Ruins in 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

Virtsu Castle Ruins

The castle of Virtsu belonged to vassals of the feudal state Bishopric of Ösel-Wiek - Western part of nowadays Estonia as well as part of Saaremaa and part of Hiiumaa. It was built in 1430 by Uexküll noble family and destroyed already in 16th century. Now the ruined walls are few metres high, but it really looks that there is almost nothing. That's because grass and bush is growing on the ruins. Reference: ...
Founded: 1430 | Location: Hanila, Estonia

Angerja Castle Ruins

The vassal tower-stronghold of Angerja was probably built in the 14th century. The rectangular construction was made of limestone, the walls were two meters thick and it was surrounded by a moat. Some parts of the walls remain to this day and a moat is still visible. It is thought that the stronghold was destroyed during the Livonian war. Tower-strongholds were built by vassals to protect themselves, mostly against peasa ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Kohila, Estonia

Tahkuranna Church

The Lutheran Church was built to the Võiste village in the end of 17th century. It was mainly reconstructed to the neo-Gothic appearance between 1890-1891. In 1941 church was badly damaged and today it is only partially restored. Worships are held in the near sacristy.
Founded: 1890-1891 | Location: Tahkuranna , Estonia

Osmussaar Church Ruins

The church of Osmussaar was built by Estonian Swedes in 1776. Today only ruined tower and some walls remain. Also the cemetery is destroyed.
Founded: 1776 | Location: Läänemaa, Estonia

Viru-Nigula Chapel Ruins

The ruins of the Viru-Nigula Maarja chapel, which was shaped like a Greek cross, is the only building of this kind from the Catholic period in Estonia. The ruins have also been associated with a Russian style church architecture The chapel probably dates back to the 13th century. Reference: Jaanus Plaat. Orthodoxy and Orthodox Sacral Buildings in Estonia from the 11th to the 19th centuries.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Viru-Nigula, Estonia

Lõhavere Hill Fort

Lõhavere was an ancient hill fort of Lembitu, the legendary chief of Estonians. It was used in defensive purposes about 20 years in the 12th and 13th centuries. Lembitu was killed in the battle of Madise (St. Matthew’s) day in 1217 by German crusaders and Latgalian allies. Towering in the middle of the forest, the hill of the fort with it's naturally deep slopes leaves an imposing impression even today. ...
Founded: 12th-13th centuries | Location: Suure-Jaani, Estonia

Kavilda Stronghold Ruins

The Kavilda stronghold (Kawelecht) was, according to Leonhard von Stryk, first built in 1354 by Bartholomäus von Tiesenhausen. Other sources say it was built in 1361 by Arnold von Vietinghoff, the Master of Livonian Order. The castle was destroyed during the Livonian War somewhere between 1564 and 1582. It was probably knocked down before the invasion of the Poles. Thereinafter Kavilda excisted only as a manor but no ...
Founded: 1350s-13060s | Location: Tartumaa, Estonia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Limburg Cathedral

The Cathedral of Limburg is one of the best preserved late Romanesque style buildings. It is unknown When the first church was built above the Lahn river. Archaeological discoveries have revealed traces of a 9th-century church building in the area of the current chapel. It was probably built in Merovingian times as a castle and the chapel added in the early 9th century.

In 910 AD, Count Konrad Kurzbold (cousin of the future King Konrad I) founded a collegiate chapter of 18 canons, who lived according to the rule of Bishop Chrodegang of Metz, on the hilltop site. The original castle chapel was torn down and a three-aisled basilica was built in its place. The foundations of this basilica have been found beneath the present floor.

The construction of current cathedral is dated to 1180-90. The consecration was performed in 1235 by the archbishop of Trier. It seems certain that the cathedral was built in four stages. The first stage encompassed the west facade, the south side aisle, the choir and the transept up to the matroneum. This section forms the Conradine church. The second stage consisted of the addition of the inner pillars of the south nave. In this stage the bound system was first introduced. In the third phase, the matroneum in the southern nave was built. The fourth stage included the north side of the transept and the choir matroneum. By this stage Gothic influence is very clear.

The interior was destroyed by Swedish soldiers during the Thirty Years War (1618-48) and reconstructed in a late Baroque style in 1749. The Baroque renovation was heavy-handed: the surviving medieval stained glass windows were replaced; all the murals were covered up; the ribs of the vaults and columns of the arcades were painted blue and red; the capstones were gilded; the original high altar was replaced. The colorfully painted exterior was coated in plain white and the central tower was extended by 6.5 meters.

The collegiate chapter of Limburg was dissolved in 1803 during the Napoleonic period, but then raised to the rank of cathedral in 1827 when the bishopric of Limburg was founded. Some renovations in contemporary style followed: the walls were coated white, the windows were redone in blue and orange (the heraldic colors of the Duke of Nassau) and towers were added to the south transept (1865).

Further changes came after Limburg was incorporated into the Kingdom of Prussia in 1866. It was now the Romantic period and the cathedral was accordingly restored to an idealized vision of its original Romanesque appearance. The exterior stonework was stripped of all its plaster and paint, to better conform with the Romantic ideal of a medieval church growing out of the rock. The Baroque interior was stripped away and the wall paintings were uncovered and repainted.

Further renovations came in 1934-35, enlightened by better knowledge of the original art and architecture. Art Nouveau stained glass windows were also added. A major restoration in 1965-90 included replastering and painting the exterior, both to restore it to its original appearance and to protect the stonework, which was rapidly deteriorating while exposed to the elements.

The interior is covered in medieval frescoes dating from 1220 to 1235. They are magnificent and important survivals, but time has not been terribly kind to them - they were whitewashed over in the Baroque period (1749) and uncovered and repainted with a heavy hand in the Romantic period (1870s) before finally being restored more sensitively in the 1980s.