John Pettitt holding the “Ryder Cup” 1985


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The Dome Church


The early 13th century Dome Church is the crown jewel of Toompea. A wooden church was erected here after the Danes conquered Tallinn in 1219. lt is believed the stone church was begun after the Dominicans arrived in 1229. They were forced to leave due to political intrigue; the sectarian church was turned into a Dome Church and consecrated to the Virgin Mary by Valdemar II in 1240. In the 14th century, the modest structure was expanded.ln the 15th century, the church became a Gothic basilica, which received a baroque tower in the 18th century.

The interior is simple and spare and typical of northern European churches. Heavily damaged in the 1684 Toompea fire, today it contains an outstanding collection of heraldry, mainly from Baltic German nobles, including more than 100 wooden coats of arms.

Partly the work of celebrated 17th century artisan Christian Ackermann, the shields bear witness to Baltic German history in Estonia.The Dome Church was the head church of the Estonian knights.

Since the church was a place of burial until 1772, one can see intriguing plaques and memorials here:of special interest are the Renaissance-style monument to Swedish commander Pontus de la Gardie and his wife (1595, Arent Passer).The sarcophagus lids for Carl Horn and his wife and Otto von Uexkyll are also the work of stonemason Arent Passer. The gravestones of admiral Samuel Greigh (1788, G. Quarenghi) and Estonian-born mariner Johann von Krusenstern (J. G. Exner, 1848) are also of interest.

Krusenstern circumnavigated the world from 1803-1806 as an admiral in the Russian navy.The pulpits and the altar primarily cut from willow (1694-1696) are the work of Christian Ackermann.The altar painting was done by the artist von Gebhardt in 1881. The choir room walls support family seating boxes from the 18th century. The Dome Church is an operational evangelical Lutheran church.

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