Kihelkonna – St Michael’s Church

History

   The church of St. Michael in Kihelkonna was erected around 1250 as a joint venture of the Livonian branch of the Teutonic Order and the Ösel–Wiek bishopric in order to Christianise Estonia. The church was built in a strategic location by the harbor of great importance and on the road connecting western Saarema with the rest of Estonia. Originally the church was designed to have a western tower, but after the rebellion in 1260-1261, when the church was still unfinished, the plans were abandoned. Today’s tower comes only from 1899.

Architecture

   The church was built in the form of a rectangular nave and also a rectangular, but narrower and shorter chancel. Both the nave and the chancel were illuminated by long, narrow, pointed windows. Inside the church there are vaults with ribs fastened with carved bosses and falling on the ancilliary columns going down to the floor. The latter consisted of shafts mounted on wall pilasters.

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