St Olav's Church

St Olav's Church
+372 6412241
St Olav's Church
Lai 50

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Editor's review

The most prominent feature of the Tallinn skyline is surely the splendid spire of St Olav's Church. Built sometime in the 13th Century, the Church became the tallest building in the world around 1500 when the steeple was raised to 159m. Several lightning strikes and burnings-down later and the modest height of 123.7m was settled on. Although the Church is widely acknowledged to be named after the Norwegian King Olav II Haraldsson, another legend has it that the gargantuan house of worship was named after a mysterious architect who promised to build the edifice for free - if only the townspeople could guess his name. The architect was just fixing the cross on the steeple, when a certain smart-alec shouted out that it was Olev. The poor man realised that he had forfeited his fee, slipped and fell to his death. Subsequently the Church took its Estonian name 'Oleviste'.

Editor & Tallinn Local


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Dan L. Jonson
United States

Although I am originally from Stockholm, Sweden. I live in the USA (Maryland) since 1979 but look at St Olav's Church as a treasured family church and parish. One of my more recognized (Reval) ancestor was Heinrich VIII von Knorring (1595-1679) that was buried at the church on March 6, 1679. Additionally, many additional ancestors were baptized, confirmed, married and laid to rest at the church.

Heinrich is my 9th Great Grandfather. Given the opportunity I would love to visit Reval and, St Olof's Church especially. Time will tell.


Reply Feb 29th, 2016
Kathy Danielson
United States

Definitely worth the climb, but watch your head at the top. The panoramic view is breath taking even if you are out of breath! You'll take some great photos of the city and landscape! We enjoyed a beautiful choir concert in this place. Lovely people, lovely place.

Reply Apr 14th, 2012
Neil Lewis
United Kingdom

Well worth the challenging 258 steps up! The reward is a breathtaking panoramic view of the city, the historic old town skirted by centuries of newer developments. Start your exploration of Tallinn here.

Reply Oct 31st, 2011
United States

As others have said, you better be in shape to climb the circular stone stairway but in the end worth every ounce of effort. The view was breathtaking to say the least. You see all of old tallinn and into the Baltic sea.

Reply Jul 9th, 2011
Ewa Ulinska

The view is absolutely amazing, you can see the whole city from the top: the Old Town, the harbour, even some far-away districts. However, remember that it's not so easy to get to the top. It's quite exhausting and the steps are steep and narrow, so better grab a hold on something if someone is coming from the opposite direction!

Reply Aug 7th, 2007
Gary Kienast
United States

Climbing to the look-out platform was a challenge at least 10 stories one step at a time, but well worth the effort. The views of the city & harbor are spectacular.

Reply Jun 5th, 2007
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