Burial chambers uncovered under Padise Monastery

Padise Monastery.
Padise Monastery. Source: Tõnu Tunnel

Archeological digs conducted at Padise Monastery in northwestern Estonia have uncovered many historical findings, including a set of burial chambers, albeit bereft of bones, and cobblestone paving dating back to the Middle Ages.

The burial chambers date from a time when monks were still living at Padise, but were found to be completely empty. The reason for this is that in the first half of the 17th century, after a new local landlord had moved in, the chambers were emptied of those at rest, in order to create a more "baroque" environment or at least to enable an easier night's sleep.

Marje Kidron, head of the monastery, said on Vikerraadio's morning show "Vikerhommik": "Who would want to stay in a bedroom where there are skeletons under your floor?"

The monastery was used for accomodation for about 300 years, and in addition to the burial chambers, pieces of carved stone, floor tiles and cobblestone paving dating back to the Middle Ages were uncovered.

The historical findings can be seen at an exhibition in situ, at the monastery, allowing visitors to see and experience a glimpse of everyday life there.

Kidron added: "The archeological excavations have still uncovered relatively few findings and written materials have not stayed intact. All that we know of the monastery is derived from examples of other monasteries and the context, so all of this has to be seen and experienced firsthand."

She added that there has been a lot of interest in the monastery. The establishment was re-opened on May 2, and since then 14,000 visitors have passed through its doors.

Kidron acknowledged: "These special locations, where you are given an opportunity to look inside - even if there is not much left from the monastery days - are few and far between. I think curiosity to look inside is what brings people here."


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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