St. John's Church, Tartu
|St. John's Church, Tartu|
St. John's Church
|Denomination||Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church|
St. John's Church, Tartu (Estonian: Jaani kirik) is a Brick Gothic Lutheran church, one of the landmarks of the city of Tartu, Estonia. It is dedicated to Saint John the Evangelist, a disciple of Jesus Christ and author of the fourth Christian Gospel.
Initially, St John's was a Catholic church, as the eldest parts of the current building originate from the 14th century. Before that, there has been a church building on the same place at least since the first half of the 13th century. Archaeological investigations have indicated that there may well have been a wooden church here in the 12th century. This is particularly remarkable because the national Christianisation did not take place until much later. The red brick building has seen extensive changes, as it was largely rebuilt after both the Great Northern War and World War II. Baroque chapels were added in 1746 and 1769. The church is now part of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church.
The most outstanding feature of St. John's is its wealth of terracotta figurines surrounding the church's exterior. Originally, there were more than a thousand hand-made figurines, each different from the others; now, about 200 have survived. The large number of individual figurines has given birth to the hypotheses that they might have been modelled after citizens of Tartu; on the other hand, some of them wear crowns, which hints they might depict someone else.
Media related to St. John's Church, Tartu at Wikimedia Commons
- Church website (in English).