Standing in the heart of Tallinn, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a magnificent building. It is the main Russian Orthodox cathedral in Estonia, and even if you are not religious, this beautiful building will leave you in awe. Aristocratic architecture and wonderful interior really make you feel closer to God. Step in, buy a small candle and light it in memory of your loved ones or just enjoy the peace and quiet only a cathedral can offer.
The cathedral was built in the year 1900 when Estonia was a part of the Russian Czardom. It was supposed to represent Russia's hegemony over the belligerent Baltic states that refused to surrender. Cathedral, dedicated to Duke Alexander Nevsky of Novgorod, was built in front of Toompea Castle, where was supposed to stand a statue of Martin Luther. It was to show the Lutherans who is in charge. When Estonia became free, it was of course discussed several times that Alexander Nevsky cathedral should be destroyed. For many, it was sadly a symbol of the Russian occupation, and many said at that time that the “onion” golden domes that are popular in Russian architecture, didn’t fit Tallinn's Hanseatic League architecture. But since there are many Orthodox Christians in Estonia, who protested against destroying it, the cathedral remains there until this day.
Now the disagreements have been settled, and this magnificent cathedral stands proud on the hill of Toompea. When you enter the cathedral, you will be amazed by its interior. It is full of mosaics and icons. In the towers, there is Tallinn’s most powerful church bell that weights 15 tons. So, no wonder that this cathedral is the most photographed tourism object in Estonia. In front of the Alexander Nevsky cathedral stands Toompea Castle with the Parliament of Estonia, where all the big decisions concerning our country are made.
Just next to these grand buildings, there is a smaller one that is regarded as the dumbest thing Estonians had ever spent their money on – a toilet that cost two million krooni at the time when an average Estonian earned 6000 krooni per month. This expensive toilet, of course, caused a lot of controversies, and people were raging mad. Our mayor of that time said that this toilet is a building that will last for 1000 years and even compared it to churches of Tallinn, suggesting that it will be an important landmark! Well, it’s a toilet like any other, and you can visit it for 20 cents.
If you are visiting Tallinn, don’t forget to step in the picturesque church of Alexander Nevsky, that is the most magnificent cathedral in the heart of Tallinn.
Did you like the travel story?
Get more! Subscribe to our monthly inspiration newsletter.