Construction of Helsinki Cathedral started in 1830 and it was consecrated in 1852, initially named St Nicholas Church as a tribute to Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, who funded its construction, and Saint Nicholas.
The Evangelical Lutheran cathedral was designed in a neoclassical style by architect Carl Ludvig Engel as part of the development of Helsinki’s Senate Square. Following his death in 1840, its completion was overseen by architect Ernst Lohrmann, who altered Engel’s original designs. His modifications included four corner towers to support the main domed tower, and twelve cast zinc statues of the apostles added to the roof in 1849.
When Finland declared independence from Russia in 1917, it was renamed the Great Church, and later became known as Helsinki Cathedral upon formation of the Diocese of Helsinki in 1959.