Narva, Ida-Virumaa Send e-mail
St. Alexander's Lutheran Church In Narva / DescriptionThe Alexander church is one of the most unique sacral buildings found in Estonia. Although only ruins remain, from the original building, they still reflect the church’s majesty and magnificence. The renovation of the church has been started.
At the end of the 19th century the population of Narva grew rapidly; as, it was one of the most important textile industrial centers. The town belonged to the St. Petersburg province during these years. Estonians were the only nation without their own church – the Germans, Russians, Finns and Swedes all had one. The Estonian congregation rented rooms from the St Michael church of the Finnish congregation and St John’s Church of the Germans.
As the number of Estonians grew the building of two churches was initiated simultaneously. In 1881 the construction work started on Alexander church and in 1884 on Peter’s church.
The nearby estate owner, George von Cramer, donated a plot for the church. The design is by Otto Pius Hippius – a St Petersburg architect of German origin. He is the designer of the Kaarli church in Tallinn and the Sangaste manor. The church features an unusual octagonal body topped by a grand dome that has a diameter of more than 20 meters. A vestibule was on the western side of the church together with a nearly 60-meter octagonal tower. The vestry is on the eastern side. Several exterior features follow the Neo Roman examples. On the six sides (excluding eastern and western) balconies were built onto the walls. The wooden carved paneling covering the balconies is still present.
The church hall seated 2500 and as many as 5000 people could fit inside. The benches were built in a semicircle; so that, the minister was well visible from all the seats. An oakwood altar and pulpit were ornamented with carvings, and the choir was decorated with three altar paintings. The local manufacturing company, Kreenholm, covered the building expenses.
In the Second World War, the church was hit by bomb, and the German troops blew up the tower. The church continued working in these poor conditions until 1962; when, the building was converted into storage. The good side of this decision was that some minor maintenance works were continued, and it saved the church from completely perishing. The first attempts to restore the church were made in the 1970s, but the plans were never realized. Presently the renovation works in the Narva Alexander Church are in progress.
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