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

Comments

Your name



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

Kadi Tombak (11 months ago)
Newly renovated beautiful church
Gintautas Šv. (2 years ago)
Very impressive architecture, nice view from observation platform. Worth to visit for architecture lovers and picture takers.
Hesham Salem (2 years ago)
You can visit the church, but it's not worth it paying the fee and going up 138 stairs steps as the obsertory is not well maintained and the view from up there (through glass) is super ordinary and not interesting as you see in the following photo I took:
Hovhannes Sahakyan (3 years ago)
So far the most misterious church in Tartu. It has a huge energy.
L Sam (3 years ago)
Interesting church design. Occasional light show. Nice
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

The Church of the Holy Cross

The church of the former Franciscan monastery was built probably between 1515 and 1520. It is located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Rauma. The church stands by the small stream of Raumanjoki (Rauma river).

The exact age of the Church of the Holy Cross is unknown, but it was built to serve as the monastery church of the Rauma Franciscan Friary. The monastery had been established in the early 15th century and a wooden church was built on this location around the year 1420.

The Church of the Holy Cross served the monastery until 1538, when it was abandoned for a hundred years as the Franciscan friary was disbanded in the Swedish Reformation. The church was re-established as a Lutheran church in 1640, when the nearby Church of the Holy Trinity was destroyed by fire.

The choir of the two-aisle grey granite church features medieval murals and frescoes. The white steeple of the church was built in 1816 and has served as a landmark for seafarers.