Nõo – St Lawrence’s Church


   The church of St. Lawrence in Nõo was mentioned for the first time in sources in 1319, and was erected in the 13th century. The document from 1432 indicates that it belonged at the time to the chapter of the cathedral in Tartu. In the sixteenth century, when Catholic Poles prevailed here, the church was a pilgrimage center. In 1819, a wooden turret was added over the nave, and around 1870 side galleries inside the temple.


   The church is a hall, three-aisle building with a rectangular nave and a square chancel. An interesting solution is vaulting over the chancel in the form of a dome covered in decorative ribs, which suggests influences from Rhineland and Westphalia. The vault comes from 1250 or 1260, and a nave was also vaulted a decade later. As the church also had defensive functions, a staircase was placed in the western wall of the church, which was coming to a hard-to-reach shelter in the attic above the vaults.

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