Tallinn, Estonia - March 19, 2015: St. Nicholas Church (Niguliste kirik) and cupola of Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. The St. Nicholas Church was founded and built around 1230-1275. Today it houses a branch of the Art Museum of Estonia.

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Niguliste Museum

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Dating from the 13th century, the imposing St Nicholas' Church (Niguliste kirik) was badly damaged by Soviet bombers in 1944 and a fire in the 1980s, but today stands restored to its Gothic glory. Although deconsecrated, it's a strikingly apt site for the Art Museum of Estonia to display some of its treasures of sacral art – the late-medieval altarpieces, paintings and sculptures you'll see are drawn from all over Estonia, but much of it originally belonged right here, in St Nicholas'.

The most famous work on display is Berndt Notke’s 15th-century masterpiece Dance Macabre. The gist of this eerie skeletal conga line is that whether you’re a king, a pope or a young slacker, we’re all dancing with death. A free audio guide in Estonian, English, Russian, German and Low-German is available for the text written on the painting. Other artefacts include painted altarpieces (including the church's own extraordinary cabinet-style altarpiece by Herman Rode from Lübeck, dating from 1481), carved tombstones and a chamber overflowing with ecclesiastical silverware.

The acoustics of the former church are also first-rate, and organ recitals are held here most weekends. If you're going to visit the nearby Adamson-Eric Museum, a joint ticket can be bought at either venue for €8.

In 2023, the museum opened its renovated tower to visitors, which can be accessed via glass elevator up to the sky deck for excellent views of Tallinn.

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