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SAINT JOHN'S OF TARTU COMPLEX

Conserving medieval terracotta for one of Estonia’s most important monuments

SAINT JOHN
Tartu, Estonia
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BACKGROUND

St. John’s Church, known locally as Jaani kirik, is located in Tartu, Estonia’s second-largest city, and dates from the fourteenth century. The building is a three-aisled basilica with a single west tower, an elongated choir, and a polygonal apse. In the absence of locally available stone, St. (...)

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HOW WE HELPED

In 1997 and 1998, WMF supported the conservation of the surviving terracotta blocks that used to mark the springing line on each of the four square piers of the north nave arcade. The blocks, some in pieces, had been salvaged after the arcade collapsed in 1952. They needed treatment before they could be incorporated in the reconstructed arcade. (...)

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WHY IT MATTERS

St. John’s is one of Estonia’s most significant monuments, and perhaps no other medieval building in Europe could match its terracotta decoration in extent or quality. After its restoration, the church was returned to the Lutheran congregation that had disbanded during the Soviet era. (...)