition in 1961. Their concept proposed that the rock was kept as intact as possible by utilizing the space carved out of the rock itself. The general population was against the idea, saying that it resembled a bunker and that they would rather have a more traditional-looking cathedral.
The Temppeliaukio Church stood ready for consecration in September 1969, with a copper dome roof and a belt of skylight windows between the roof and the rock walls. The sceptics were proven wrong when more than a hundred thousand people visited the new church during the first months. Tourists also started showing up to see the unique building for themselves, and today it is one of the most important architectural sites in Helsinki. In 2004, the church officially became a protected building.
An acoustic gemThe rough rugged rock of the inside walls makes for excellent acoustics. Initially the Suomalainen brothers thought the unworked rock surface would be too radical to be considered in the competition. With the help of a conductor and an acoustical engineer, they discovered that the rock walls would more than meet the requirements for the acoustics.
Today the church is a very popular venue for concerts and musical performances, with several taking place each week. If you are visiting Helsinki during the holiday season, then you will have an even bigger spread to choose from. Further information about concerts in the Rock Church and event listings can be found on the Visit Helsinki webpage.
Getting to the Temppeliaukio Church is easy from the Radisson Blu Seaside Hotel in Helsinki. By foot it will take you just under 20 minutes to reach the church, and around 8 minutes by car or taxi.