St. John's Church

Cēsis, Latvia

St. John's Lutherans Church is one of the oldest medieval architectural monuments in Latvia and the largest medieval basilica outside Riga. The Church was built in 13th century under the Livonian Order by the second Riga Archbishop Johann von Luves. Cesis became one of the most important German centres from 1237 to 1561.

In the 16th century St. John's Church survived a few changes. First at the beginning it was devastated and became one of the Northern Reformation Centres and one of the first Reformation Churches in Latvia. At the end of the century Cesis was ruled by Polish authority and the name of the Church was changed into Catholic bishop Inflantijas Cathedral. After Sweden-Russian war Cesis was annexed by Russia and St. John's Church became Russian property until 1919 year. WWI as well as WWII destroyed a big part of the Church. After WWI the Church lost its 56 stunning stained glass windows, a part tile roof, an organ space was damaged. During a siege in WWII the city was strongly bombed up. The southern part of side area, roof arch and organ were destroyed.

Although St. John's Church suffered the North War, eight fires, crusades of German and Soviet Union troops, it managed to rebuild the roof, walls, arches and even stained glass windows. Today the glorious St. John's Lutheran Church is 65 m long, 32 meters wide and has a massive 65 m high bell tower of neo gothic style with four small towers on the corners and a 15 m high triangular gothic spire. The three-sphere basilica centre altar is a public monument as this late gothic style masterpiece is cut from oak. The apse and rectangular halls are trimmed with semi-circle arches interlinking in the centre. Large stained glass windows, ancient metal wares, gravestones of Livonian Masters of the Order and organ music is creating mysterious and exciting atmosphere.

Besides the everyday three-time worships the Church is also organizing local organ concerts and world famous International Organ Festivals. St. John's Church is actively cooperating with city council, other interfaith congregations, “Sister” Church in Sweden and German and associates with the Riga Old Sun Gertrude and Slokas congregations. The Church is protecting historical and art monuments that are inscribed into National importance list.

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Details

Founded: 13th century
Category: Religious sites in Latvia
Historical period: State of the Teutonic Order (Latvia)

More Information

www.way2latvia.com

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ребека Третьяк (6 months ago)
I had a view only from the outside. Beautiful place
Signe Kumar (11 months ago)
Old, intresting, beautiful.
Garrett Fagnou (2 years ago)
Nicely fixed up white church that really stands out in the town. Especially at night, the church shines with the spit lights. The inside still needs to be finished being restored.
david howells (2 years ago)
Nice church, needs a coat of paint. We were here to early to go inside which was a pity.
P B (2 years ago)
It's OK at max. Maybe, if you stretch your visit might be able to stay 15 minutes inside. Although, that is not counting climbing the stairs. But in the church itself there is nothing that you would not find in most other churches as well. So, it will be a run trough visit at most. Ah, almost forgot, the glass in lead windows are actually not half bad at all.
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