Top Historic Sights in Võru, Estonia

Explore the historic highlights of Võru

St. Catherine's Church

The Lutheran church of St. Catherine was built between 1788-1793. It is named after Empress Catherine II, who donated 28 000 silver roubles to the construction. The classicist-style building is a one naved church with large arched blind windows. In the course of renovation in 1879, the spire received a new helmet and a clock with four faces. Supposedly architect Christoph Haberlandt made the design of the church. The alt ...
Founded: 1788-1793 | Location: Võru, Estonia

Võry Orthodox Church

The late-classicism style church was designed by M. Schons, chief architect of the Livonian Province. The master carpenter was Johann Karl Otto, a resident of Võru. The church was completed in 1804 and named the Greatmartyr Catherine’s Church in honour of Catherine II. The building has a simple rectangular ground planning, a sturdy western spire, a cupola-like ridge roof on the high tambour and arched windows ...
Founded: 1804 | Location: Võru, Estonia

Kirumpää Castle Ruins

The first record of Kirumpää Castle (in German Kirrumpäh) dates back to the year 1322. It was one of the residences of Bishopric of Dorpat. The castle was destroyed in a Swedish-Russian war in 1658. Much of the ruins were used for construction in Võru town in XVIII-XIX century. Today, there is little left of the former castle. The ruins are located on a small scenic hill. Reference: Wikimedia Common ...
Founded: 1322 | Location: Võru, Estonia

Väimela Manor

The Väimela manor originates from the 16th century and belonged to von Richters and von Loewens for a long time. The stylish Classicist manor complex originates from the beginning of the 19th century. Now it belongs to a vocational school. The originally one-storey main building was turned into a two-storey one in the 20th century. A kilometre from the centre of the estate, there is the cemetery chapel of the von Lo ...
Founded: 19th century | Location: Võru, Estonia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Palazzo Colonna

The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.

The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).

With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).

Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.

The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.

The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.

Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.