Religious sites in Estonia

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church

The Church of St. Nicholas with its two cupolas represents the late Classicism building style. It was completed in 1790 to replace the earlier wooden church. Interior is very bare with iconostasis made in 1700-1800s.
Founded: 1790 | Location: Kuressaare, Estonia

St John's Church

The St John’s (Jaani) Church of Haapsalu was built during the restless reformation years during the early part of the 16th century (first mentioned in 1524), and initially it was dedicated to St Nicholas. The church is exceptionally laid out in a north-south bearing. The basement of the church was an ancient storage house. The church has a beautiful stone altar (17th century), a wooden pulpit (18th century) and one ...
Founded: 1524 | Location: Haapsalu, Estonia

The Church of Virgin Mary

A beautifully proportioned neo-Historical red- brick Roman Catholic church (architect Wilhelm Scilling) was completed in 1899 and consecrated as Sinless Virgin Mary's Secret of Faith Church. The main altar was placed in the church 1904. Altar painting "Virgin Mary with Jesus" was painted by Ernst Friedrich von Liphardt. In 1934, a new modern organ was installed. In 1935, a large crucifix carved of linden was placed a ...
Founded: 1899 | Location: Tartu, Estonia

Padise Monastery

Padise Monastery was a former Cistercian monastery. It was founded in 1310 by the dispossessed monks of Dünamünde Abbey in Latvia. King Eric VI of Denmark gave them permission to build a fortified monastery in Padise, where they moved in 1310, although construction of the stone buildings did not begin until 1317. By 1343, at the time of the St. George's Night Uprising, when it was still only partly built, the monastery ...
Founded: 1317 | Location: Padise, Estonia

Rõuge Church

The St. Mary’s Church in Rõuge was originally built in 1550, but it was damaged badly in the Great Northern War. The present church was reconstructed in 1730’s. In 1854 the church obtained its organ and the altar picture of 'Christ on the cross' by R. von Mühlen. In 1860 the building was completely renovated, with the walls being made higher and a mirrored arch installed. The Kriisa brothe ...
Founded: 1730's | Location: Rõuge, Estonia

Pühtitsa Convent

The Pühtitsa convent is located on a site known as Pühitsetud ("blessed" in Estonian) since ancient times. According to a 16th century legend, near the local village, Kuremäe, a shepherd witnessed a divine revelation near a spring of water to this day venerated as holy. Later, locals found an ancient icon of Dormition of the Mother of God under a huge oak tree. The icon still belongs to the convent. A smal ...
Founded: 1891 | Location: Illuka, Estonia

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

St. Peter's Church

St.Peter's congregation of Tartu was established on 27 October 1869 and the St. Peter's Church was consecrated in 1884. This pseudogothic imposing building was built pursuant to a design by E. Schröder. The location was symbolic of the time of the Estonian awakening: in the proximity of the square where the first general Estonian song festival took place. The church was finally completed in 1903, when the fre ...
Founded: 1884 | Location: Tartu, Estonia

Orthodox Resurrection of the Christ Cathedral

The Orthodox cathedral was built in 1890-1898 by the Kreenholm manufacture for its Orthodox labour. It was designed by architect Pavel Alisch. The great cathedral is made of brick and Finnish granite and has seats for 2000 people. The most prominent feature of its interior is the wooden crucifix (Architect Astafjev). The icons were painted by Michail Dickarev (Palech School).
Founded: 1890-1898 | Location: Narva, Estonia

Palamuse Church

The church of St. Bartholomew in Palamuse is one of the oldest medieval churches in southern Estonia. The three-nave church was probably completed in 1234. It was damaged heavily during Livonian Wars, but rebuilt in Baroque-style. Two medieval tombstones, baroque reredos and pulpit with several carvings (1696) are survived and visible in the church.
Founded: 1234 | Location: Palamuse, Estonia

Alexander Church

Narva Alexander's Cathedral is the biggest church in Estonia. The project of the church was drawn by Otto Pius von Hippius and it was built between 1881 – 1884. The plot of land for the church was a gift from Georg v. Kramer, the owner of Joala mansion. The owner of the Krenholm Manufacture paid the building expenses and the church was built to accommodate 5000 workers of Krenholm Manufacture and had 2500 seats. ...
Founded: 1881-1884 | Location: Narva, Estonia

Kihelkonna Church

The building of St. Michael’s church in Kihelkonna was probably started in the mid-13th century and completed between 1270-1290. In the early Middle Ages Kihelkonna was one of the most important centers in Saaremaa. It was situated on the road connecting the western part of Saaremaa with mainland Estonia. There was also a harbor of considerable importance here. Both the Bishop and the Livonian Order contributed to t ...
Founded: ca. 1250-1290 | Location: Saaremaa, Estonia

Harju-Madise Church

The first sanctuary on the site was a small wooden construction that was replaced by a stone construction in the 15th century. Because of the unique position on a high shore the church tower was also used as a lighthouse. The present appearance is mostly from 1500-1700’s. During reconstruction work in 1760-80, the choir, vestry and tower were added to the original building. In middle of nineteenth century the Baltic-Ge ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Padise, Estonia

