Church of the Holy Cross in Hattula, Finland.

© Karasev Viktor/Shutterstock

Hattulan Pyhän Ristin

Top choice in Häme

Dating from the early 1300s, this Gothic-style church in a walled churchyard has an interior filled with fabulous naive frescoes created in the early 16th century. Well preserved, these tell the key stories of the Bible; the Tree of Jesse in the vestry is particularly fine. The interior also features a fine carved and painted pulpit from 1550, and a number of wooden statues depicting religious scenes. A peaceful grassed graveyard next to the church slopes down to the water's edge.

For the illiterate parishioners, it must have been an awe-inspiring place. It still is. Nearby, an old grain store houses the information office and sells handicrafts – staff here have the church keys.

The church is 9km northwest of Hämeenlinna, accessed via Hwy 57.

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