John Pettitt holding the “Ryder Cup” 1985


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St. Nicholas’ Church

The church was built in all likelihood' right after 1230 by German merchants who moved to Tallinn from Westphalia. Having settled at the foot of Toompea, they erected a church there to the patron saint of mariners and merchants, Nicholas. The late-Gothic style 13th century church was intended as a warehouse and fortification as well.Thus the tower was added only in the 16th century, though work was begun in the 14th. 51. Barbara and 51. George chapel on the north side and 51. Matthew (later 51. Anthony) on the south side were built in the 14th century. P. A. von Holstein-Beck's mausoleum on the north side dates from the 18th century.


St.Nicholas' Church was heavily damaged by Soviet bombing raids in 1944. The church, restored after the war, was no longer used for services but converted to a museum concert hall where organ and choral concerts were staged. St. Nicholas' not only provides a great concert experience, but a chance to view some of the greater art treasures medieval Tallinn has to offer, such as Lubeck painter Bernt Notke's "Dance of Death~ depicting life's inevitable decline,and fellow Lubecker Hermen Rode's 15th century main altar. The formidable piece depicts scenes from the lives of St. Nicholas and St. Victor. Dance of Death is a rarity, even among European classics: the 7.5-meter fragment is associated with a painting of the same name in Lubeck.

Other treasures: St. Anthony's altar, painted over by Tallinn artist Michael Sittow in the 16th century and Mary's altar painted by an unknown artist from the Low Countries in the 15th century; it is known also by its commissioners as the Blackheads' altar. The "Brussels" altar from the 15th century is also of interest: the Holy Family is depicted on the gilded wooden piece. Plaques on the floor indicate the church's long time use as a place of burial; some, restored, hang on the walls. Walls also feature the coats of arms of prominent Baltic German families.

In the silver chamber of St. Nicholas' is also the church silver, silver belonging to various guilds, and the Blackheads' silver.

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