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St. Olav’s Church

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Category Architectural sightseeings, Churches
Location
Lai 50, Kesklinn, Tallinn, Harjumaa, 10133
Coordinates 59.441368, 24.747173
GPS: 59° 26' 29" N, 24° 44' 50" E
Phone (+372) 641 2241
E-mail oleviste@oleviste.ee
Website http://www.oleviste.ee

Once upon a time, from 1549 to 1625 to be precise, this 14th century Gothic church was the tallest building in the World. But it’s gigantic, 159-metre spire, meant as a signpost for approaching ships, also turned out to be a very effective lightning rod. Throughout the church's history lightning hit the spire repeatedly, completely burning down the structure three times.

Nowadays its smaller, 124-metre spire still dwarfs most of Tallinn’s buildings and remains an important symbol of the town. From April to October, visitors can make the vigorous climb to the top of the stone portion of the tower for magnificent and dizzying views of Old Town, Toompea hill and the port area.

The church itself dates back to at least 1267 when it is thought to have served a group of Scandinavian merchants who settled in the area. Various legends insist the church got its name from either the giant or the mysterious stranger who built it, however it was in fact dedicated to King Olaf II of Norway.

Its current shape and size were set in the 16th century. Inside are high, vaulted naves and a historicist interior design that dates to after the 1830 fire.

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