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Gallery: Churches of Harju County
by Peter Kessler, 11 July 2010
Part 10: Churches of Harju-Jaani, Aegviidu &
St John the Baptist Church (Ristija
Johannese kirik in Estonian) is at Tallinna mnt 50, just on the edge
of the village of Harju-Jaani in eastern Harjumaa. The first church
built here was opened probably in the thirteenth century, or early
fourteenth century. Unfortunately, this church was dismantled in the
mid-nineteenth century to make way for a completely new building,
and its architecture and history were not properly documented
The present church was built in 1860-1863 and
opened on 13 October 1863. The building, an eclectic mix of neo-Gothic
and neo-Romanesque styles, was design by architect Friedrich Wilhelm Alisch
and built just a short way from the old church. Donations towards the work
came from local landlords and communities. Initially single-aisled with
wooden ceilings, almost immediately it was converted to three aisles with
six pairs of wooden pillars to strengthen the ceiling.
St Alexander's Church (Aegviidu Aleksandri
kirik) is at Sinika 8, in Aegviidu, behind the shops and houses on the
main road and completely hidden. The church also overlooks the railway
on its northern side. The original wooden church here (see below) was
consecrated on 6 December 1896, just a year after it was built. The
church was donated by the landlord of Lehtse manor, Friedrich von
Hoyningen-Huene. It was also known as Aegviidu Metsa Kabel (forest chapel).
In 1940, the present brick tower was attached to
the front of what was a very ornate and historically important
wooden church. The neighbouring railway station suffered bomb damage
in March 1944 and the church, also damaged, needed repair work.
Instead, it seems the entire wooden exterior was replaced by
brickwork, as was the rose window, and the twin Gothic needle towers
either side of the entrance were lost. The modern church gained its
own parish in 1992.
St Laurence's Church (Laurentsiuse kirik)
is at Kuusalu tee 27, in the small town of Kuusalu, just off the main
Tallinn-Narva highway. The church was built at the end of the thirteenth
century, but despite being one of the oldest in northern Estonia, it
probably remained uncompleted. The stone stairway in the wall was
built but the vaults were not, and neither was the tower. The vaults
were laid down in the fifteenth century but were damaged in the
Great Northern War.
The church gained its present Baroque appearance
at the same time as the tower and spire were built in 1760. In
1889-1890 the church was rebuilt again, now in the neo-Gothic style,
and with an extended nave. The work was carried out by Friedrich
Axel von Howen. The church possesses a Renaissance-styled pulpit,
Baroque carved figures of Moses and St John the Baptist (by Elert
Thiele, from the 1660s), and stained-glass pictures of Luther and