St. Martin's Church at ValjalaThe Sonorous Sounds of the Organs of Saaremaa 2005 - 2015
Dating back to 1227, this is the oldest mediaeval rural church in Estonia and the first stone church in the country. It was built on what used to be an ancient pre-Christian worship and burial site, near a fortress. The church has also served as a defensive structure. The 17th-century tower is the most recent addition; the walls were made using 13th-century tombstones. The wall paintings date back to the construction of the church. The 13th-century baptismal font, with rich late Roman decor is a true treasure, considered to be one of the most unique pieces of hewn stone in the Baltic States. Valjala church combines the Roman and Gothic styles.
The organ was built by Gustav Normann and it has one bank, a pedal and 8 speaking stops. back
St. Catherine's Church at KarjaThe Sonorous Sounds of the Organs of Saaremaa 2005 - 2015
This church was built at the end of the 13th/ beginning of the 14th century. Thanks to its well-preserved architecture and abundant decorations, St Catherine's is unique both in the Baltic states and Northern Europe.
The patron saints of the church are Catherine, who died a martyr, and St Nicholas, the patron saint of seafarers. The baptismal font dates back to the 14th century and the small altar crucifix to the 15th century. Magic signs have been painted on the ceiling: the pentagram chases away evil spirits; the triskelion symbolizes trinity and the flow of time, and the peeping devil (a face between spread legs) drives away evil. Above the altar there is St Mary's star, a symbol of good luck. Above the southern entrance hall door there is a unique hewn relief, Golgotha.
The pseudo-Gothic organ is on the balcony above the main portal. It has one bank and 7 speaking stops. It was made by Gustav Normann in Tallinn, in 1882.
St. Peter and St. Paul Church at KaarmaThe Sonorous Sounds of the Organs of Saaremaa 2007-2015
Kaarma church (13th c.). is dedicated to St Peter and St Paul. At first it was a single-aisle church without a tower but with bell balconies. The tower was added in the first half of the 15th century when it was the first on the island. After the collapse of the arches of the main building the vestry was extended with a second floor that includes a big fireplace. It may be that pilgrims stayed overnight on the new floor that was connected with the old one by a staircase in the wall. The church combines late Roman and early Gothic elements. The walls of the choir carry the remains of murals dating from different periods. The most remarkable pieces are the baptismal font (13th c.), a wooden sculpture of Joseph (1450), the cupboard altar whose sculptures depict doomsday (1547), the Renaissance pulpit (1645), a Baroque epitaph (above the Northern portal), two hewn epitaphs and two epitaphs with coats-of-arms (17th c). The organ was made by the Kriisa brothers in 1907; 12 registers, 2 manuals and a pedal
St. Michael's Church at KihelkonnaThe Sonorous Sounds of the Organs of Saaremaa 2008
St Michael's dates back to 1260. The choir is the oldest part of the church and it may have been completed before 1254. The vaults were probably decorated with paintings.The separate belfry (1638) is unique in Estonia. The church tower was built in 1899.The relief on the tower fascade depicts the church's patron saint, Archangel Michael fighting a dragon, i.e. Satan. The altar wall (1591) with its "Last Supper" is one of the oldest in Estonia. The pulpit is Saaremaa's oldest (1604). The large baptismal bowl is even older. The stained glass windows (1980) were created by D.Hoffmann and B.Morejev. Johann Andreas Stein made the organ in 1805. The organ was reconstructed by F.W.Weissenborn in 1890.
The organ has 2 manuals, 18 registers (stops) and a pedalboard. back
Anna's Church at MustjalaThe Sonorous Sounds of the Organs of Saaremaa 2006-2015
Built between 1861 and 1863, this church replaced a chapel completed in 1605 and commissioned by the wife of the Danish governor, Anna Schestädt, after whom the church is named. Mustjala church is the work of the Russian architect D. Grimm and is a noteworthy example of the historicist-eclectic style. It has one nave and its design features both Roman and Gothic motifs. The altar and the pulpit are pseudo-Gothic in style. The altar painting shows Christ on the Cross (1938). The high spire was an important landmark for sailors although, due to lack of funds, it never reached the height originally intended. The organ was built in the workshop of Gustav Terkmann in 1903. It has one bank and 8 speaking stops.
