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Dome church: Cathedral of Sant Mary the Virgin
What everyone refers as the Dome Church is in fact a Lutheran Church whose real name is Cathedral of Sant Mary the Virgin.
The building as we see it today is a white construction made of stone, but originally (in the 13th century) the Danes had built it in wood and served as a Roman Catholic church. In fact, it became Lutheran only in 1561.
The church as we see it today can be traced back to two periods: the exterior to the 15th century and the spire to the 18th century. I wasn’t very imopressed by the interior of this church, but what I found fascinating was the old tombstones from 13th –18th century and the stone-carved sarcophagi from the 17th century. A fine example can be found right at the entrance of the church, on your right side (see photo): the grave slab of the Toompea butchers' guild 1760.
The Dome Church
This building can be seen from many different viewpoints so if you have been to Tallinn with a camera and a trigger-happy finger you are bound to have a picture of it.
Although this was one of the oldest established churches in Tallinn and its foundation dates from the 13th century when Dominican monks were established there, the present building dates from around 1700 when reconstruction that followed the great fire of 1684 was completed. That fire destroyed not only the church but most of the buildings on Tooompea Hill.
The baroque tower was not added until 1779.
Inside the church one of the things to look out for is the amazing collection of "Hatchments" - that is what we call the ornate funeral coats of arms that traditionally accompanied the deceased on the funeral procession. (We have got one in our local Norman Priory Church)
There are, too, ornate tombs of local and international historical figures, including a Scotsman - Samuel Greig of Fife, the Admiral of the Russian Baltic Fleet who died in Tallinn in1788 .
We were asked not to take photographs inside the church.
Cathedral of Tallinn
Tallinn's Cathedral is called Dome church or the Cathedral of Saint Mary the Virgin as well. It is the main Lutheran church in Tallinn. The stone church here was built in 1229 by Dominican monks from Danish monastery. At end of 18 century the tower of Cathedral was built as interior was more or less redecorated, so interior belongs to Baroque style.
Inside church is quite modest, but has some very big tombs, nice organ and main altar. The entrance is for free.
Toom kirik (Dome church)
The main church of Tallinn is the Dome church, dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin, which can be traced back to 1233. The current building is from the 15th century, with larger rebuildings taking place in the 17th century after a fire in 1684. The spire was added in 1779. As the main church, this one attracted the rich, noble and powerful of the city (in contrast to the “Church of the Holy Spirit” – see separate tip for that). So, you will find here some medieval and renaissance graves from wealthy merchant families, including the carved tomb of a swedish marine officer from the 16th century. Another grave to be noticed is the one from Otto Johann Thuve at the entrance of the church. A legend says that – after a sinful life – his last wish was to be buried there so that everybody entering the church would step on his tomb and so wash his sins away. For more information about the history of the church, check the website below.
The Dome Church is the second visible-from-everywhere sight on Dome Hill (Toompea). It is situated only some meters away from Newski Cathedral.
As early as in 1219, there was a church on this site. Today's Dome Church was finished in the 15th century. The massive church building is very interesting from the inside due to its large number of coats of arms of German noblemen. Every wall inside is literally full of them. When you are a little bit familiar with Baltic history, you'll come across many famous names. The coats of arms were renovated some 10 years ago, but due to the relatively dark inside of the church it may be difficult to read them.
Open daily 9-17
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The alternative name of the Dome Church is the Cathedral of St Mary the Virgin. It is the main Lutheran Church in Tallinn. The original church on the spot was a wooden structure built in 1219. The construction of the first stone built church 1243. The present Gothic exterior dates from the 14th century but the interior was destroyed by a fire in 1684.
The main points of interest in the interior are: the walls which are decorated with shields of important noblemen, the Baroque pulpit, the tomb of Otto Johann Thuve and the organ loft.
Services: Sun 10.00, every 3rd Sunday services in Latvian.
Organ concerts: Sat 12.00
- Historical Travel
- Religious Travel
The years of Soviet occupation saw the Tallinn's churches closed and any observance of religion forced underground. As elsewhere in the Soviet Union, churches were put to a number of secular uses - St Olaf's tall spire was used as a radio mast by the KGB. With the arrival of Independence religious freedom was restored, churches were opened and many items of church regalia and paraphenalia were brought out of hiding. The years of occupation had had their effect however and after an initial resurgence church attendance and affiliation has fallen drastically. Congregations are small and many churches struggle to survive. The Lutheran church has the strongest following, Russian Orthodoxy has a small hold and the seperate Estonian Orthodox Church an even smaller one. Secular as the state and people's lives may be, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Christmas Day and Pentecost are national holidays.
St Mary's Cathedral (known by everyone as the Dome Church) sits high up on Toompea. This is the heart of the Lutheran church in Estonia. The present appearance of the Cathedral is the result of much rebuilding. By repute, a church has stood here since 1219, and it is known that the present building was begun in 1243. Gothic in its appearance, the church's exterior has not changed much over the centuries. The spire is baroque (17th century) and there are several later interior alterations. Memorials to the great and the good of Estonia's history line the walls and today, as in past times, this is where priests are ordained and services are held to mark the important anniversaries of Estonian history.
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The dome church -Cathedral of Saint Mary the Virgi
The Cathedral of Saint Mary the Virgin is the main Lutheran church in Estonia and one of three functioning medieval churches. Church is situated in Higher town (on Toompea Hill)- on square in central part of it.
The present appearance of the Cathedral is the result of much rebuilding. The original temporary wooden church is thought to have been built on Toompea Hill in 1219, and was first mentioned in 1233. The stone church was begun ten years later and was built by Dominican munks. The spire dates to the baroque period, and several chapels, from even later periods.
- Historical Travel
The Dome Church is situated at Toompea hill. The other name for this church is the Cathedral of Saint Mary the Virgin.
The church was built before 1233 and been rebuilt several times.
- Historical Travel
Inside are several tombs; some date back to the13th century. On the walls are numerous nobles' shield epitaphs from the 17th to the 20th centuries.
The fist Dome Church was made of wood in 1219 and 1243 rebuilt of stone. Due to several reconstructions the church has several architectural styles.
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