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The Muhu Church is considered one of the most remarkable early-Gothic buildings in Estonia. It belongs to the Estonian Saare-Lääne group of churches. The Pöide, Karja and Muhu churches have been looked upon as an integral style group in the history of churches architecture. The Muhu Church is the oldest among these beautiful structures. It was first mentioned in Hermann von Wartberge's Chronicle dated 1276. The patron saint of the church is St. Catherine from Alexandria. The exterior architecture of the Muhu Church is a strict monumental style and its originality is prominent. The nave and vaults are located at higher plane with the chancel area lower and the apse area is uniquely positioned at the lowest plane < o:p>

The significant details of the exterior include a door in the western position, which has been partially preserved from its original construction in 1617.< o:p>

The sculpted window frames in the pure Gothic style have their origin from the Western European cathedral tradition.< o:p>

The Muhu Church has preserved its original shape. Around 1663, a little wooden steeple was added to the church, but perished together with the roof in 1941. In 1993, during the restoration period an additional roof was constructed on the facade of the church to protect the church bell.< o:p>

The appearance of the interior nave is dominated by two high dome-like vaults. In the chancel area there is an impressive cross vault. A characteristic of the Muhu Church hewn decoration is the absence of human figures and plant motifs, which are so dominating in the Karja and Pöide churches from about the same period. The most precious part of the Muhu Church are fragments of mural paintings in the chancel area which are preserved from the end of the 13th century. The first attempt to clean the several layers of whitewash from the paintings after the Reformation was by Johann Leopold Gahlnbäck in 1913. The main theme of the paintings was connected with the life of Jesus Christ. However, in the chancel area 12 prophets, 12 apostles and angels were added. On the side walls of the nave one can find martyrs, bishops and kings. By now only some fragments of the apostles and angels can be seen. For example, the patriarch Abraham, the Apostle Peter and John the Baptist are slightly recognizable. For the paintings of the nave the absence of a roof after the fire in 1941 was fatal. The state of the chancel area paintings worsened disastrously after removing the whitewashed layers in the beginning of the 1970's. The examples of the mural paintings of the Muhu Church have been sought after on Gotland island, taking into account the same Byzantine influence from the 13th century. There were evident close connections between the Gotland murals and those in the Muhu Church.< o:p>

As for the interior furnishings of the Muhu Church one will find an altar table made of dolomite, which has been preserved from the time of its original construction. Also the stone base of the baptismal basin originates from the Middle Ages.< o:p>

The pulpit is in Renaissance style and was completed on 1627. It is one of the oldest in Saaremaa and was made by Balthasar Raschky. The Classicist altar was created by Nommen Lorentzen in 1827. The altar painting has survived from the original altar and the painting was finished in 1788.< o:p>

In the Muhu Church and churchyard there are worth noting the trapezium-shaped tombstones with pagan symbols found only on the islands and Western Estonia. They have been traced to the 12th and 13th centuries. The most intricate tombstone is presently located in the frame of the door leading to the wall staircase. It is one of the two preserved in Estonia from the 12th-13-th centuries depicting human figures. Through discovering tombstones, bones and some other rare archaelogical finds, the church is thought to have been erected on a sacred site of the ancient Muhu inhabitants.< o:p>

Throughout the wars, which have ravaged Muhu island, the church has suffered greatly. The most severe damage occurred during the Great Northern War in the 18th century. After the fire of 1941, for many decades the church was not in condition to be used. The new roof of the church was completed in 1959. The more extensive restoration began in the spring of 1983, but soon came to a standstill. The work was carried on at the end of the 1980's and the roof was replaced. In the 1990's the restoration process was reborn. With the support of the Bishop of Växjö J. A. Hellström people started initiate donations in Sweden for the Muhu Church.< o:p>






Jumalateenistused toimuvad igal pühapäeval algusega kell 10:00
(kui ei ole teatatud teisiti)


Services in Muhu church is every sunday at 10:00


muhu (at) eelk.ee


01.06-31.08 Is curch open from 10:00 to 18:00