The medieval church of Saint Peter and Paul in Kaarma is one of the most interesting sights in Saaremaa island. The building was probably started right after the uprising of Saaremaa inhabitants in 1261. It was a typical church of the Osilia Bishophric - a simple nave with a slightly narrower choir. The steeple was added in the 15th century and thus Kaarma became the first church with a steeple on Saaremaa.

The church is built on unstable ground and during construction an accident seems to have occurred, and part of it seem to have collapsed. The nave did not acquire its present vaults until the 15th century. The relatively wide nave was divided into two aisles for safety purposes. Sometime prior to the 15th century reconstructions, a room with a fireplace was built above the vestry. This room could serve as a place of refuge for the colonizers from the angry natives of Saaremaa. Later, it became shelter for pilgrims who followed a route that included churches on the island of Gotland and Saaremaa.

The murals on the northern wall of the choir originate from the old church. They depict a painted illusionary window and a scene with St. Christopher. Unfortunately, only the legs seem to have survived. The proceedings were observed by a hermit carrying a lantern.

Many pieces of art have survived in Kaarma church. There is a medieval baptismal font (13th century) and a wooden sculpture of St. Simon of Cyrene (mid-15th century) standing under the pulpit. The pulpit, dating from 1645, is also worth noting. The present Neo-Gothic altarpiece depicts a painting by O. von Moeller of Christ on the Cross. The niches in the altar was formerly filled by medeival carvings of the apostles. These sculptures can now be seen in the Saaremaa Museum in Kuressaare.

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Address

Kaarma 79, Saaremaa, Estonia
See all sites in Saaremaa

Details

Founded: ca. 1261
Category: Religious sites in Estonia
Historical period: Danish and Livonian Order (Estonia)

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jüri Metsaalt (7 months ago)
Too bad I couldn't get in
Kristjan Padar (7 months ago)
Beautiful ..
Костя Линник (2 years ago)
A huge old church fortification. It's a miracle that it has survived for several hundred years.
Lina Augutiene (2 years ago)
Nice stop in the island
Jouko Koskelainen (4 years ago)
Historia koskettaa..
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Lorca Castle

Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.

Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.