Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Tallinn, Estonia

The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is an orthodox cathedral in Tallinn. It is built to a design by Mikhail Preobrazhensky in a typical Russian Revival style between 1894 and 1900, during the period when the country was part of the Russian Empire. The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is Tallinn's largest and grandest orthodox cupola cathedral. It is dedicated to Saint Alexander Nevsky who in 1242 won the Battle of the Ice on Lake Peipus, in the territorial waters of present-day Estonia. The late Russian patriarch, Alexis II, started his priestly ministry in the church.

The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral crowns the hill of Toompea where the Estonian folk hero Kalevipoeg is said to have been buried according to a legend (there are many such legendary burial places of him in Estonia). The cathedral was built during the period of late 19th century Russification and was so disliked by many Estonians as a symbol of oppression that the Estonian authorities scheduled the cathedral for demolition in 1924, but the decision was never implemented due to lack of funds and the building's massive construction. As the USSR was officially non-religious, many churches including this cathedral were left to decline. The church has been meticulously restored since Estonia regained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.



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Founded: 1894-1900
Category: Religious sites in Estonia
Historical period: Part of the Russian Empire (Estonia)


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Allen Lin (7 months ago)
The inside of this cathedral may not be super special but the outside is quite spectacular. It looks different that basically all of the other cathedrals that you are used to seeing in Europe. Unfortunately it is also really hard to get a good picture with the cathedral because it is already situated at the highest point in old town.
Nikos Gkekas (7 months ago)
It was built in 1900 when Estonia was under Czarist Russian rule as a reminder to the mainly Lutheran Estonians of their subordinate status during that era. In the late 19th century, Czarist Russia was carrying out a fervent campaign of Russifiying its outer territories. Loathed by most Estonians at the time for being a symbol of Russification policies, the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral was planned to be demolished in 1924, but the plan was never executed. The cathedral is dedicated to the Prince of Novgorod, Alexander Yaroslavich Nevsky, who vanquished the Livonian Knights on the banks of Lake Peipsi in 1242. The cathedral’s Neo-Byzantine exterior is richly decorated in mosaics and icons and its bulging black domes and golden iron crosses are visible through most of the Old Town. The interior is relatively spartan compared to other renowned Orthodox cathedrals but impressive nonetheless.
Vitaliy Schafer (8 months ago)
Neat cathedral in the old time. Recommend going in and lighting a candle. There was a service going on at the same time.
YLi 3 (13 months ago)
Beautiful buiding and great art inside. Well, camera is NOT allowed inside. You have to capture those beautiful art with your bare eyes and keep in your brain SD card. =) Due to MCO , there are less visitors when we arrived. Not much foreigner too. Overall, this is a Must Visit place if you come to Old town, Tallinn.
Frederick Armentia (14 months ago)
Nicely preserved medieval architecture. Some parts were closed off due to covid restrictions and renovations, but still very much a nice church to visit. The gift shop is also well stocked with orthodox christian souvenirs.
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