Monday, November 26, 2012

Prophet Elijah Orthodox Chapel in Malvaste, Hiiumaa

Visited: Not yet!

This post is totally cheating...for two reasons. First, it was built in 1906, so really it falls outside my established date range. It is too new.

And second, I haven't actually visited it yet.

My section runs the Embassy's Regional Outreach program, where we send teams of one American and one Estonian out into the Estonian counties. And this picture was snapped by one of my staff members during a visit to the island of Hiiumaa because she knew I liked churches and this one is just cool.

Prophet Elijah Orthodox Chapel is a simple, one room building with a straw roof on its chapel section. It was actually moved to the site in 1925.

I do plan to visit. I'll update this post when I do!

I am a cheater no more! I visited this church on June 14, 2014 during a trip to Hiiumaa. So finally I have some pictures of my own!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

St Nicholas Orthodox Church in Tallinn

Visited November 4, 2012

This is the second church I visited along my walk in the Old City last month. Again, I didn't get a chance to go inside.

St. Nicholas is an Orthodox Church built in 1827.

This is the first classical church building in Tallinn, but was preceded by a church for Orthodox merchants located on the same site in the Middle Ages. The church has the oldest Estonian iconostasis, which is a sculptured wall, this one consecrated by the Russian Tsarina Sophia Alekseyevna in 1678.

From the pictures on the website, the inside is amazing.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

St. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Tallinn

Visited November 4, 2012

Sorry I haven't posted in a while...I have taken a few (but not many) church pictures but haven't had a chance to post.

So here is one I spotted while walking around Tallinn's Old City.

This is the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral, built in 1844.

The Cathedral is a Roman-Catholic pseudo-Gothic church with a neo-Classical facade. It was built on the foundation of the former refectory of a medieval Dominican monastery. The altar painting “The Ascension of Virgin Mary” is apparently a gift from Bavarian King Ludwig I, but I wasn't able to get inside to take pictures.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

St Nicholas’ Lutheran Church in Põltsamaa

Visited October 6, 2012

This is clearly a place I need to go back to. We were tired after our trip to Tartu, and only stopped for like half a second. But this church is actually attached to a castle. So yeah, going back for a better look!

This is St. Nicholas' Lutheran Church in Põltsamaa. The website says it was built in 1633, 1751 and 1952.

The last rebuild was after damage from World War II, and the congregation built it from the ruins.

And there is castle. I may have mentioned that! Põltsamaa's castle was built in 1272, and from 1570 and 1578, Livonia's King Magnus lived there. It was pillaged repeatedly through the centuries, and finally by Woldemar Johann von Lauw in the 18th century as a grand rococo-style palace. The church was built into its cannon tower, and both burned down in 1941 World War II.

Yep, definitely a trip back.

Monday, October 8, 2012

St. Anne's Church in Anna

Visited October 6, 2012

I know my project drives my wife nuts!

We were taking a little day trip to Tartu because she has never been.

And of course, on the way down, I yelled, "Look, a church!" and veered off the road to get pictures.

She of course thinks I am nuts.

St. Anne's Lutheran Church in Anna was built in 1780, although there has been a church at the site longer as is evidenced by the gravestones. Sadly, it was locked, so I couldn't get pictures of the inside, which is apparently beautiful.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

St. Michael's Lutheran in Keila

Visited September 29, 2012

I was finally able to get out to another church today.

Well, actually, I photographed St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow earlier in the week, but that isn't in Estonia!

This is St. Michael's Lutheran in Keila. We passed it on the way out to Paldiski, but I am glad I was able to stop.

St. Michael's is the biggest medieval country church in Harju county. Around 1280, they established a square chapel at "Keila hill," located on the site of the current chancel of the church. Fragments of the paintings on the chancel walls could date from this period.

The main body of the church was built in the first half of the 14th century as a simple unvaulted box-like building. The church was destroyed in 1558 during the Livonian War and was restored in 1596.

I didn't get to go inside (it was locked), but I walked around outside. There are a number of pretty cool mausoleums around it. I wish I could have spent more time there.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Birth of Christ Orthodox in Hanila

Visited August 15, 2012

We were headed back from Saaremaa and driving past the town of Hanila when I said, "Holy crap! Look at that!"

"That" was Birth of Christ Orthodox, or the ruins of it anyway.

The church was consecrated in 1889. And it was a glorious church in its day.

The building suffered from a variety of insults. Blasting for construction and the weather did the building in, and it was closed in the 1970s. They are apparently planning to try to restore it though.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Orthodox Church of St Vassily the Great in Laimjala, Saaremaa

Visited August 14, 2012

As best as I can tell, this church was built in 1848. It was locked, so I wasn't able to get inside and take pictures. I'll post more if I can find it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pöide Lutheran Church in Pöide, Saaremaa

Visited August 14, 2012

Coolest church visit so far by far!!

I went back to Saaremaa to speak to the students participating in a science camp (awesomely smart kids, by the way). On the way down, we stopped at the church in Pöide. This church is believed to be have built on the remains of a chapel built in 13th century. Apparently, after the conquest of Saaremaa in 1227, the eastern part of Saaremaa belonged to the Livonian Order, who built a fortress here as their headquarters during the second half of the 13th century. The people of Saaremaa destroyed the fortress during a wave of uprisings against the occupying forces that took place in Estonia and Saaremaa during the St.George's Night Uprising of 1343. There was a chapel on the southern side of the fortress, and the walls of this chapel form the central part of Pöide church. That, and its massive form, is why it is called fortress-church.

The building was looted and burned during World War II, and the crack down the front is the result of a lighting strike and subsequent fire in 1940. Part of the church have been renovated and reconstructed since 1989.But the coolest part of my visit? They are working on studying and renovating the building right now! Archeologists were conducting excavations while I was there, and art historians were carefully exposing the paintings which had been covered with plaster.

I got to spend some time talking to them about their work. And they showed me some of their finds. The archaeologist told me he thinks this is likely the oldest church in Estonia. Not Kaarma. Not Valjala. This church. Coolest visit ever!

This is an amazing church and I can't wait to see the results of their work!