Liiva (Muhu) – St Catherine’s church

History

Church of St. Catherine in Muhu was probably built in the middle of the 13th century, in place of an earlier wooden church. The first written mention of the church dates from 1267. During its history it was damaged many times, including in 1640 and during the Great Northern War at the beginning of the 18th century. In 1941, it was bombed during a German air raid. The roof was destroyed, which was repaired only in 1958. Unfortunately, it caused irreversible damage to wall paintings in the church. After the restoration of independence by Estonia in 1991, an adequate renovation was carried out with considerable financial assistance from Sweden.

Architecture

The church was created in a few phases. First, the stone walls of the nave were erected, then the chancel was added with a small rectangular apse and the porch on the south side. It is a single-nave, aisleless building with high rib vaults. Inside you can see valuable medieval wall paintings created under the Byzantine influence.

Current state

Currently, the church in Muhu, despite the destructions in previous centuries, is one of the most splendid early gothic buildings in Estonia, a beautiful example of medieval architecture, not distorted by subsequent interventions and transformations.

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