St. Olaf's Church

Tallinn, Estonia

St. Olaf’s Church (Oleviste kirik) is believed to have been built in the 12th century and to have been the centre for old Tallinn's Scandinavian community prior to the conquest of Tallinn by Denmark in 1219. Its dedication relates to King Olaf II of Norway (a.k.a. Saint Olaf, 995-1030). The first known written records referring to the church date back to 1267, and it was extensively rebuilt during the 14th century.

A legend tells that the builder of the church, named Olaf, upon its completion, fell to his death from atop the tower. It is said that when his body hit the ground, a snake and a toad crawled out of his mouth. There is a wall-carving depicting this event in the adjoining Chapel of Our Lady.

Around 1500, the building reached a height of 159 meters. The motivation for building such an immensely tall steeple must have been to use it as a maritime signpost, which made the trading city of Tallinn visible from far out at sea. Between 1549 and 1625, when the spire burnt down after a lightning strike, it was the tallest building in the world. The steeple of St. Olav has been hit by lightning at least eight times, and the whole church has burned down three times throughout its known existence. Following several rebuildings, its overall height is now 123.7 meters.

From 1944 until 1991, the Soviet KGB used Oleviste's spire as a radio tower and surveillance point. It currently continues as an active Baptist church. The tower's viewing platform offers panoramic views over the old town and is open to the public from April through November.

Reference: Wikipedia

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Address

Lai 50-52, Tallinn, Estonia
See all sites in Tallinn

Details

Founded: 1267
Category: Religious sites in Estonia
Historical period: Danish and Livonian Order (Estonia)

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ꭺɱαɳ 01 (5 months ago)
St. Olaf’s Church or St. Olav's Church (Estonian: Oleviste kirik) in Tallinn, Estonia, is believed to have been built in the 12th century and to have been the centre for old Tallinn's Scandinavian community before Denmark conquered Tallinn in 1219. Its dedication relates to King Olaf II of Norway (also known as Saint Olaf, 995–1030). The first known written records referring to the church date back to 1267. It was extensively rebuilt during the 14th century.
Saniya Meldre (7 months ago)
St. Olaf’s Church was the highest point of almost all Europe in the past. And this place has a huge great history. Reformation of Christianity in Estonia had been started here. Even during the Soviet Union times, when religion was forbidden, here in 1970’s really big Holy Spirit moving had place. Many people got healed here even from deadly illnesses. Also you can chance to look at whole city from the rooftop (after 258 steps up). You will be a bit tired, but it worth it. Like this review if it was helpful :)
Ema Mlynarcikova (10 months ago)
One of the best views in Tallinn. Worth climbing the stairs.
Caleb Carter (15 months ago)
This place was awesome. The only downfall for this place is the fact that the KGB was the big attraction and you simply see a room where they used to work. The views from the top are magnificent though. We went in summer and loved it. I imagine winter would be unbearable.
Prince Finland (15 months ago)
St. Olaf church is a must see place in beautiful city of Tallinn in Estonia. You can climb to top of the tower and you have beautiful view of the city. There is not much safety when you climb on top.you have to be bit careful. But a nice place a beautiful view from the top.
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