Valjala – St Martin’s Church


Construction of St. Martin’s church began shortly after the conquest of the surrounding lands by the crusaders in 1227. First, however, it was only a small chapel erected on the site of an earlier hillfort of the heathen Ests. In 1240 it was enlarged to today’s size. In 1343, the building was damaged during the uprising on the Night of St. George. During the later reconstruction, gothic elements were introduced to it, but the tower which construction was then started, probably was not completed, until the 16th / 17th century. At the beginning of the 18th century, the church suffered again during the Great Northern War.


The oldest part of the church consists of a rectangular nave and a narrower and shorter chancel. In the fourteenth century, a polygonal apse was added to it from the east, and a tower, located unusually for the Livonian temples, at the southern wall of the chancel. Probably it was completed only in the early modern period. The west façade of the church is decorated with blendes and a remarkable romanesque portal with wimperg. The side walls of the nave and chancel are pierced with narrow, lancet windows, placed two next to each other. The walls are also reinforced with prominent buttresses. Inside, the most valuable monument is a romanesque, richly decorated baptismal font.

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