Die St. Michaeliskirche in Wiek – eine Wehrkirche?
AbstractKaur Alttoa: St. Michael’s Church in Läänemaa – A Fortified Church?
Keywords: St. Michael’s Church, Läänemaa, sacral architecture in
Estonia, fortified church, 13. century, middle ages
It has been traditionally claimed that St. Michael’s Church in Läänemaa was built, along with its vaults, in the late 13th century, and that it was a fortified church – the attic above the vaults could be used as a hiding place in case of emergency. Research during the last few years has revealed that the story of the church’s construction includes two longer periods. The original church had a wooden ceiling. The vaults were not added until the Late Middle Ages. A similar support system was also used in the Keila and Jõhvi churches in Northern Estonia. Based thereon, it can be assumed that the reconstruction of St. Michael’s Church occurred around 1500. It has also become clear that it was not a fortified church.
Kaur Alttoa is a long-time scholar and teacher of art history at the University of Tartu as well as one of the foremost specialists of the history of medieval architecture in the Baltic region. His objects of interest have included both medieval fortresses and sacral buildings. Among his major contributions stands out the restoration and study of the St. John’s Church in Tartu, which was also published as a monograph in 2011.