St John's Church

Tartu, Estonia

St. John's Church was probably built in the first third of the 14th century as a three-nave basilica. The church was damaged in the Russian- Livonian War in the 16th century; lightning has set its spire on fire several times. Some parts of the church were destroyed in the Great Nordic War in 1708.

In the end of 19th century external walls of St. John's Church were cleaned of limewash, the original shape of the choir windows was restored and new external figures were made of instead of the destroyed ones. The building was reconstructed in the Neo-classicism style in 1930’s. During World War II, the church caught fire. The damage was so extensive that an unknown and rich interior decoration was discovered the beneath the destroyed plaster sheet. There have been over a thousand sculptures in the internal and external walls of the construction. There is no other brick church decorated with so much terracotta plastic in Europe.

There are fifteen figures in the triple arch niches of the fronton which represent Judgement Day. On the facade and two sides of the tower there are other figures since the tower's frieze consisting of quaternion foils with a human head continuing in each quaternor foil on the sides of the longitudinal building as well. There are friezes and niches decorated with sculptures in the interior as well.

However, the western wall, with numerous niches with sculptures and pseudotriforium located above the arcades in the niches of which there are figures sitting on a throne, deserves special attention. In the eastern wall, above the triumphal arch, there is a large terracotta group: Christ on a cross and Mary and John beneath the cross.

Reference: Tartu Tourist Information

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Address

Lüübeki, Tartu, Estonia
See all sites in Tartu

Details

Founded: 1300-1330
Category: Religious sites in Estonia
Historical period: Danish and Livonian Order (Estonia)

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Hovhannes Sahakyan (8 months ago)
So far the most misterious church in Tartu. It has a huge energy.
L Sam (8 months ago)
Interesting church design. Occasional light show. Nice
Elena Kropaneva (8 months ago)
A very beautiful church worth seeing. Very medieval and minimalistic ambience.
Karmo (9 months ago)
Despite the echoes and reverberation a nice and cosy church.
Mariin Luht (2 years ago)
Great concerts in beautiful Lutherian church in the centre of Tartu. When available, climb to the top - fantastic views over Tartu.
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