Day 21. The Church in the Rock and National Museum of Finland, Helsinki

The rain was heavy when we woke but not to worry, there are always interesting places to visit in the city even if the sun isn’t shining.  Our first stop was at the Temppeliaukio Church also known as the ‘Church in the Rock’ located in the Töölö district in the city centre.

The Church in the Rock, Helsinki
The Church in the Rock, Helsinki

The church opened in 1967 and was built directly into the solid rock.  It does not have any church bells but a recording of bells is played by loudspeakers on an exterior wall.  The interior is bathed in natural light which enters through the skylight surrounding the central copper dome.  The church is frequently used as a concert venue due to its excellent acoustics and I’m aware of this because one of my Finnish teaching colleagues was a member of the Lauttasaari choir and sometimes performed here.  From the exterior you wouldn’t realise it was a church at all, except for the cross, but because of the weather I haven’t included a photo from outside.

The Church in the Rock, Helsinki
Inside the Church in the Rock

Still raining heavily, we wandered along to the National Museum of Finland which is located in a delightful granite building from the National Romantic period.  At the moment, the building is undergoing external maintenance and is under wraps as you can see from the photo below so I have included a photo of the museum which I took last summer so you can see it at its best (feature photo above).

National Museum of Finland, Helsinki
National Museum of Finland, Helsinki

Going inside, the museum has galleries portraying different periods in Finnish history from ancient times to the modern day.  I particularly enjoyed looking at furniture and household items.  Just look at these Grandfather and Grandmother clocks, I have never seen the one looking like a woman with her hands on her hips, have you?

Clocks in The National Museum of Finland, Helsinki
Old clocks in the National Museum of Finland

There’s much to see in the museum, one gallery relates to the Lutheran Church and there are displays of magnificent pulpits and other church regalia whilst another looks at Finnish costumes over the years.  You will also find a museum shop and cafe.  Entrance fees are payable except on Friday’s between 4.00 pm and 6.00 pm when there is no charge.

It was then time to stop for lunch and we tucked into bowls of creamy salmon soup served with dark rye bread at a nearby cafe.  Sadly no end to the rain showers so we headed to our second museum of the day, the newly opened branch of the Helsinki City Museum near Senate Square.  This museum is free to enter and focuses on the city’s origins, growth and development.  There’s a studio apartment furnished in the style of the 1940’s, a 1960’s coffee bar with juke box and many vivid photographs taken in bygone days.  The ground floor features an interactive wall chart showing how the city has grown, the coming of the railway to the city, and ending with Helsinki as we see it today.

1940's studio flat at The National Museum of Finland, Helsinki
The 1940’s studio flat

Even if you are not a resident of Helsinki there’s much of interest.  On the upper floor there is a temporary exhibition entitled the Museum of Broken Relationships.  An unusual topic for a museum but one that provides much to reflect upon.  Aspects cover memories of objects that we don’t want to keep but don’t actually discard.  One example was a metal whisk which had laid idle in a kitchen drawer for three years because a partner had used it but had long since gone.  Interestingly, this gallery was generating a great deal of interest during our visit providing plenty of food for thought.

Museum of Broken Relationships
Museum of Broken Relationships

We returned by metro from Helsinki University station which is accessed by a tunnel hewn out of rock.  The walls have been decorated with attractive Finnish designs which I always admire as I pass through this station.

Wall murals, Kaisaniemi Metro Station, Helsinki
Wall murals at Kaisaniemi Metro Station


If you have enjoyed reading this post you may also like:

The Museum of Journalism Helsinki

Beside the sea at Vuosaari, Helsinki



44 thoughts on “Day 21. The Church in the Rock and National Museum of Finland, Helsinki

  1. Pingback: Day 2. Exploring historic York – Love Travelling

  2. Another fascinating day – you found so many interesting things to see and do!! Love the grandmother clock picture – my son and I chuckled at it. We’ve been to the Church in the Rock, a choir was singing during our visit which was great but it’s great to just see it both inside and out.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yi, the Museum of Broken Relationships sounds like a tough place to visit, especially on a dark, rainy day. The big risk is that one might realize one’s own apartment/house is, itself, a Museum of Broken Relationships.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the Museum of Broken Relationships was very interesting, I enjoyed walking round with the little book reading about each object and, you are just right about that metro station feeling like an urban cave, the acoustics are also good there for buskers to perform too. Hope you have a good weekend, it’s a dreary Friday morning here in northern England but hopefully it will improve!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello Marion.

    Thank You for this interesting post. Rainy day is a great time for visiting to churches and museums. I have not visited to National Museum since I was young schoolchild. To me it was interesting to read that there are also presented pulpits! I did not know it. Thank You for this information. I visit churches on countryside when possible and have found gorgeous arts inside and outside churches. This means that I have nice collection of photos of pulpits around Finland.


    Pulpits in churches.

    Moving mouse pointer over a photo, it reveals the site where pulpit is.

    I wish happy weekend to You and Yours. Matti.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good Morning Matti, Thank you for your interesting feedback on my post, it’s always nice to hear from you. I’ll take a look at your church link shortly. Have a good weekend – we are going to Manchester tomorrow which we enjoy visiting, have you also been there? Greetings, Marion.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh dear, perhaps you can visit sometime if you like cities. Finnair fly direct from Helsinki. You may have already read my Christmas post on the city but if not you might like to take a look Kind Regards M.


    1. Hi Rasmi, I believe a grandmother clock is a smaller, neater version of a Grandfather clock but I’ve not seen one with arms before! Thank you for your comments. By the way, when reading your posts I was going to comment but there was no longer any place to add this any more, perhaps you can look into it as it’s nice to discuss posts.


    1. They are all very interesting places to visit in Helsinki. Hopefully another temporary exhibition will take its place which will be just as good and it might appear in other cities, too! Thanks for your kind words and for reading my posts, it’s much appreciated.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.