Dome Church - uVisitRussia

Dome Church

The medieval church that stands at the centre of Toompea hill is one of the country's most fascinating historic attractions.

Established sometime before 1233 and repeatedly rebuilt since, the church displays a mix of architectural styles. Its vaulted main body dates to the 14th century, while its Baroque tower was an addition from the late 1770s.

Historically this was the church of Estonia's elite German nobles, a fact that becomes clear once you step through the doors. The interior is filled with elaborate funereal coats of arms from the 17th to the 20th centuries as well as burial stones from the 13th to the 18th centuries. Among the notables buried here are Pontus de la Gardie, who commanded Swedish forces during the Great Northern War, Adam Johann von Krusenstern, the Baltic-German admiral who led Russia's first expedition around the world, and Scottish-born Admiral Samuel Greig of Fife, rumoured to be Catherine the Great's lover.

Christian Ackermann, one of the most skilful and renowned woodcarvers in 17th - 18th century, made the pulpit (1686) and the altar (1694-1696).

Just inside the main entrance you'll find a large stone slab which reads, "Otto Johann Thuve, landlord of Edise, Vääna and Koonu Ehis grave, 1696 A.D." Thuve, now sometimes referred to as "Tallinn's Don Juan", was an incurable drinker and womaniser. As he lay dying, he asked to be buried here at the threshold of the church so that God-fearing people, as they kneel to pray upon entering, might eventually cleanse his soul.

In addition to seeing the church's amazing interior, visitors can opt to climb the 69-metre, Baroque bell- tower for amazing views of the city.