If you had to pick just one building that has come to symbolise Finland and especially Helsinki, it wouldn’t be Alvar Aalto’s Finlandia Hall or Eliel Saarinen’s Central Railway Station.
The edifice that shows up in every guidebook and every tourist’s photo album is the Lutheran Cathedral, Carl Ludvig Engel’s elegant neoclassical work completed in 1852. Overlooking Senate Square and the harbour, the church’s towers never go unnoticed.
Our slideshow takes you inside the main tower, where tourists are not allowed to set foot, and seeks out other new angles, bringing you Helsinki Cathedral as you’ve never seen it before.
Our photographer Tim Bird explores Helsinki’s Lutheran Cathedral, probably Finland’s most photographed building, to bring you unusual views of this popular landmark. Photo: Tim Bird
From high up in the cathedral’s main tower, we gaze down upon the National Library of Finland’s cupola (right) and across the city to the two towers of St John’s Church (upper left). Photo: Tim Bird
A chandelier forms a snowflake when viewed from the right perspective. Photo: Tim Bird
Perfect timing: The reverse side of the clock that citizens of the Finnish capital set their watches by. Photo: Tim Bird
Timber and timbre: The venerable wood and brick inside the bell tower contrast with the shiny, whitewashed surface we’re used to seeing from Senate Square. Photo: Tim Bird
Who was Hirvonen? From the 1800s to the present day, workers have carved their names beside the bells. Photo: Tim Bird
Different panes of glass show the Orthodox Uspenski Cathedral, part of Senate Square and the harbour where the luxury ferries arrive daily from Stockholm. Photo: Tim Bird
Angel’s-eye view: Statues of the 12 apostles watch over Senate Square and the area surrounding the Lutheran Cathedral. Photo: Tim Bird
Just about everyone who passes through Helsinki visits this church. Photo: Tim Bird
Pause for prayer: A golden angel kneels facing the pews. Photo: Tim Bird
A wrought-iron frame near the main entrance holds dozens of candles lit by visitors. Photo: Tim Bird
This row of pillars forms part of the face the cathedral shows the world from the top of the stairs overlooking Senate Square. Photo: Tim Bird
Photos by Tim Bird
Text by Peter Marten