The Church of St Lawrence
The medieval greystone Church of St Lawrence, our festival’s home, is believed to date back to the mid-15th century, in other words, to a time before Columbus set sail for the New World. It is thought to be the oldest still standing building in the Helsinki region.
The church in Helsinge, the name by which Vantaa was known from the 14th right up to the 19th century, was probably financed by donations and built by new village settlers from Sweden. The very first church was made of wood but was soon replaced by the stone one now gracing the village. It was seriously destroyed by fire in the late 19th century. When it was rebuilt, it acquired Neo-Gothic features such as high windows, balconies, and decorative paintings with botanical motifs. The medieval feel of the imposing lofty arches still remains, however, as does the all-important, magnificent five-second echo that brings music to life in a way that is quite unique.
Today, all sorts of events are held in the church, which annually attracts close on 100,000 visitors. It is the most popular church in Finland for weddings, and the Wedding Night event now familiar across the country originated in precisely this church.