In any small village if you ask your local lager lout to give you dirctions to get to some place then they will pick churches as geographical landmarks to guide you to your destination.

Is you ask for the same place from a local upstanding righteous church member then they will use as landmarks the local pubs.

Perhaps that is part of human nature, that dark is attracted to light, and light is attracted to dark. What is on the outside rarely reflects what is on the inside.

In the 1990 the Kallio area of Helsinki was the heart of the red-light district, and there at the top of the hill is Kallio Kirkko built out of granite and solid as the rock of ages. Kallio was a working class area of Helsinki and it was seperated from the upper class down-town area of Helsinki by the "long bridge".

Even today Kallio has it strip joints and massage parlours, and it also has its church. The austere facade does not hold out much hope for what you might find inside, but once you enter the building it is glorious.

The style is distictivley Finnish and the decorations are very simple and could have been lifted from pagan Kalevela traditions. You could easily imagine that Gallen-Kallela had a hand in their design.

Hugo Simberg another Finnish painter had a hand in designing the frescos in Tampere Cathedral. His famous works such as The Garden of Death and The Wounded Angel adorn the walls of the Cathedral.

Lars Sonck was the architect of both buildings and he ignored all the modern trends and developed a gothic and medieval style.

The decorations within the church are rich and varied and use repeating patterns handpainted in muted and subdued colours.

It is a delight to study the intricate patterns which perhaps have borrowed from the Islamic traditions of tiling tessellations. The catholic church may have the Cistine chapel with florid angels floating in the clouds, but these churches are Lutheran and the hardness of the outward structure has to be balanced by designs both simple and intricate on the inside.

Oh and Jean Sibelius had to get into the act as well so he composed a melody for the seven bells that hang in the bellfry of the Kallio Kirkko.

As you may have guessed I give directions according to the geographical position of churches.