The church in the village of Turtola in Pello sits in a wonderful location along the Tornio River. Next to the church, handsome river vistas open up the village of Svanstein in Swedish Lapland. The original church, built in 1819, had been destroyed in the war in 1944. All that remains of the old church, burn by the German Army, are its stone steps, which have been partially preserved.  With donations primarily coming  from Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the new church of Turtola was completed in 1953, and it was designed by the Finnish architect Jalmari Lankinen. The church’s altarpiece has the same theme as the old one: Jesus on the cross. The painting was made by Aale Hakava in 1953. The organ was donated to the church in the early 60s by the German organ manufacturer Gerhard Schmid (Orgelbau Schmid).

The steps are all that remain of the old church, burned by the German army in 1944. In the background, the new church.

In Turtola’s hero cemetery, there is an impressive fighter-themed monument, made in 1957 by famous sculptor Kalervo Kallio. Kallio has been described as an artist from Finland’s post-war internationalizing period, who traveled to the USA and Europe to do commissioned works. Kalervo’s most famous work is probably the statue he made of his own father, Kyösti Kallio (President of Finland between 1937-1940),  which stands in the center of Helsinki, next to the House of Parliament.

The cemetery of the heroes of the World War II at the Turtola church. A statue of a fighter in the middle of the cemetery.

The fighter statue in Turtola’s World World II military cemetery contains several interesting details. The fighter’s feet are far from traditional military shoes, but genuine Lapland lapikkaat boots. The determined-looking fighter is holding the legendary Finnish submachine gun, called Suomi-konepistooli, in his hands, with the barrel facing east.

The fighter statue in the World War II hero cemetery at Turtola church in Pello (Finland), made in 1957 by famous sculptor Kalervo Kallio

  • How to get here?
  • Church of Turtola & Fighter Statue
  • Torniontie 134, 95645 Turtola, Suomi