Attractions & museums

    Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

    This spectacular, onion-domed structure perched atop Toompea Hill is Estonia's main Russian Orthodox cathedral.

    It's also by far the grandest, most opulent Orthodox church in Tallinn.

    Built in 1900, when Estonia was part of the tsarist Russian empire, the cathedral was originally intended as a symbol of the empire's dominance – both religious and political – over this increasingly unruly Baltic territory.

    The cathedral was dedicated to the Prince of Novgorod, Alexander Yaroslavich Nevsky, who led the famous Battle of the Ice at Lake Peipsi in 1242, which halted the German crusaders' eastward advance. It was deliberately placed in this prominent location right in front of Toompea Castle, on the same spot where a statue of Martin Luther had previously stood, to show the mainly Lutheran locals who was in charge. 

    Now with the controversy long since faded, what's left is simply an architectural masterpiece. Designed by respected St. Petersburg architect Mikhail Preobrazhenski, the church is richly decorated in a mixed historicist style. The interior, filled with mosaics and icons, is well worth a visit.

    The church's towers' hold Tallinn's most powerful church bell ensemble, consisting of 11 bells, including the largest in Tallinn, weighing 15 tonnes. You can hear the entire ensemble playing before each service.


    TripAdvisor® Traveler Reviews

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    based on 3520 reviews

    • Amazing church and architecture

      tripadvisor rating 4 of 5
      June 25, 2022 By richardmP1661JV

      The interior is sumptious and rich. an array of saints and other ritual figures adorn the walls and there were plenty of people inside taking their spritiual rest. The exterior is a suitably over the... Read more comments

    • St Alexander Nevsky

      tripadvisor rating 4 of 5
      June 10, 2022 By Roslyn138

      The onion shaped Russian Orthodox Cathedral does look out of place at the top of the old town amongst all the medieval towers and walls. Built around 1900 you can get to the area either long or short... Read more comments

    • Russian Influence

      tripadvisor rating 4 of 5
      June 10, 2022 By KDJERO

      I thought this was an interesting church to visit because of its Russian Orthodox influence, which is definitely different than most churches I've been to.