National Library of Estonia
June 13–16

Saturday June 16 2018

  • 11.45–13.30
    WALKING TOUR: Three Churches in Tallinn Old Town

    This tour will focus on three churches representing the different periods and social strata in Tallinn Old Town. The Church of the Holy Spirit was first recorded in 1319 and originally founded as part of the neighbouring Holy Spirit Almshouse. The two-aisled church is small compared to other medieval churches in Tallinn, and throughout medieval times it remained the primary church of the common folk. The most noteworthy detail in the exterior is the finely carved clock by Christian Ackermann (1684). The treasures inside include the carved and painted winged altarpiece (1483) by Berndt Notke, the pulpit (1597) and the paintings on the galleries (17th–18th c.).


    St. Olaf’s Church was first recorded in its present location in 1330, and the present shape and size probably date from the 15th century. The interior is significant for the great height of the nave (31 m) and the stellar vaults of the chancel. The historicist interior decoration that followed the old Gothic style dates back to the restoration of 1820–1840, following the fire of 1820 that devastated the church.


    The original building on the site of the present-day Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord (1732) was built in the 13th century and was a part of medieval Cistercian St. Michael’s Abbey for nuns that closed in 1629. After the Northern War, the church served as the cathedral of the Russian Orthodox denomination from 1716 until the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral was built in Toompea in 1900. The icon screen – iconostasis – from 1732 by Ivan Zarudny is one of the oldest extant iconostases in the country.