History Files


Modern Estonia

Gallery: Churches of Harju County

by Peter Kessler, 24 August 2009. Updated 11 July 2010



Part 1: Churches of Harkujärve to Viimsi

Sutlepa Chapel

Sutlepa Chapel (kabel in Estonian) is located within the Eesti Vabaõhumuuseum (Open Air Museum) at Rocca al Mare, on Tallinn's western edge. The chapel opened in 1627. It was enlarged in 1837 with wooden parts from the former Rooslepa Chapel of 1699, and now bears that date above its own doorway. Representative of sacral architecture, being the only seventeenth century wooden chapel of its kind apart from that on Ruhnu Island makes it a rarity.

Charismatic Episcopal Church of St Stephen the Martyr, Harkujärve

The Charismatic Episcopal Church of St Stephen the Martyr (Püha Esimärter Stefanose kirik) occupies land on the edge of the trees at Kiriku tee 2, Harkujärve. The church was built in 1994, to a design by architect Jaak Kuriks, to serve the nearby village of the same name, just a few kilometres outside the western edges of Tallinn, and divided from it by Harku järv (or lake). The church claims to unite the charismatic and the liturgical-sacramental forms of church life.

Rannamõisa Church

Rannamõisa Church (kirik) is Lutheran, and carries no dedication. It sits on the northern side of Klooga mnt, opposite Sõrve tee in Rannamõisa, which is immediately to the west of Harkujärve. A large stretch of forest separates the church from the Baltic Sea to the north. The church was built in 1901 as a chapel of ease to St Michael's Church, Keila, which retained its status as Ranna Chapel. The church was consecrated on 17 July 1905, and gained its own parish in 1937.

Church of St Mary, Naissaare Island

The Church of St Mary (Püha Maarja kirik) is on Naissaare Island, to the north of the coastline at Rannamõisa. The first Lutheran church here was built in 1856, but this was destroyed before the First World War. In 1934 the present wooden building was erected. Dilapidated by the start of the twenty-first century, repair work was well underway by 2009. The church is served by the Swedish St Michael's Lutheran Church in Tallinn, under a Swedish parochial pastor.

Viimsi Baptist Church, Estonia

Viimsi Baptist Church (Viimsi Vabakogudus (Free Church) in Estonian), is an attractive red-roofed double-building which is laid out in the shape of a horseshoe. It is located at Rohuneeme tee 40, Haabneeme, a hamlet immediately north of Viimsi itself, a parish in Harju County (an Estonian parish is roughly the equivalent of an English district council). Almost a seaside town, it is located close to Tallinn Bay, on a peninsula to the north-east of Tallinn.

Viimsi Vabakogudus, Eesti

The church was first built in 1935 when a wooden chapel was erected on the site, designed by the Estonian architect Märt Merivälja (who was also responsible for Massiaru schoolhouse and Sauga Elementary School). The tower was added at the end of the twentieth century, at the same time as general reconstruction work began on the church. Today it has become an attractive building, with a lot of its attraction being added by the graceful new tower housing a single bell.

One photo on this page contributed by Karin Laur, and additional text by Alesja Pozlevitš.

In Depth
In Depth


Images and text copyright © all contributors mentioned on this page. An original feature for the History Files.