Tallinn Biggest Medieval Building – St Olaf Church Tower
St Olaf Church History
St Olaf’s Church in Tallinn, the city’s biggest medieval structure, took its name from the sainted Norwegian king Olav II Haraldsson. The church was first mentioned in 1267.
It became one of the main churches in the Lower Town and formed its own congregation, which at first mostly comprised Scandinavian merchants and craftsmen and few Estonians.
The evangelical preachings of the then chaplain of the church, Zacharias Hasse, led to the start of the reformation in Tallinn in 1523.
*St Olaf Church tower meant as a signpost for approaching ships also well known for its tallest observatory platform in Tallinn.
St Olaf Church Interior
The gothic steeple of this church, which was completed in the early 16th century, once made the church one of the tallest buildings in the world (soaring to 159 metres, according to some sources).
Historians disagree, however, on the details and interpretation of the measurements, and some even think that the steeple has never been higher than 115–125 meters.
Nevertheless, the church has always been a grand structure, and its 124-meter tower is considered one of the symbols of Tallinn.
*Did you know? Lightning is known to have struck the tower of the church around ten times, three of which led to extensive fires – in 1625, 1820 and 1931
Devastating Church Tower Climbing
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.
We are allowed to climb thru the church old staircase (charge roughly 2-3 euros or free with Tallinn card) to have a fair grasp on the city view!
*The access path to the tower is located at the wooden door, situated at the edge corner of the church.
Frankly, You simply haven’t seen Tallin until you’ve climbed the very narrowed steep spiral staircase of Tallin’s Oleviste Kirik aka St. Olaf Church.
There are 232 (ouch) steep steps leading up to the observation platform and 232 steps (ouch again) for you to go down, so feel free to take your time and rest in between the tower climbing journey! 😉
*This stair challenge was not meant for those hearts fainted person, unless you are so eager to find out the scenic view awaits on the rooftop.
Spectacular Church Tower View
Finally, 360-degree spectacular views of some of the most beautiful areas of Tallinn town, including the harbor and sea view.
Best scenic view while on top with gentle wind blow on the face occasionally, The Tallink Silja Cruise still can be seen clearly afar from here! 😉
Walking by foot
- Airport – 4.5KM
- Harbour – 2.5KM
- Train Station – 0.75KM
- Bus Station – 1.30KM
Address: Lai Tn 50, Old Town, Tallinn.
Contact: +372 641 2241
Open Hours: 10.00 am – 08.00 pm (Mon-Sun)