St John's Lutheran Church (Jaani kirik in
Estonian) is at Jaani 5, on the eastern side of the street in
central Tartu, Estonia's second city. A wooden church existed on the
site from a point in the second half of the twelfth century, probably
part of the first wave of Christianisation in Dorpat (Tartu). A stone
church was built probably in the first thirty years of the fourteenth
century as a three-nave basilica. It was damaged in the Livonian Wars
which started in 1558.
During the blasting of Tartu in the Great Northern War
in 1708, the upper part of the steeple and the vaults of the central nave
and choir were destroyed. In 1820-1830 the building was reconstructed in
the Classicistic style, with the windows being enlarged. In 1899-1904 the
façade was restored under the supervision of W Bockslaff, but in 1944 the
church burned during the Soviet offensive and remained a ruin until
1989-1997, when it was entirely rebuilt.
Uspensky Orthodox Cathedral (Jumalaema
Uinumise (Uspenski) katedraal) is at Magasini 1, on the eastern side of
the street. On this site, St Mary Magdalene's Church with its
Dominican cloister was founded before 1300. That doubtless fell into decay
following the Lutheran Reformation in 1525. The present church was built in
1783, during the early Classical period. The long priest house adjoining it
on the northern side was rebuilt out of a six-apartment building in 1854-1855.
The Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception of
the Blessed Virgin Mary (Pühima Neitsi Maarja Pärispatuta Saamise kirik)
is at Veski 1a, on the north-west side of the street, overlooking Jakobi
street. Built in the neo-Historical style using red-brick, architect Wilhelm
Schilling began work in 1862 and the completed church was consecrated on
8 December 1899 as the Sinless Virgin Mary's Secret of Faith Church.
It features a vaulted interior and stained glass windows.
The Bishop's Cathedral or Dome Church
(Toomkiriku) is at Lossi 25, in the centre of the heavily wooded Toomemägi
(Dome Hill) park. A stronghold was built here about the sixth or seventh
century, one of the largest constructions in ancient Estonia. In 1224,
German Crusaders destroyed it and erected a bishop's castle in its place.
On the northern end of the site the dome church was built (shown here),
surrounded by a cemetery and houses for the cathedral chapter members.
The bishop's castle and dome church were separated from
the town by a strong wall. Dedicated to St Peter & St Paul, building of
the church probably began in the late 1200s. In 1299, the choir and nave were
in use. The high choir was finished in its current form only in the 1470s,
which is when the large twin towers were also built. During the Livonian Wars
the church was damaged and by 1700 crops and hay were being stored here. In
1806, the choir was rebuilt as a library.
St Luke's Methodist Church (Püha Luuka kirik) is
at Vallikraavi 16a, on the approach to the dome hill. The beginning of
Methodism in Estonia is traditionally dated to 9 June 1907, but this church
is a modern construction. It was designed by Indrek Allmann and built on a
site which once belonged to the well-known professor of surgery, Zoege von
Manteuffel. In 2002 the church won an award for being the best new building
in Tartu. It was consecrated in the same year.
The New Apostolic Church of Estonia
(Uusapostlik Kirik Eestis) is at Veski 40, a quiet suburban
street. The church is set well back, behind a leafy garden. The
Apostolic Orthodox church looks to Constantinople for guidance,
but all its property was lost during the Soviet period. Only
since independence has the church been able to regain a small
part of that property. This building was probably put up at
the start of the 2000s as a much-needed addition.
The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary
(Maarja koguduse maja) is at Õpetaja 5. Sometimes referred to
simply as St Mary's Church, this building was formerly
the church hall. The church itself was built in the neo-Classical
style in 1836-1841 to a design by architect G F W Geist.
Consecrated on 11 January 1842, the stone building was the first
church built for an Estonian congregation (as opposed to a German
or Russian congregation) in Tartu.
Major renovations were undertaken in 1862, and
alterations were made in 1889. The church was badly burned during
the Second World War. Only the walls remained standing. During the
Soviet occupation permission to rebuild it was refused and it was
turned into a university gym. It has remained one ever since. The
parish converted the former church hall into a replacement, but by
2009 there were signs that the old church could once again be
restored for use.