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Historic Porvoo Cathedral Reopens Post-Restoration

The medieval Porvoo Cathedral opened to the public on Tuesday for the first time in two years. In 2006 the cathedral was badly damaged when a teenager set fire to the roof. Officials say the church has been flooded with enquiries from locals wanting to know when the church will re-open.

On Tuesday fire marshals ran through the final phases of preparation for the public viewing by testing and re-testing the cathedral's smoke detection system. Following the devastation caused by the fire, city authorities are leaving nothing to chance. Twenty-odd closed circuit cameras and a state-of-the-art sprinkler system have been installed both inside and outside the cathedral.

And to ward off the potential for unlawful activity, it's now illegal to be on the cathedral grounds outside of opening hours. But no system is foolproof if someone is bent on wrongdoing, says Boris Björkendahl, who is managing the repair work.

Despite extensive repairs, the cathedral foundation says money is not a problem. Insurance covered the 4.3 million euro damage, and additional repair work has been paid for by the congregation.

The restoration work has even unearthed a few hidden surprises - one of them a medieval wine cellar. The construction work has also made room for 100 more seats for the congregation.

A final tar coating will be applied to the roof this summer, and the official opening ceremony will take place before Christmas.

The Porvoo Cathedral has become synonymous with rebirth and recovery. The church has been burned down five times and has even been hit in an air raid.

The 18 year-old responsible for the fire was slapped with a six and a half year jail sentence. His two accomplices, who did not start the fire, but failed to report it, received hefty fines.

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