Attractions & museums
Photo: Kadi-Liis Koppel
Photo: Merlen Aringo

    St. John’s Church

    The bright yellow, neo-Gothic church that dominates Freedom Square is a true survivor among the city's churches.

    Despite two attempts to tear it down in the last century, it has persevered and is likely to be around for a long time to come.

    The idea for St. John's church first came about in the mid-19th century when the city's growing population of ethnic Estonians made the Holy Spirit Church too small for its congregation. A new church, which at the pastor's suggestion was named for St. John the Evangelist, was founded.

    Construction lasted from 1862 to 1867, and was carried out under the supervision of the church's designer, Tallinn-born architect Christoph August Gabler. Building on this spot was no easy task. The area here outside the old city wall had earlier been the site of the town moat, so the land was too soft to hold up the structure's foundation. The solution was to ram dozens of thick oak trunks into the ground for extra support.

    By the 1930s, a new crop of art deco and functionalist buildings had appeared around Freedom Square, leaving the church's neo-Gothic appearance dramatically out of step with its surroundings. However, the city's plans to pull down the church and reconstruct the square were never realised due to the war and subsequent occupation of Estonia. Likewise, avant-guard architects had similar ideas in the 1950s, but fortunately, these were never followed through.


    TripAdvisor® Traveler Reviews

    TripAdvisor logo tripadvisor rating 3.5 of 5

    based on 50 reviews

    • This Church make me impressed everytime!

      tripadvisor rating 5 of 5
      August 14, 2019 By OlgaH953

      This yellow church looks perfect! Everytime I visit Tallinn, I visit JAANI KIRIK. I like everything: interior, silent inside and this wonderful geometry of building of church.

    • A modest church but worth a visit

      tripadvisor rating 3 of 5
      August 3, 2018 By Rami A

      A very modest church certainly not as impressive as others in the city, but still worth a visit. Not too far from the center (walking distance)

    • Nice church

      tripadvisor rating 5 of 5
      May 2, 2018 By wolf3728

      Went to the church today and when I walked inside there was organ and fuete music playing. The acoustics were very good. Outside is interesting but the inside is very nice.