Religious sites in Estonia

Hellamaa Orthodox Church

The Orthodox Church of St. Peter and Paul was built in 1864-1866. The limestone church was built according the template design. Inside the church is is a memorial plate for Herman Aavi, the first arch bishop of Orthodox church in Finland.
Founded: 1864-1866 | Location: Muhu, Estonia

St. Alexander's Orthodox Church

A two-storey Orthodox church was built between 1914-1917. It is designed by the architect V. Lunski. Cupolas are inspired by the Old Russian church architecture. The church was reconsecrated in summer 2003. Reference: Visit Tartu
Founded: 1914-1917 | Location: Tartu, Estonia

Jõhvi Church

The church of St. Michael (Mihkli) was built in the mid-15th century and it is the biggest one-nave church in Estonia. It was originally constructed as a fortress church; two meter thick walls, narrow windows and the surrounding moat made it easy to defend. The church has been damaged in wars and restored several times. The unique detail of the Jõhvi church is a great vaulted cellar, which is today renovated as a ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Jõhvi, Estonia

St. George Orthodox Church

The Orthodox church of St George in Paldiski is a typical example of sacral structures of its era - a stone church with classicist baroque roots, it was built between 1784 and 1787 and was consecrated at the end of that year. However, its history dates back even further: the Paldiski Apostolic Orthodox congregation is considered to have been founded in 1721, when a simple church was constructed here for the soldiers and w ...
Founded: 1784-1787 | Location: Paldiski, Estonia

Audru Church

Audru Church, which was built in 1680, is one of the few 17th century rural churches left in Estonia. It was built under the patronage of great church builder Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie, who built 37 churches in Sweden. The baroque-style plastered church has a tall and slim gothic tower. A beautiful vaulted ceiling hangs above the spacious church hall and the church's benches, pulpit, altar wall and grid, and the organ ...
Founded: 1680 | Location: Audru, Estonia

Suure-Jaani Church

The Church of Great Saint John the Baptist was built as a Gothic style fort-church probably in the end of 13th century but before 1330's. It is a typical Central-Estonian church with three naves. There is a rectangular east choir and tetragonal west tower. The portals of the church are remarkable. During the wars the pillars and arches of the church were destroyed. Supposedly, the church had round pillars. The wooden ceil ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Suure-Jaani, Estonia

Värska Orthodox Church

There has been a church in Värska since 16th century. The present St. George’s Orthodox Church was completed in 1904. The neo-Historical Orthodox church with a crossing cupola has a beautiful contrast between stones and brick cornices. The images of the iconostasis date from the time when the church was built. The famous Seto folk singer Anne Vabarna and the captain of the steamship Aurora Ivan Fjodorov have ...
Founded: 1904 | Location: Värska, Estonia

St. Lawrence Church

The Church of St. Lawrence in Kuusalu is considered to be one of the oldest stone churches in Northern Europe. It may have been built originally by the Gotlandish Cistercian monks of the priory of a Roma monastery locating in Kolga. The church was built probably at the end of the 13th century. The Baroque-style bell tower was erected in 1760. The Neo-Gothic shape of the church originates from the large renovation made in ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Kuusalu, Estonia

Ambla Church

The medieval stone church of Ambla is the oldest in Central Estonia. Construction of the church was started in the mid-13th century. The church has been consecrated in the name of Virgin Mary, the main patron saint of Teutonic Order. In Latin the church is called Ampla Maria (Mary the Majestic), which also has given the name for the village. The Renaissance-style interior was mainly destroyed in Livonian Wars, but ther ...
Founded: ca. 1250 | Location: Ambla Parish, Estonia

Mustvee Orthodox Church

The Orthodox church of St. Nicholas was built between 1861-1864 and inaugurated in 1866. It was designed by A. Edelson. The interior is covered with mural paintings and icons from the end of 19th century.
Founded: 1861-1864 | Location: Mustvee, Estonia

Angerja Orthodox Church

The Russian-style Apostolic-Orthodox Church of the Ascension of Our Lord in Angerja (Kohila) was completed in 1901. It is designed by V. I. Lunski.
Founded: 1901 | Location: Kohila, Estonia

Paadrema Orthodox Church

The Orthodox church of Holy Trinity in Paadrema was designed by K. Niiman. Construction of the redbrick and unhewn stone church completed in 1889.
Founded: 1889 | Location: Varbla, Estonia

Kambja Church

The first wooden church of Kambja was built probably in the beginning of the 14th century. Churches were destroyed and rebuilt several times during centuries. The present Lutheran St. Martin’s Church was originally rebuilt in 1720, this time of stone and a transept was added to the old part in 1874. After World War II, the church, which is one of the biggest in Southern Estonia, was in ruins for many years until restora ...
Founded: 1720 | Location: Kambja, Estonia

Väike-Maarja Church

Väike-Maarja church was built on top of a chapel. It was first mentioned in 1346, main construction works took place in the 1370s. The church has relatively thick walls: 2,4 m in average, also had two embrasures near the western tower. There are also German and Estonian chapels, built in 1770 and in the beginning of the 19th century.
Founded: 1370's | Location: Väike-Maarja, Estonia

Valga Orthodox Church

The Orthodox church of Saint Isidore was built between 1897-1898 and it was designed by V. J. Lunski. The church has five octagonal cupolas and represents the neo-classicism style.
Founded: 1897-1898 | Location: Valga, Estonia

Jõelähtme Church

Jõelähtme church is one of the oldest churches in Harjumaa County. The building of Gothic-styled church was started in 1220s and completed in the beginning of 14th century. Jõelähtme church was consecrated to Virgin Mary. The church has been rebuilt several times. The last rebuilding in 1910 was carried out after a conflagration: the gable end tower was replaced by a massive tower erected in front of the portal. Alth ...
Founded: ca. 1220 | Location: Jõelähtme, Estonia

Vigala Church

The first mention of the church in Vigala dates back to 1339. It was built by Uexkülls, the oldest noble family of Livonia. The old church was a slate building with high gables. The choir was vaulted and a free-standing tower was erected in the 15th century. Due to the suboptimal loamy ground new towers had to be erected repeatedly. The architect Alar Kotli designed the bell tower to commemorate those who have lost thei ...
Founded: 1339 | Location: Vigala, Estonia

Pärnu-Jaagupi Church

Pärnu-Jaagupi Church is the youngest Gothic church in Estonia. It was made of stone between 1531 and 1534 to replace the earlier wooden church. The pulpit is from the Baroque era and the altar was built in 1794. In the graveyard is the tomb of local noble family von Nassackins.
Founded: 1531-1534 | Location: Pärnu-Jaagupi, Estonia

Ridala Church

The oldest parts of the Ridala church were built in the late 13th century. It was expanded in the 15th century when the tower was built on the southern side. Ridala Church is one of the most valuable churches in Läänemaa from the artistic point of view. It has been dedicated to Mary Magdalene whose figure in the church is one of the oldest sculptured figures in Estonia. The medieval paintings, altar, triumphal ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Ridala, Estonia

Viru-Nigula Church

The construction of Lutheran Church of Viru-Nigula was started originally in the late 13th century and continued until 15th century. The Baroque-style pillars were added in the 17th century. The church was badly damaged by fire in 1941 and the restoration was started right after World War II. Reference: Tapio Mäkeläinen 2005. Viro - kartanoiden, kirkkojen ja kukkaketojen maa. Tammi, Helsinki, Finland.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Viru-Nigula, 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.