Kuusamo Church

Visit a church with a history that tells the story of how the town survived in the wake of wartime destruction.

Kuusamo Church, also known as the Kuusamo Holy Cross Church, is a symbol of the town’s survival spirit. Admire the simple beauty of its exterior and reflect on the building’s war-torn history.

Learn about the story of the building and how it was built on the site of an older wooden church that dated back to 1802. See old bells that predate even that original wooden church, having been first given as gifts to Kuusamo in the early 18th century.

This church, like most of the town, was destroyed in World War II as the German army retreated through Finland. The building you see today is a later construction from 1951 and was part of a widespread restoration project in the region.

Take photos of the bell tower. This was once the home of two bells that were buried by the Germans to stop them falling into Russian hands. The 300-year old artifacts were only restored to their tower in 1959 when SS engineers returned to Kuusamo to unearth them from where they had been hidden.

Stroll around the exterior of the church to appreciate its picturesque Finnish architecture. A burnt orange roof slopes steeply over bright white walls. The building is immediately striking because of its tall grey spire, which tapers into the shape of a cross.

Explore the grounds and find a monument to the old church and belfry. See the original cross from the old belfry that is now displayed on the monument.

Visit the church in winter, when the whole town is lit up by Christmas markets and the aurora borealis (northern lights). During this festive season, the church hosts Christmas concerts, choral performances and Masses.

Drive to Kuusamo Holy Cross Church and leave your car in the spacious parking lot next to the church grounds. Walk around the surrounding area to explore the scenic town and its museums. The church is located on an isthmus with two lakes on either side. The adjoining lakeside cemetery is picturesque and peaceful.

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