Gallery: Old Town church to host new observation platform

Visitors to Tallinn's Old Town are set to get a new perspective thanks to a glass elevator to be installed in the bell tower of an iconic church building.

Work starts next week on the project, at the Niguliste kirik (St. Nicholas' Church), to install an elevator which will ferry people between the ground and an observation deck in the 105-meter-high tower (see gallery). A mezzanine floor will also offer a new perspective and space to display art-work.

The observation bay itself will require the opening up of currently battened-down windows, allowing for a 360-degree view of the Old Town and beyond.

While the Niguliste kirik – which does not function as a consecrated church but rather as a museum – is a heritage-protected site, a Soviet-era lift-shaft is still intact, meaning the development can go ahead without infringing regulations.

The lift and observation deck are likely to be open any time from Christmas this year, depending on progress, but certainly by or in 2023, museum director Tarmo Saaret said.

The Estonian Art Museum (Eesti Kunstimuuseum), one of whose facilities the Niguliste hosts, has the money needed for the construction work, Saaret said, but was unable to talk about sums.

Alterations and restorations will be required to existing staircases and beams, while a 16-meter limestone wall at mezzanine level will have climate-control systems installed to protect artworks to be on permanent display therefrom, Saaret added.

While the churches' own bells were destroyed in World War Two, other bells are to make up part of the display also.

The work begins with storing away artwork, from next Monday, January 10.

In addition to the damage suffered in World War Two, the Niguliste kirik's tower was extensively damaged in a fire in 1982.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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