Karja Church – Linnaka, Estonia - Atlas Obscura

Karja Church

Linnaka, Estonia

Inside this medieval church resides a unique set of murals.  

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On the island of Saaremaa, just off the west coast of continental Estonia, stands a white church that is well-known for its distinctive features.

Not only does the Karja parish church boast some of the richest stone decorations of any Baltic rural church, but the ceiling also displays several symbols that one would not easily find in a Christian house of worship.

The two most famous medieval symbols found in the church are a triskelion with a white, a red, and a striped leg, along with a pentagram. Little is known about these symbols or the church’s origins for that matter. It’s believed that the church was constructed somewhere around the 13th or 14th-century. Despite these strange symbols, the church was originally dedicated to St. Catherine and St. Nicholas.

Know Before You Go

Coming from mainland Estonia (and the small island of Muhumaa), follow road 10. Take a right turn onto road 141 towards Leisi, Tika, and Angla. Around two kilometers down the road take another right turn onto road 142, still heading for Angla. After about seven kilometers, having passed a small sign, will lead to another right turn and Karja Church.

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