Item From the Past: Temppeliaukio Kirkko & Bart Simpson
I didn't take particularly good pictures of the Temppeliaukio Kirkko (Rock Church) in Helsinki. Better pictures are at this all-around fine site. But I'm posting mine anyway, because I have an image probably no one else has (not this one, the one at the bottom). Look carefully in the top pic and you'll see the cross.
Located in a part of Helsinki known as Töölö (and who doesn't love Finnish place-names?), the church is a late '60s creation by Finnish architects and brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen. I made lousy notes about my visit, along the lines of "visited Rock Church today."
But that's what the Internet is for, looking up stuff after the fact. The Sacred Destinations writer, Holly Hayes, has this to say: "The underground Rock Church is built inside of a massive block of natural granite in the middle of an ordinary residential square. From ground level, the shape resembles the ancient tomb at Newgrange, Ireland. But the structure is barely visible from outside, with only the copper dome poking out of the rock... inside, the church is circular and enclosed by walls of bare rock. The ceiling is a giant disc made of copper wire. The interior is lit by natural light streaming through 180 vertical window panes that connect the dome and the wall."
I stood in front of the church's entrance, turned around, and took a picture of the buildings in front of me. Only because the Minimarket window, a rectangle of pink set in gray -- and which promised Cool Drinks and Fast Food, in English -- was using Bart Simpson as its pitchman. Add the Coke sign, graffiti and black dog, and you've got a late 20th-century urban tableau. Or maybe just an array of things that happened to be there.
It's good to visit churches. It's also good to take in the detail of the streets.