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Gallery: Churches of Harju County
by Peter Kessler, 11 July 2010. Updated
10 August 2019
Saha Chapel ('kabel' in Estonian)
is close to the hamlet of the same name, immediately east of
Tallinn. The chapel was one of the earliest Christian places of
worship in Estonia - fifty years older than Tallinn itself according
to folklore and founded by Bishop Fulco (Falco). That would put its
construction about 1180, when the Northern Crusade was only just
beginning, and the presence of Christian missionaries in Estonia was
still a rare and dangerous thing to attempt.
The original wooden church was burnt down in
1223. The present chapel was probably built at the same time as
Pirita Convent, around 1436. The construction style is very similar,
making the chapel look like a monastery, although it could also serve
as a stronghold when necessary. The grooves made for bolting beams in
the walls next to the doors confirm this. By 1725 the chapel was in
a poor condition, and remained so until 1968, when its outer shell
was fully restored.
St George's Church (Jüri koguduse
kodulehekülg) lies on the edge of the village of Jüri. The first
church here was Vaskjala Church, built between 1220-1227. It
is claimed as being the first in North Estonia; its exact location
cannot be confirmed. The church is next mentioned in historical
records in 1401, when it was rebuilt on the present site, dedicated
to St George ('Jüri' in Estonian - the reason the village bears that
name). That church was completely demolished in August 1884.
Nothing survived from the historic church, with
only an amateur drawing to show what it looked like. The present
church was erected on the same site by Baron George von Friedrich
Axel Howen in 1884. It was consecrated the following year, on 15
December. The church is neo-Gothic in style, with a tin roof that
was added in 1914. Major repairs were carried out in 1935, 1946,
1957 and 1969. The vaults were added in 1935. The interior colours
are those of the Estonian national flag.
Saue Free Christian Church (Kristlik
vabakirik) nestles in a lightly wooded glade at Tammetõru 2a in Saue,
to the south-west of Tallinn. Since the beginnings of Christianity
in Estonia, the area has fallen under the medieval Rovaniemi
Vomentaga parish, which later became Keila. Sawne (in 1548) or Saue
today, did not have a church of any kind of its own until the
present modernist-style one was built in 1991, as soon as Estonia
had independence from the Soviet Union.
One photo on this page kindly contributed by
Jaan Keinaste via the 'History Files: Churches of Estonia'