Niguliste museum refurbishment work starts

Niguliste Church interior, while undergoing refurbishment.
Niguliste Church interior, while undergoing refurbishment. Source: ERR

Treasures inside the Niguliste Kirik (English: St. Nicholas' Church) in Tallinn's Old Town are now under wraps or removed altogether, as work starts on an extensive refurbishment which will see a viewing platform installed in the church's bell tower edifice, ETV news show 'Aktuaalne kaamera' (AK) reported Thursday.

The 14th-15th century building long since ceased to function as a consecrated church, and is instead the home of a museum - the Art Museum of Estonia (Eesti Kunstimuuseum).

Museum director Tarmo Saaret said: "Where we had a place available, we took artifacts them safely to the vaults. But we tried to leave the larger objects here in the conditions they are accustomed to, while covering them in such a way as to guarantee that nothing will happen to them."

Niguliste church interior, during refurbishment. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The churches' organ, which was restored in the-then Czechoslovakia, in 1981, remains uncovered so far as the keyboard goes, though the many thousands of organ pipes have been covered, to prevent dust getting in and damaging them.

The museum's centerpiece exhibit, the Danse Macabre (Estonian: Surmatants, German: Totentanz) by Bernt Notke (1440-1509), has for the time being been replaced by a chipboard panel, wile coats of arms of those well-heeled former Tallinn residents who had passed away are, or will be, also covered.

The work will continue until autumn.

As reported by ERR News, the plans involve the installation of an elevator which will ferry people between the ground and an observation deck in the 105-meter-high tower, while a mezzanine floor will also offer a new perspective and space to display art-work.

The Dance Macabre fresco is currently under wraps. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

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.

The Niguliste kirik's tower was extensively damaged in a fire in 1982, on top of damage the building suffered during World War Two.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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