St. Peter and St. Paul's Cathedral is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Administration of Estonia. Catholicism was introduced to Estonia by force via the Northern crusades and dominated religious life during the Middle Ages. However, following the Reformation during the 16th century, Lutheranism took its place as the dominant faith, and during the time of Swedish rule in Estonia, Catholicism was banned.
Following Sweden's loss of Estonia to the Russian Empire during the Great Northern War, religious freedom was introduced by the new authorities. In 1799, the Catholic parish had grown large enough to be granted the former refectory of the long-since closed St. Catherine's Monastery as a place of worship on the site of the present church. In 1841, designs were made for a proper new church building for the site, which had grown too small. The architect was the well-known St. Petersburg architect Carlo Rossi. He designed a neo-Gothic basilica, without an apse, with a neo-classical exterior.
Between 1920 and 1924, the main, western façade received its present look, a work by architects Erich Jacoby and Franz de Vries somewhat deviating from Rossi's original façade. The interior of the church still reflects Rossi's design, however the wooden, neo-Gothic decoration has been removed. The cathedral has undergone a series of renovations, the latest in 2002–2003.
The cathedral incorporates several works of art, including works by local Baltic German artists Carl Sigismund Walther, Robert Salemann and a copy of a painting by Guido Reni.References:
First record of Kastelholma (or Kastelholm) castle is from the year 1388 in the contract of Queen Margaret I of Denmark, where a large portion of the inheritance of Bo Jonsson Grip was given to the queen. The heyday of the castle was in the 15th and 16th centuries when it was administrated by Danish and Swedish kings and stewards of the realms. Kastelhoma was expanded and enhanced several times.
In the end of 16th century castle was owned by the previous queen Catherine Jagellon (Stenbock), an enemy of the King of Sweden Eric XIV. King Eric conquered Kastelholma in 1599 and all defending officers were taken to Turku and executed. The castle was damaged under the siege and it took 30 years to renovate it.
In 1634 Åland was joined with the County of Åbo and Björneborg and Kastelholma lost its administrative status.