One of the first tourist destinations on my trip to Helsinki was to Temppeliaukio Kirkko, otherwise known as the Church of the Rock. Of the many churches in Helsinki, it is one of the most famous. Built in 1969, the church relies on the already existing rock infrastructure to form its walls. For this reason, when approaching from most directions, it’s not easy to tell that a church is located there.
Of course, the fact that it’s a tourist hotspot means it’s not terribly hard to find. We showed up on a Saturday at just the right time, as a wedding that had taken place beforehand finished just as we arrived. A mass of people filed in through the doors, sitting down on the benches and soaking up the natural light that shines down and into the church. The overall decoration is very minimalistic and sparse, with the pipe organ and the copper dome being the most elaborate things there. And, in addition to having great acoustics, the church is a wonderful example of using the natural landscape to create something new.