Kaarma Kirikuküla – church of St Peter and St Paul


   Church of St. Peter and Paul in Kaarma was built in 1260 in the style of early gothic, with a few romanesque details. It was partly rebuilt in the Middle Ages, partly due to its location on unstable ground. In the fifteenth century, a tower was added, and the interior was separated into two aisles and vaults were installed. The sacristy was also raised to the additional floor. The church was probably the first sacral building with a tower on the island of Saaremaa.


   The church is a typical example of temples that were built in the bishopric of Ösel–Wiek, with a simple nave and a short, narrower chancel ended by a straight wall. From the fifteenth century, the building was enriched with a tower on the west side and the vault of the nave and choir. The aisleless structure was then transformed into a two-aisle building. A peculiarity is a room with a fireplace built over the sacristy on the north side. Originally it could serve as a shelter, but later it probably served pilgrims coming from nearby Gotland. The small windows of the sacristy refer to the romanesque period, unlike the larger lancet windows of the nave. This indicates that sacristy is one of the oldest, next to the walls of the nave, elements of the church.
Inside the temple, medieval frescos, a baptismal font from the 13th century and a sculpture of St. Simon from Cyrene from the mid-15th century, have been preserved. In addition, the pillars of the church are decorated with stone sculptures from the 15th century, representing a simple and suggestive style, derived from the influence of the abbey of Padise and the Dominican monastery in Tallinn.

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