St. Mary's Church

Märjamaa Church boasting lofty walls was built in the 14th century as the mightiest fortress-church in western Estonia. Its main characteristics are asceticism, simplicity, utility and quality. Its exceptionally high and thick walls used to be capped with balustrades. Märjamaa Church is the only fully preserved medieval church in Rapla County. The churchyard contains a Maltese stone cross dating from 1720 and b ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Märjamaa, Estonia

Rapla Church

The Lutheran church of Mary Magdalene was built in 1899-1901. The huge two-tower church is one of the biggest in Estonia. The limestone building can accommodate 3,000 people. It tThe New Roman style building was designed by Baltic German architect Rudolf von Engelhardt. The altar wall (1737) is moved from the previous church. The altarpiece is painted by C. Walter in 1862.
Founded: 1899-1901 | Location: Rapla, Estonia

Muhu Church

The St.Caherine's Church of Muhu is considered one of the most remarkable early-Gothic buildings in Estonia. It was first mentioned in Hermann von Wartberge's Chronicle dated 1276. The exterior architecture of the Muhu Church is a strict monumental style and its originality is prominent. The Muhu Church has preserved its original shape. Around 1663, a little wooden steeple was added to the church, but perished tog ...
Founded: 1276 | Location: Muhu, Estonia

Alexander Nevsky Church

The church of Alexander Nevsky was originally a small chapel built in 1896. Only few years (1896-1897) later it was reconstructed as a church by the design of Architect A. Krasovski. The central part of the church is covered by a high, tented roof in 'Moscow style', crowned by an onion dome. It also has other characteristic features of Russian Orthodox churches, and is renowned for its iconostasis. During colder m ...
Founded: 1896-1897 | Location: Haapsalu, Estonia

St. Paul's Church

The Lutheran red-brick church of St. Paul was built between 1863-1866. It is designed by Franz Block and Matthias von Holst. The Viljandi estate owner baron Ungern-Stenberg gave the community a part of his estate as building ground for the church.
Founded: 1863-1866 | Location: Viljandi, Estonia

Karja Church

The towerless Gothic style church of St. Catherine in Karja is the smallest church in Saaremaa island. The church was built in the late 13th or early 14th century. Although small, it is the one of the most beautiful churches in Saaremaa. The architectural design of the church is simple: a two bayed nave, a choir and a vestry. It is the sculptural decor that makes the church a real jewel. Its portals, bosses and vaulting s ...
Founded: 13-14th century | Location: Saaremaa, Estonia

Vormsi Church

According the legend the church of St. Olav in Vormsi was originally built in 1219 in the guidance of Valdemar II, the King of Denmark. Although, the oldest parts of the church has been dated to the year 1400 (approximately). It has been renovated and reconstructed several times, at least in 1632, 1772 and 1929. The St. Olav’s church is unique for the fact that it has no belfry; the bell hangs above the door under t ...
Founded: ca. 1400 | Location: Vormsi, Estonia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Czocha Castle

Czocha Castle is located on the Lake Leśnia, what is now the Polish part of Upper Lusatia. Czocha castle was built on gneiss rock, and its oldest part is the keep, to which housing structures were later added.

Czocha Castle began as a stronghold, on the Czech-Lusatian border. Its construction was ordered by Wenceslaus I of Bohemia, in the middle of the 13th century (1241–1247). In 1253 castle was handed over to Konrad von Wallhausen, Bishop of Meissen. In 1319 the complex became part of the dukedom of Henry I of Jawor, and after his death, it was taken over by another Silesian prince, Bolko II the Small, and his wife Agnieszka. Origin of the stone castle dates back to 1329.

In the mid-14th century, Czocha Castle was annexed by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia. Then, between 1389 and 1453, it belonged to the noble families of von Dohn and von Kluks. Reinforced, the complex was besieged by the Hussites in the early 15th century, who captured it in 1427, and remained in the castle for unknown time (see Hussite Wars). In 1453, the castle was purchased by the family of von Nostitz, who owned it for 250 years, making several changes through remodelling projects in 1525 and 1611. Czocha's walls were strengthened and reinforced, which thwarted a Swedish siege of the complex during the Thirty Years War. In 1703, the castle was purchased by Jan Hartwig von Uechtritz, influential courtier of Augustus II the Strong. On August 17, 1793, the whole complex burned in a fire.

In 1909, Czocha was bought by a cigar manufacturer from Dresden, Ernst Gutschow, who ordered major remodelling, carried out by Berlin architect Bodo Ebhardt, based on a 1703 painting of the castle. Gutschow, who was close to the Russian Imperial Court and hosted several White emigres in Czocha, lived in the castle until March 1945. Upon leaving, he packed up the most valuable possessions and moved them out.

After World War II, the castle was ransacked several times, both by soldiers of the Red Army, and Polish thieves, who came to the so-called Recovered Territories from central and eastern part of the country. Pieces of furniture and other goods were stolen, and in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the castle was home to refugees from Greece. In 1952, Czocha was taken over by the Polish Army. Used as a military vacation resort, it was erased from official maps. The castle has been open to the public since September 1996 as a hotel and conference centre. The complex was featured in several movies and television series. Recently, the castle has been used as the setting of the College of Wizardry, a live action role-playing game (LARP) that takes place in their own universe and can be compared to Harry Potter.