St. Catherine's Lutheran Church In Karja




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St. Catherine's Lutheran Church In Karja / Beskrivning

The smallest church in Saaremaa is the medieval Karja church, dedicated to St.Catherine and St. Nicholas. Although small, it is the most beautiful of the churches in Saaremaa. The architectural design of the church is extremely simple: a two bayed nave, a choir and a vestry. It is the sculptural decor that makes the church a real jewel. Its portals, bosses and vaulting supports are decorated with superb High Gothic stone decor.
Such rich ornamentation and artistic quality cannot be found anywhere else in Estonian limestone architecture. They display both naturalistic plant motifs and scenes with figures. Both, the origin of the forms of the church and its exact date of construction remain obscure. The construction was probably undertaken at the end of the l3th century or the beginning of the l4th century. As well as the builders who were working in Muhu, other masters also worked here and introduced new artistic forms into Estonia. They probably came here from Germany (some via Sweden), but the source of the new forms lies even further away - in France.
An unusual feature of Karja church is a room with a fireplace, which has been built above the vestry. There is another fireplace in the loft. It was probably here that pilgrims broke their journey (via Scandinavia and Gotland) to Old Livonia. This function of the church might also explain its rich decoration. The choir is adorned with murals, which date back to the time when the church was built. There is also a medieval baptismal font (l4th century) and a small altar crucifix (late l5th century). B. Raschky made the Renaissance pulpit in 1638.

St. Catherine's Lutheran Church In Karja / Galleria

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