History Files


Modern Estonia

Gallery: Churches of Tartu County

by Peter Kessler, 7 November 2010



Part 3: Churches of Tartu

Salem Baptist Church

Salem Baptist Church (Salemi baptistikoguduse kirik in Estonian) is at Kalevi 76, on the north-east corner with Sõpruse puiestee. It was the first new Baptist church to be built in Tartu since the Second World War, and is one of only two Baptist churches in the city (the other being Calvary Baptist Church). Construction began in 1992, to a design by architect Mary Nummert. The church hall was opened for worship in 2000, and the unique tower was erected in 2004.

Jehovah's Witnesses

Jehovah's Witnesses (Jehoova Tunnistajate Tartu kogudus) is at Ihaste tee, behind a large grocery chain store. The area lies on the eastern side of the Emajõgi, the river which runs through Tartu, and is a short walk from the city centre. The building is new, built in a very short space of time at a point between 2008-2009. As with most modern Jehovah's Witnesses buildings, there seems to be a relatively small number of windows set high up to ensure privacy.

Old Believers Prayer House

Old Believers Prayer House (Vanausuliste palvemaja) is at Põik 10. The Dorpat Old Believers founded their community in 1740. They had a small wooden worship house by 1846, but it was closed by the Russian authorities when the community was ordered to worship at home. In 1862, with Russia distracted, the present wooden worship house was built, without a bell tower and any specific distinctions. The plot was donated by the widow of Anastasi Korablyov.

Orthodox Church of St George the Martyr

The Orthodox Church of St George the Martyr (Jüri kiriku ümbrus) is on the eastern side of Narva maantee, opposite the roundabout and Ujula street, on the eastern side of the river. Construction of the church and its consecration took place in 1870. The building work may have begun as early as 1845, when the congregation was formalised, and the church was perhaps re-built at some point. The architecture is typical of Orthodox churches of the late eighteenth century.

St Peter's Church

St Peter's Church (Peetri kirik) stands on the north-west corner of Narva maantee and Staadioni, just a little further up the hill from St George's Orthodox Church (see above). The congregation was formalised in 1869 while the church building was consecrated in 1884, despite being only half-finished. The church was finally completed in 1903, when the freshly finished fifty-five metre (yards) principle tower and the four smaller corner towers were consecrated.

St Peter's Church

The imposing pseudo-Gothic building was built to a design by the talented E Schröder, while the location selected for it was symbolic of the time of the Estonian awakening - the first general Estonian song festival of 1869 took place opposite, and the site is marked today. The Lutheran church also features a twenty-two register organ and beautiful altar paintings (including the 'Dying Christ' by J Köler), while the two church bells were cast in Gatsina near St Petersburg.

In Depth
In Depth


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