The ‘mother church’ of Finland’s Lutheran faith, Turku Cathedral towers over Turku. Consecrated in 1300, the colossal brick Gothic building was rebuilt many times over the centuries after damaging fires, but it still looks majestic and historic. Upstairs, a small museum traces the stages of the cathedral’s construction, and contains medieval sculptures and religious paraphernalia. Free summer organ concerts (www.turkuorgan.fi) take place at 8pm Tuesday. English-language services are held at 4pm every Sunday year-round except December.
The cathedral's pulpit was designed by German architect CL Engel (who, in the spirit of impartiality, also built the Orthodox church on the market square). Romantic frescos by RW Ekman depict the baptism of Finland’s first bishop and Gustav Wasa presenting the nation with the first Finnish New Testament. Its most famous tomb belongs to Karin Månsdotter, Queen of Sweden and wife of the unfortunate Eric XIV.
Listen out for the distinctive hourly bell, broadcast across the country at noon via the radio station YLE1 – a patriotic reminder of the Continuation War, when Finns were urged to pray together for victory at this designated hour.