Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is one of the famous buildings in Estonia with the neo-Russian style. The cathedral was built using the architecture design by Mikhail Preobrazhensky starting from 1894 to 1900 under the rule of the Russian Empire. Although the building is beautiful, it was once hated by the Estonian since it was established during the Russification period. Being the biggest Orthodox cathedral in Tallinn, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral was also planned to be destroyed by Estonian government but it never comes true due to the financial problems.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, an Astonishing Building that was Once Being Hated
1. The History and Establishment Background
Alexander nevsky Cathedral was initiated and designed by Mikhail Preobrazhensky with the typical Russian revival style as the main idea. The establishment happened around 6 years starting from 1894 to 1900. In this period, the area of Estonia was still a part of the Russian Empire. The cathedral establishment itself was done to honor the local hero, Alexander Nevsky who won the Battle of Ice. Nevsky himself gifted by the Saint designation for all of his roles in the Lake Peipus battle. Despite it is dedicated for Alexander Nevsky, the cathedral also reminds people of some historical events. It is said that the father of one Estonian hero, Kalevipoeg was also buried in this area.
2. The Demolition Plan
The cathedral was built beautifully in term of the interior and exterior indeed. However, later, when the Soviet Union has been failed and Estonia is already an independent country, there was a plan to demolish the building. In fact, Estonian people thought that Alexander Nevsky cathedral was one of the Russification results. Russification means that all the non-Russian people under the rule of the Russian Empire must learn and practice the religion, cultures, and languages just like what the Russian government did. It simply hurts the pride of Estonian people so that all of those bad memories must be erased. However, due to the financial problems and controversies among the society, the demolition of this cathedral has never been done until now.
3. The Architecture
Being known as the biggest cathedral in Tallinn, the design and architecture of Alexander Nevsky Cathedral are indeed majestic and glamorous. It is decorated by eleven bells with the total weight of 16 tons. Meanwhile, it also has three altars. The altars are also dedicated to different people; the northern altar is for Vladimir I and the southern one is for Saint Sergius of Radonezh. For the floor, the cathedral is equipped the Finnish granite. The Iconostases wall is all around the interior made from the carved woods.
How to Get Tickets?
Despite all the controversies, interestingly, Alexander Nevsky is open for public. There is no ticket and charge for the visitors. However, it is necessary to voluntarily pay the tour guide or insert the money to the charity box voluntarily. Whatever it is, the cathedral staff still needs money for the building maintenance cost.
How To Get Around?
You can start the visitation from the main gate for sure. It is more necessary to directly enter the cathedral before walking around the main building. Enjoy the interior along with the stunning features. This is definitely a great experience not to forget later. Uniquely, this cathedral is also very beautiful to see outside even from the distance. After going inside, don't forget to perpetuate your moments outside the building. Make sure also to enjoy the area of Tompeea Hill around the church. The landscape is undeniably scenic and memorable.
What Should I Wear?
Wearing casual clothes is allowed. However, since this is a worship house, it is much recommended for you to wear something modest and not too open. Just make yourself as comfortable as possible like by wearing the flat shoes and sneakers.
Best Time to Visit
This cathedral opens every day. So, it should not be a matter when you want to visit. But pay attention to certain times when the cathedral is often full of the congregations. Meanwhile, in the holidays and weekends, this building is also crowded by the tourists. If you want to see the details of the interior, it is much better to avoid those times.
Will I Need a Guide?
Yes, it is particularly if you really want to learn more about the cathedral from the architecture and history perspective. But if you just want to enjoy the atmosphere without disturbed by anyone talking, it is not bad to come without the tour guide.
How To Get There?
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is located in the area of Lossi Plats 10 10130, Tallinn, Estonia. There are some kinds of public transportations to go there. For the easiest way to reach the church, it is recommended to ride a taxi, online transportation, or if it is possible, your own car.
For the history and richness of cultures owned by Estonia, particularly the old town, Tallinn, it is reasonable if this city has so many attractions to visit. Despite Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, other buildings should not be missed out are Kadriorg Palace, Raekoja Plats, Saint Olaf's Church, Saint Mary's Cathedral, Saint Nicholas Church, Estonian Open Air Museum, Pikk Hermann, Art Museum of Estonia and Estonian Maritime Museum. For you who love the natural landscape, make sure also to go to some following places; Tallinn Passanger Port, Lahemaa National Park, Tallinn Botanic Garden, Jagala Waterfall, Patkulu Viewing Platform and many more.