Niguliste Museum-Concert Hall
St. Nicholas's Museum-Concert Hall has three of the four most important Medieval works of art in Estonia on display. The impressive 13th-century church houses a concert hall as well as museum dedicated to church art.
German merchants from the island of Gotland built this church to St. Nicholas, the protector of sailors. It was originally built in the early 13th century, when the church was like a fortress.
Over the centuries, the building was improved with additions and renovations. The late Gothic St. Anthony’s chapel, on the southern side of the church, and the Renaissance foyer on the northern side are particularly notable.
St. Nicholas was the only church in Tallinn’s downtown which remained untouched by the destruction of icons brought by the Lutheran Reformation in 1523: the clever head of the congregation poured molten lead into the locks of the church, and the raging hordes could not get in.
The church was seriously damaged, however, in the bombing raids of 1944. After its renovation, the church suffered a fire in 1982, but today it has once again been restored.
The rare main altar in St. Nicholas shows paintings depicting the life of St. Nicholas, and was commissioned from the Lübeck master Herman Rode in 1482.
The late 15th-century Maria altar, which once belonged to Tallinn’s Brotherhood of Blackheads, was commissioned from Bruges. The artist is generally considered to be the anonymous artist responsible for the Lucia legend, though the altar has also been associated with the workshop of Hans Memling, the leading artist in Bruges of that time.
Located in St. Anthony’s chapel is the preserved beginning section of the extensive Dance Macabre, painted by one of the great figures of Northern Europe in the late Middle Ages, Berndt Notke of Lübeck (late 15th century).
Anthony's 16th-century altar retable have been preserved in the church. In the silver chamber, silverwork from the collections of guilds, the Brotherhood of Blackheads, and churches is on display. Excellent acoustics make the church a favourite concert hall.