Jõelähtme Church

Jõelähtme, Estonia

Jõelähtme church is one of the oldest churches in Harjumaa County. The building of Gothic-styled church was started in 1220s and completed in the beginning of 14th century. Jõelähtme church was consecrated to Virgin Mary.

The church has been rebuilt several times. The last rebuilding in 1910 was carried out after a conflagration: the gable end tower was replaced by a massive tower erected in front of the portal. Although the church has been subject to damage at various times, it still has the Late Renaissance pulpit and the Baroque altar (completed in 1670).

The grave of Gustav Heinrich Schüdlöffel (1798-1859), pastor who ministered the congregation for a long time and is known for his literary achievments, can still be seen in the cemetery. In March 2000 the altar crucifix, two candlesticks, four chandeliers, two girandoles and the contribution box were stolen from Jõelähtme church. In April 2001 the thieves returned the stolen objects.

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Details

Founded: ca. 1220
Category: Religious sites in Estonia
Historical period: Danish and Livonian Order (Estonia)

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Monika Saks (3 years ago)
väga südamlik preestser, Margus suudab jõuda hinge ja sūdamesse. Kuulake teda kui juhtute Jõelähtmele
Alexander Antipenko (3 years ago)
Мне нравятся такие места,архитектура,старинные кресты.
Михаил Мирошниченко (3 years ago)
Своеобразная, но интересная атмосфера вокруг церкви. Особенно, если приехать во время заката, в пасмурную погоду. Замшелые камни, низенькие могильные кресты. И никого вокруг.
George On tour (3 years ago)
Jõelähtme Church is one of the oldest churches in Estonia. The church was originally made of wood, and it was established during the period of the Danes’ conquest at the beginning of the 1220s. In written records, the Church of Blessed Virgin Mary in Jõelähtme is first mentioned in 1241, and according to the mediaeval administrative system, it belonged to the Tallinn Dome Church. The present-day appearance of the church has come to being in three major stages, finally acquiring the traditional “triple jump” silhouette group. Some of the valuable cultural monuments have remained, such as the Renaissance-style pulpit from 1639, and the Baroque altar from 1670. The oldest church bell of the Harju County is also kept at the church.
Patrik H (5 years ago)
Very beautiful old church from 14th and 15th century in gothic style
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Quimper Cathedral

From 1239, Raynaud, the Bishop of Quimper, decided on the building of a new chancel destined to replace that of the Romanesque era. He therefore started, in the far west, the construction of a great Gothic cathedral which would inspire cathedral reconstructions in the Ile de France and would in turn become a place of experimentation from where would later appear ideas adopted by the whole of lower Brittany. The date of 1239 marks the Bishop’s decision and does not imply an immediate start to construction. Observation of the pillar profiles, their bases, the canopies, the fitting of the ribbed vaults of the ambulatory or the alignment of the bays leads us to believe, however, that the construction was spread out over time.

The four circular pillars mark the start of the building site, but the four following adopt a lozenge-shaped layout which could indicate a change of project manager. The clumsiness of the vaulted archways of the north ambulatory, the start of the ribbed vaults at the height of the south ambulatory or the choice of the vaults descending in spoke-form from the semi-circle which allows the connection of the axis chapel to the choir – despite the manifest problems of alignment – conveys the hesitancy and diverse influences in the first phase of works which spread out until the start of the 14th century.

At the same time as this facade was built (to which were added the north and south gates) the building of the nave started in the east and would finish by 1460. The nave is made up of six bays with one at the level of the facade towers and flanked by double aisles – one wide and one narrow (split into side chapels) – in an extension of the choir arrangements.

The choir presents four right-hand bays with ambulatory and side chapels. It is extended towards the east of 3-sided chevet which opens onto a semi-circle composed of five chapels and an apsidal chapel of two bays and a flat chevet consecrated to Our Lady.

The three-level elevation with arches, triforium and galleries seems more uniform and expresses anglo-Norman influence in the thickness of the walls (Norman passageway at the gallery level) or the decorative style (heavy mouldings, decorative frieze under the triforium). This building site would have to have been overseen in one shot. Undoubtedly interrupted by the war of Succession (1341-1364) it draws to a close with the building of the lierne vaults (1410) and the fitting of stained-glass windows. Bishop Bertrand de Rosmadec and Duke Jean V, whose coat of arms would decorate these vaults, finished the chancel before starting on the building of the facade and the nave.

Isolated from its environment in the 19th century, the cathedral was – on the contrary – originally very linked to its surroundings. Its site and the orientation of the facade determined traffic flow in the town. Its positioning close to the south walls resulted in particuliarities such as the transfer of the side gates on to the north and south facades of the towers: the southern portal of Saint Catherine served the bishop’s gate and the hospital located on the left bank (the current Préfecture) and the north gate was the baptismal porch – a true parish porch with its benches and alcoves for the Apostles’ statues turned towards the town, completed by an ossuary (1514).

The west porch finds its natural place between the two towers. The entire aesthetic of these three gates springs from the Flamboyant era: trefoil, curly kale, finials, large gables which cut into the mouldings and balustrades. Pinnacles and recesses embellish the buttresses whilst an entire bestiary appears: monsters, dogs, mysterious figures, gargoyles, and with them a whole imaginary world promoting a religious and political programme. Even though most of the saints statues have disappeared an armorial survives which makes the doors of the cathedral one of the most beautiful heraldic pages imaginable: ducal ermine, the Montfort lion, Duchess Jeanne of France’s coat of arms side by side with the arms of the Cornouaille barons with their helmets and crests. One can imagine the impact of this sculpted decor with the colour and gilding which originally completed it.

At the start of the 16th century the construction of the spires was being prepared when building was interrupted, undoubtedly for financial reasons. Small conical roofs were therefore placed on top of the towers. The following centuries were essentially devoted to putting furnishings in place (funeral monuments, altars, statues, organs, pulpit). Note the fire which destroyed the spire of the transept cross in 1620 as well as the ransacking of the cathedral in 1793 when nearly all the furnishings disappeared in a « bonfire of the saints ».

The 19th century would therefore inherit an almost finished but mutilated building and would devote itself to its renovation according to the tastes and theories of the day.