About Porvoo Cathedral
Porvoo Cathedral (Porvoon Tuomiokirkko) is a 15th century Gothic-style church which later became a cathedral in 1723. An Evangelical Lutheran Church, it is the seat of Borgå, Finland’s Swedish-speaking diocese.
This site also features as one of our Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Finland.
History of Porvoo Cathedral
The cathedral is located in Porvoo, on the southern coast of Finland, and is dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus.
The first incarnation of Porvoo Cathedral was started in the 13th century and, whilst parts of the original survive to this day, its current look mostly dates back to 1414-1418, when it was rebuilt.
It was originally made of wood, with the first stone walls being built between 1410 and 1420. In about 1450, the church was expanded towards the east and south.
The pulpit was made in 1764, and the interior is decorated with wall paintings which date to the end of the 15th century. The oldest parts of the separate belfry date to medieval times, with its present appearance dating to the 18th century.
Over the centuries, Porvoo Cathedral has been destroyed multiple times, mainly due to fire: in 1508 due to Danish forces, and in 1571, 1590, and 1708 by Russian forces. In 2006, an arson attack led to the outer roof collapsing; however, the inner ceiling and cathedral interior remained intact.
In 1809, Porvoo Cathedral played an important role in the nation’s history as the opening site of Finland’s first Diet in which the country was affirmed as an autonomous Grand Duchy.
Porvoo Cathedral Today
Today, visitors can enjoy Porvoo’s historic and gothic exterior, and the interiors which are decorated with paintings from the end of the 15th century. There is also a large historic organ from which evocative music is occasionally played. Though the church isn’t richly decorated, its simplicity and quiet makes it a popular stop for reflection or worship for visitors and locals alike.
Today, the church can accommodate 750 people. Services are held in Finnish on Sundays at 10am and in Swedish at 12 noon. It is possible to attend free concerts within the cathedral, and guided tours are also available.
Getting to Porvoo Cathedral
From the centre of Finland’s capital city, Helsinki, Porvoo Cathedral is a 45 minute drive via the E18 road. There is also a regular bus schedule from Helsinki, linja-autoasema, Kamppi which takes just over an hour to reach the city. From the centre of Porvoo, the fastest way to reach the cathedral is by foot, via the Fredsgatan/Rauhankatu/Route 1552 and Kirkkokatu/Kyrkogatan/Route 1601 roads.