St. Olav's Church (Oleviste Kirik), Tallinn

St. Olav's Church (Oleviste Kirik), Tallinn (must see)

St. Olav’s Church is one of the oldest churches in the city of Tallinn, Estonia. It was built sometime during the 1100s, and has been the center for religious life for the Scandinavian community of the city since. Many of the people that attend here can trace their heritage back to when Denmark conquered Tallinn in 1219. The church is dedicated to King Olaf II of Norway though. The oldest surviving records that refer to the church are from 1267.

On a different note, there is also an old legend that the builder of the church, who was also named Olaf, fell to his death from the towers of the church, so that adds some mystery to this place. There is a painting depicting the event in the Chapel.

Sadly, the building was damaged during the 1300s, and had to be heavily rebuilt. In the 1500s, the tower of the chapel was raised to 159 meters in the air. It has been struck by lightning many times, but really has a utilitarian function: it is a seaside landmark for naval vessels. From 1549 until 1625, when the tower was burned from a lightning strike, it was the tallest structure in the known world.

During the Soviet era, and until 1991, the KGB used the church’s spire as a radio tower and surveillance point. Since that time, the building now houses a Baptist church.

The tower's viewing platform offers tourists one of the best views of Tallinn, and is open to the public from April through November of each year. It is closed during the winter months due to weather.

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Tallinn, Estonia within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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St. Olav's Church (Oleviste Kirik) on Map

Sight Name: St. Olav's Church (Oleviste Kirik)
Sight Location: Tallinn, Estonia
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) containing this sight: City Orientation Walk   Religious Buildings of Tallinn  

Walking Tours in Tallinn, Estonia

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Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
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Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 km
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