Kihelkonna St. Michael's Church

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Kihelkonna St. Michael's Church
Kihelkonna St. Michael's Church is located in Estonia
Kihelkonna St. Michael's Church
Kihelkonna St. Michael's Church
58°21′36″N 22°02′08″E / 58.36000°N 22.03556°E / 58.36000; 22.03556
Country Estonia
Denomination Lutheran
History
Founded c. 1250 (c. 1250)
Founder(s) Livonian Order
Bishopric of Ösel-Wiek
Architecture
Style Gothic

Kihelkonna St. Michael's Church, (Estonian: Kihelkonna Mihkli kirik) sometimes simply Kihelkonna Church, is a medieval Lutheran church on Saaremaa island in western Estonia.

History[edit]

The church was founded sometime around 1250 as a joint undertaking by both the Livonian Order and the Bishopric of Ösel-Wiek as a part of crusader efforts to Christianise Estonia. The church was built at a strategic location, by a harbour of some importance and at a road connecting western Saaremaa with the rest of Estonia. Originally, the church was designed to have a western tower but after a rebellion in 1260-1261, at which time the church was still unfinished, the plans were scrapped. The present-day tower only dates from 1899. Apart from the tower, the building of the church finished sometime in the later 1260s.[1][2]

Architecture[edit]

Of the original medieval furnishing, very little remains. The interior is dominated by high, white-washed vaults. The altarpiece dates from 1591, and depicts the last supper. In addition, the church has a fine organ and a carved epitaph dating from 1650 by local master carved Balthasar Raschky.[2]

The exterior of the church is today dominated by the neo-Gothic tower, but the church also has an external bell-tower, dating from 1638. Such free-standing belfries were once quite popular in Estonia, but today the one at Kihelkonna church is the only one surviving.[1][2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Viirand, Tiiu (2004). Estonia. Cultural Tourism. Kunst Publishers. pp. 174–175. ISBN 9949407184. 
  2. ^ a b c "Kihelkonna Church". Saaremaa Museum. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 

External links[edit]