St. John's Church In Tartu

Tartu, Tartumaa



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Tartu, Tartumaa

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St. John's Church In Tartu / Apraksts

St John's Church was probably built in the first third of the 14th century as a three- nave basilica. The church was damaged in the Russian- Livonian War in the 16th century; lightning has set its spire on fire several times. Some of the church was destroyed in the Great Nordic War in 1708.
In the 30's of the last century, the building was reconstructed in the classicistic style. The central nave got a coved vault ceiling, the windows were made larger, interior walls were replastered, niches with figures inside them were walled up, protruding parts of the figures of pillars were cut off. At the end of the 19th century, people started to restore old buildings throughout Europe. In the same spirit, the external walls of St John's Church were cleaned of limewash, the original shape of the choir windows was restored and new external figures were made of instead of the destroyed ones.
During World War II, the church caught fire. The damage was so extensive that an unknown and rich interior decoration was discovered the beneath the destroyed plaster sheet. There have been over a thousand sculptures in the internal and external walls of the construction. There is no other brick church decorated with so much terracotta plastic in Europe.
There are fifteen figures in the triple arch niches of the fronton which represent Judgement Day. On the facade and two sides of the tower there are other figures since the tower's frieze consisting of quaternion foils with a human head continuing in each quaternor foil on the sides of the longitudinal building as well. There are friezes and niches decorated with sculptures in the interior as well.
However, the western wall, with numerous niches with sculptures and pseudotriforium located above the arcades in the niches of which there are figures sitting on a throne, deserves special attention.
In the eastern wall, above the triumphal arch, there is a large terracotta group: Christ on a cross and Mary and John beneath the cross.

St. John's Church In Tartu / Galerija

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