Eastern and Central Europe (Eyewitness Travel Guides)

(Ben Green) #1


Dominiiklaste klooster

Vene 16/18. Map D3. Tel 515

  1. @ 5, 40. v 1, 2, 3, 4.

    May–Sep: 10am–6pm daily.

    Private tours are available year
    round. & 8 tour offered to the
    monastery’s inner chambers through
    the cloister. = Dominican
    Monastery Museum # mid-May
    –mid-Sep: 10am–6pm daily. &

Founded by Dominican
monks in 1246, this monas-
tery was a renowned centre
of learning and thrived until
the Reformation riots broke
out in 1524. The Lutherans
destroyed the monastery and
forced the monks into exile.
In 1531, a fire damaged
most of the desecrated St
Catherine’s Church, the
monastery’s south wing.
After suffering neglect for
four centuries, the ruined
monastery was renovated in

  1. Today a serene cloister,
    its atmospheric passageways
    and a pretty inner garden
    draw visitors.
    The star attraction, however,
    is the excellent Dominican
    Monastery Museum, with
    Estonia’s largest collection of
    medieval and Renaissance
    stone carvings created by
    local stonemasons. One of the
    prominent works, a deco-
    rative relief of an angel on a
    triangular slab, is attributed to
    Hans von Aken, the popular
    16th-century German
    Mannerist painter. The col-
    lection also includes carved
    14th-century tomb stones.

A passageway in the medieval
Dominican Monastery

Niguliste Church^5
Niguliste kirik

Niguliste 3. Map C4. Tel 631

  1. @ 5, 40. # 10am–5pm
    Wed–Fri. & tickets available until
    4:30pm (call 644 9903 for bookings).
    8 book in advance; extra charges
    for guided tours (up to 35 persons) in
    a foreign language. http://www.ekm.ee

Dedicated to St Nicholas,
Niguliste Church was built
in the 13th century, although
nearly all that remains today
is from the 15th century.
Most of Tallinn’s medieval
artworks were destroyed in
the Reformation riots of 1524.
However, according to legend,
Niguliste Church escaped
being ransacked due to the
laudable efforts of the church
warden, who sealed the door
with melted lead. The church
was restored during Soviet
times after being damaged by
Soviet air raids in World War II
and since then has served
as a museum.
Today, the building houses
Tallinn’s most impres sive col-
lection of medi eval religious
artworks. These include the
detailed altarpiece, painted in
1482 by Herman Rode of
Lübeck, showing scenes from
the life of St Nicholas, as well
as the beheading of St George,
and Dance Macabre, a 15th-
century frieze by the German
painter and sculptor Bernt
Notke, considered the church’s
finest object. Unfortunately
only a fragment of the

Exterior of Niguliste Church, one of
Tallinn’s medieval treasures

Ornate front door of the Renaissance
House of Blackheads

House of
Mustpeade maja

Pikk 26. Map D3. Tel 631 3199.
@ 5, 40. v 1, 2, 3, 4. # only for
chamber music concerts (call for
timings) or by appointment.

This 15th-century Renaissance
building was the meeting
place of the Brotherhood of
Blackheads, an association
of unmarried merchants and
shipowners, who could join
the more powerful Great
Guild upon marriage. The
unusual name was inspired by
the North African St Maurice,
the organization’s patron
saint, whose image can be
seen on the ornate front door
of the building.
Unlike their counterparts in
Rīga, the Tallinn Blackheads
were obliged to defend the
city in times of strife and
proved themselves especially
formidable adversaries during
the Livonian Wars (see p96).
However, in general, it seems
that the wealthy Blackheads
lived somewhat leisurely and
hedonistic lives. The associa-
tion survived until the Soviet
invasion in 1940. Today, the
House of Blackheads regularly
hosts chamber music concerts
in its elegant main hall.

magnificent 30-m (98-ft)
original remains. Organ and
choral concerts are regularly
held here at weekends.
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