Helsinki | Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral and the Lutheran Cathedral

When you travel to a country that is not set close to yours chances are you have a lack of knowledge about their history. So I found out on my trip to Helsinki where I discovered that the city was founded by the Swedes in the sixteenth century and what is now Finland was up under the dominion of this Nordic country until the early nineteenth century. By then, in 1809, after a war Finland became dominated by the Russian Empire, in particular, by Tsar Alexander II, under the title of Grand Duke of Finland. The most striking reflection of Russian rule you’ll see when you get to Helsinki is undoubtedly the stunning Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral.

Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral Helsinki

Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral Helsinki

The center of political and religious power is in Helsinki Senate Square, in the Barrio Tori near the port city where the Market Square and City Hall are. In that Senate Square rises impressively the great neoclassical Lutheran Cathedral, a symbol of Helsinki. But nearby, next to the port, at the top of the hill of a small park, is where you’ll see the Orthodox cathedral said you draw a lot of attention for its colorful red brick structure, its green roofs and golden domes. In the panoramic view of both monuments from the port, you’ll probably collide with the great aesthetic contrast between them even though both cathedrals were built around the same time of that Tsar Alexander II who drove the development of Helsinki as the new capital of Finland.

Lutheran Cathedral Helsinki

Lutheran Cathedral Helsinki

Lutheran Cathedral

Lutheran Cathedral

Specifically, Uspenski Cathedral designed by a Russian architect, was completed in 1868 while the grand neoclassical building with white façade which is the Lutheran cathedral had ended only 15 years earlier. The architectural design of the Uspenski Cathedral combines Eastern and Western influences. Its facade is the Slavic tradition but when you come to visit inside you find a single ship that is a great example of Byzantine style. But above all, know that it is considered the largest Orthodox church in Western Europe. I recognize that in view of the two cathedrals, which I find much more architecturally attractive is the Orthodox, Uspenski, especially at sunset when due to its orientation, the façade stands with colorful attractive reddish. Which is your favorite?

Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral

Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral

Helsinki photos: Snuffy, Robert Gale, Daniel.

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