Religious sites in Estonia

Haljala Church

Haljala church was built originally between 1430-1440, replacing a wooden church from the previous century. The octogonal tower was completed in the end of 15th century. Haljala church was damaged in 1558 during the Livonian war and in 1703 during the Great Northern War when it was burnt down by Russian troops. In 1831 it was damaged again when the tower and roof burnt down. The tower was rebuilt in 1865 at which time it ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Haljala, Estonia

Lüganuse Church

The Lüganuse Lutheran church was built in the beginning of 14th century. It was enlarged as a two-nave church in the 15th century. The round tower is unique in Estonian medieval architecture. The church was badly damaged during the Second World War and restoration began in 1951.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Lüganuse, Estonia

Otepää Church

The Otepää Maarja Lutheran Church was built in 1890 and represents the Gothic revival style. On 4th June 1884 the blue-black-white flag of the Estonian Students’ Society was consecrated in the church, which later on became the flag of the nation and in 1992 the official national flag of Estonia. The bas-reliefs of the flag, the author of which is sculptor Voldemar Mellik, were opened on the church wall in ...
Founded: 1890 | Location: Otepää, Estonia

Urvaste Church

The first record Urvaste Church date back to 1413 and it is considered to be one of the oldest churches in Võrumaa. This church, dedicated to Saint Urban, was built in the form of a basilica in the Gothic style, the only such rural church in Estonia. It was mainly destroyed in Livonian War (1558), but reconstructed in 1620. The Altar painting dates from 1885 and the painter is C. Walther. The Organ is a masterpiec ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Võrumaa, Estonia

Jämaja Church

The first known church in Jämaja was built in the 13th century. The wooden church was destroyed by fire and the current one was completed in 1864. The Renaissance style pulpit from the 17th century.
Founded: 1864 | Location: Torgu, Estonia

St. Mary's Church

The current building of Pöide Church is believed to be built on the remains of a chapel built in 13th century. After the conquest of Saaremaa in 1227, the eastern part of Saaremaa belonged to the Livonian Order, who built a fortress at Pöide as their headquarters during the second half of the 13th century. This fortress was destroyed by the Saaremaa natives during the wave of uprisings against the occupying forc ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Saaremaa, Estonia

Kose Church

The first church in Kose was built probably around 1220 and it was inaugurated to St. Nicholas. The present stone church date back to the mid-14th century, although it was mainly renovated to the Neo-Gothic shape in the 19th century. The interior consists a tomb from the 1400’s, pulpit made in 1639 and baroque-style altarpiece (1774).
Founded: 1350 | Location: Kose, Estonia

Järva-Jaani Church

The Church of St. John in Järva-Jaani was built around 1300 as a single-nave fortress church. The Neo-gothic tower was erected in 1881. There are some interesting historical artefacts in the church like Baroque-style pulpit made by Fr. Hoppenstätt in 1648.
Founded: 1300 | Location: Järva-Jaani Parish, Estonia

St. Martin's Church

The three-naved Türi hall-church was built at the end of 13th century and dedicated to St. Martin. A chapel with the Baranoff family coat of arms is located in the churchyard, where the memorial signs include a Güldenband coat of arms from the 17th century. The posts of yellowish dolomite in the southern gate of the churchyard are eye-catching, as are the chapel’s 19th-century door frames, cornice, and scu ...
Founded: ca. 1300 | Location: Türi, Estonia

Kaarma Church

The medieval church of Saint Peter and Paul in Kaarma is one of the most interesting sights in Saaremaa island. The building was probably started right after the uprising of Saaremaa inhabitants in 1261. It was a typical church of the Osilia Bishophric - a simple nave with a slightly narrower choir. The steeple was added in the 15th century and thus Kaarma became the first church with a steeple on Saaremaa. The church is ...
Founded: ca. 1261 | Location: Saaremaa, Estonia

Lümanda Orthodox Church

The Orthodox Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord in Lümanda was completed in 1867. The single-nave church with two towers is made of limestone. Nearby is a parsonage, which functions nowadays as a restaurant of traditional menu.
Founded: 1867 | Location: Kihelkonna, Estonia

Kodavere Church

Kodavere Church dates from 1342. The present St. Michael’s Church is the fourth church on the site. This stone building was completed in 1777 and it represents the early classicism style with Orthodox influence. On the western façade there is a triangular pediment and a cylinder-shaped tower with an onion-shaped spire. Reference: Jõgeva County Tourism
Founded: 1777 | Location: Kodavere, Lümati, Estonia

Mustvee Lutheran Church

The Lutheran church of Mustvee was completed in 1880. The Neo-gothic church was designed by J. Maasi. The original interior was destroyed by fire in 1939.
Founded: 1880 | Location: Mustvee, Estonia

Velise Apostolic Orthodox church

The Orthodox church of Velise was completed in 1889. The red-brick church is designed by the government architect Ervin Bernhardt. The richness of decoration which is characteristic of the Russian art of construction was toned down to fit in with the Estonian culture through the skilled use of colour contrast between bricks and fieldstones.
Founded: 1889 | Location: Märjamaa, Estonia

Mihkli Church

The medieval church of Mihkli (St. Michael) was originally known as Soontagana church. It was built already in the end of 13th century. The present stone-made bell tower was added in 1779-1787. The interior is mainly from the 19th century with the exception of medieval font pedestal and bell made in Stockholm in 1684.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Koonga, Estonia

Varbla Church

The Lutheran church of Varbla was completed in 1861 to replace the earlier wooden church made in 1638. It its dedicated to St. Urbanus. The simple single-nave church represents the neo-Gothic style. Three old altar paintings and a church bell originate from the 17th century.
Founded: 1860-1861 | Location: Varbla, Estonia

Pootsi-Kõpu Church

The imposing Pootsi-Kõpu Holy Trinity Apostolic Orthodox Church is made of natural stone and decorated with large domes. It was built in 1873. The church has a baroque atmosphere and it is rather unique in Pärnu County in architectural terms as there is no bell tower above the main entrance. Reference: Visit Estonia
Founded: 1872-1873 | Location: Tõstamaa, Estonia

Saarde Church

The present church of Saarde was built between 1858-1859 to replace the earlier one built in 1684. The eastern wall still remains from the previous church. The neo-Gothic church is made of stone, but the small bell tower is wooden.
Founded: 1858-1859 | Location: Saarde, Estonia

Tahkuranna Orthodox Church

The Apostolic Orthodox Church of Dormition of Mother of God of Tahkuranna, completed in 1872, is, from the architectural point of view, rather rare in the Estonian context. For construction, red bricks are used without field stones, although in case of Orthodox churches they have traditionally been used together. In Tahkuranna Church was baptized the first Estonian President Konstantin Päts. Reference: Romantiline R ...
Founded: 1872 | Location: Tahkuranna, Estonia

Noarootsi Church

Noarootsi church is the youngest fortification church in Estonia, built around 1500. It served the congregation of Swedes living on Estonia coast, but also held a defence function. Currently, it is one of the three churches in Estonia with plank roof. Most interesting artefacts inside the church are the baptising stone, baroque pulpit, limestone baroque epitaph to Minister Martin Winter. Reference: Histrodamus
Founded: 1500 | Location: Noarootsi, 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.