St. Jakob's Church at PühaThe Sonorous Sounds of the Organs of Saaremaa 2012
The church of St Jacob one of Saaremaa’s seven remaining medieval churches, with its oldest structures dating back to the second half of the 13th century. In the 15th century a steeple was added to the church. In 1576, during the Livonian War, the church was set ablaze by Russian troops. Small art fragments dating back to the post-Livonian War period have been found on the southern walls of the church and these are unique in Estonia. On the capitals under the balcony are preserved leaf and lion figures, which are also rare to find in medieval interior design. The wall staircase leads to the top of the vestry’s vault, which was equipped with slit windows and a fireplace, and was used as sleeping quarters for pilgrims and a place of refuge during danger.Valuable interior decorations include the pulpit, dating back to 1793, and the altar wall with rococo elements, constructed by the Kuressaare master Gottfried Böhme. A later addition is the painting “Ascension of the Christ”, which according to local lore was painted by Ludwig von Sass, the tenant of Ilpla manor. The door of the vestry room is from 1896.
The organ has one bank and 7 speaking stops and was built by an unknown master in the beginning of the 19th cenury.
Trinity Church at JämajaThe Sonorous Sounds of the Organs of Saaremaa 2005
This was probably already founded in the 13th century. The mediaeval wooden church perished in a fire and the stone church that was built in its place collapsed during a New Year's Eve service. The present church was restored in 1864, using the original foundation, and is historicist in style. The Save me, My Lord the-me of the altar painting was preferable in churches where one could hear the sea from the windows. The Renaissance pulpit (17th century), the hewn epitaph with the crucifix and the late mediaeval hewn relief St Mary's annunciation have come from the old church. Currently the church is equipped with an electrical organ.back
St. Lawrence Church in Kuressaare
The Sonorous Sounds of the Organs of Saaremaa 2014, 2015
In 1630 at the current location, there was probably a simple church with a rectangular ground plan. The walls of the original church form the present nave part. Although destroyed in a fire during the Northern War (in 1710), the church was restored and a choir room was added. The church saw extensive damage again in 1828, when a fire caused by lightning broke out. The present form of the church dates to 1836, when it was reconstructed under architect Heinrich Löwener. Of note is the western tower's classical style needle spire. The classical style interior is surrounded from three sides by balconies, which are supported by monolithic dolomite columns. The altar painting is the work of Carl S. Walther (1783-1866), a highly rated artist of the period.The decorations of Anseküla church's medieval baptismal font, stored at Kuressaare' St Lawrence church, refer to its Gotland origin. The baptismal font is decorated with two rows of spirits and creatures, and the font probably dates back to the early 15th century. In 2003, the church saw the addition of stained glass windows by Urmo Raus. The Sauer organ dates to 1891, although currently only the body and metal pipes have remained.
The organ was restored in 2014 by the Estonian organ master Hardo Kriisa, and it includes 2 manuals, a pedal, and 28 speaking stops.t.
St Mary Magdalene’s Lutheran Church in KärlaThe Sonorous Sounds of the Organs of Saaremaa 2015
The medieval Kärla church was built at the beginning of the 14th century. In 1556 the church suffered serious damage from a fire and in 1842 it was demolished due to the risk of collapse. A new limestone church, designed by architect E. Leuner, was completed by 1843. The church was reconstructed in its present classicist style. The building consists of a single nave with no choir area. The three-part western facade has a mezzanino, and as a later addition, a neo-Gothic quadrangular tower with a tented roof. The church had originally a high steeple, but in 1940 it was demolished because it disrupted the landing of Soviet airplanes. Kärla church houses one of Estonia's most beautiful Renaissance-style wooden sculptures: the epitaph of Paadla's landlord Otto von Buxhoevden (dating back to 1591). The soft-sounding organ was built in 1848 by Ernst Carl Kessler, although only the prospect of the organ and some organ pipes have survived. The organ was re-built by August Terkmann in 1933. In 1935 the organ received a register of bells, making it unique at the time in Saaremaa.
The organ has two manuals, a pedal and eight speaking stops.