St. Paul’s Church of Tartu is the only Estonian sacral building in art nouveau style, as well as one of the most outstanding 20th century sacral buildings in Estonia. The church and its wings form one of the most remarkable ensembles of sacral architecture.
The church was designed by Finnish-American architect Eliel Saarinen. Saarinen is one of the most important and well-recognized Finnish architects and the designer of many important national buildings such as The National Museum of Finland in Helsinki and The Helsinki Central railway station. St. Paul’s Church of Tartu was designed by Saarinen in 1913 and the construction was finished in 1917 and re-consecrated after completion of interior works in 1919.
St. Paul’s Church of Tartu is an exceptional work among Eliel Saarinen’s designs, because the architect widely intertwined different features in an uncommon and original way. St. Paul’s Church of Tartu’s architecture represents turning your back on historicism and mirroring historical sacral architecture.
In St. Paul’s Church of Tartu, Eliel Saarinen has successfully blended National Romantic geometrical elements in the interior with classicism-oriented and monumental elements in the exterior. St. Paul’s Church of Tartu is the first Estonian Art Nouveau church. Therefore the church is a unique architectural monument in the Baltic region.