Exploring the insides of the Helsinki Cathedral

The Cathedral is the most iconic building in Helsinki. The cathedral was designed by C.L. Engel and built in the 1830’s and 1840’s. It stands proud on a hill overlooking the Senate Square and the busy streets of downtown Helsinki. The cathedral layout was originally the shape of a Greek cross, making it very slender and tall-looking. Architects in Engel’s time would joke about the thin church and make bets about it falling over in the wind. After Engel’s death the towers in the intermediate directions were built, to make sure the cathedral would be strong enough. Also the 12 apostle statues, made of zinc, were added at this point.

The church benches were upholstered in the 1960’s and the material is still in mint condition: no fading, no wearing out and no signs of the 50+ years of being sat on. What is this magic fabric made of? It is made of the hair of Polish horses! The look and feel resemble vinyl or a safety belt.

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Apostles Bartholomew, John and Matthew looking at the Senate Square. The four sides of the Senate Square represent different groups of the society: the church on the norther side, the state in the east, merchants in the south and the university in the west. The pattern on the square tiles shows where the previous church, the Church of Ulrika Eleonora (1724-1827), was located.
One of the apostles guarding the Senate Square
One of the apostles guarding the Senate Square
View toward St. John's church. If it weren't for Nordea bank's headquarter building, built in 1936, in the corner of Unioninkatu and Aleksanterinkatu, the Senate Square together with its surrounding buildings, would be a Unesco World Heritage site.
View toward St. John’s church. If it weren’t for Nordea bank’s headquarters, built in 1936, in the corner of Unioninkatu and Aleksanterinkatu, the Senate Square together with its surrounding buildings, would be a Unesco World Heritage site.
This bell has a 30 second echo
This bell has a 30 second echo
Looking up
Looking down
Looking down
View towards Merihaka
View towards Merihaka
A cross on the clock tower floor
A cross on the clock tower floor
They were also here
They were also here
Drawings on the wall
Drawings on the wall

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Bank of Finland
The National Library

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Parts of the former facade
Parts of the former facade
The insides of the clock that faces Senate Square
The insides of the clock that faces Senate Square
View toward the Sky Wheel and Katajanokka
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Melkki landscapes on a cloudy day

Melkki is a closed, military owned island in the archipelago of Helsinki. The island of Melkki is pretty close by, one kilometer south of the island of Lauttasaari and five kilometers southwest of the Market Square.

In the 1830’s Melkki was bought by a mr. Benedikt Brenner, a wealthy merchant and shipowner, who lived on the island with his large family until his death. In the 1880’s Melkki was expropriated for military use and it served as a part of the Suomenlinna fortress. Since the 1950’s it has mostly been in recreational use of military personnel. There are dozens of small summer cottages spread throughout the island.

The name “Melkki” most probably derives from the Swedish word for ‘milk’, ‘mjölk’. The island has its fair share of white sandy beaches (by Finnish standards at least!) so the name seems quite appropriate.

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