Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Senaatintori, or Senate Square, was the focus of the town plan drawn up in 1812. Helsinki is a relatively new city, which surprised me, with buildings dating only from the 19th century. Senate Square is dominated by the Lutheran Cathedral, Tuomiokirkko, which began construction in 1830. It was designed by Carl Ludvig Engel, who was responsible for much of the city's early development. It was originally called the Nicholas Church, after the Russian Tsar Nikolai I. Engel died i 1840, before the work was completed, and four side towers and two separate pavilions were added by architect E B. Lohrmann by the time it was consecrated in 1852. After Finland gained its independence in 1919, the cathedral's name was changed to the Great Church, and finally came by its present name in 1969.

Along the Helsinki harbor area...

This is the lovely Uspenski Cathedral, built in 1868 to serve the burgeoning Russian Orthodox community. It's still the largest Orthodox church in western Europe. The brick exterior was mostly salvaged from a disused fortress and its cupolas were covered in 22-carat gold.

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