Kassari chapel is a building with romantic appearance that is the only functioning thatched-roof stone church in Estonia. Reputedly it dates back to 18th century because on the inner wall of the chapel there is a year 1801 that is associated with big repair.
In the graveyard there are the graves of many famous people – the ancestors of the poets M. Under and D. Vaarandi; the actor Olev Eskola; familiar from V.Panso book “The Funny Person” Lepa Anna. Familiar from art, literature and folk tales the name of Villem Tamm, whom J. Köler used as a model for Christ when painting his work “Come to me” in Kaarli church.
As a wood construction, Kassari chapel already existed in the first half of the 16th century. In the 18th century, the current stone building was erected, which was renovated for the first time in 1801; this date can also be found on the wall of the chapel. Initially, Kassari chapel served as a chapel of ease for Pühalepa congregation. In 1925, however, the church parishes were dissolved and Kassari chapel became a chapel of ease for Käina.
Kassari chapel is the only ecclesiastical building in the Baltic countries still in use that has a reed roof. An interesting and seldom occurring fact is that the pulpit of the chapel has been built into the altar, which can also be seen in Tuhala. The building has no electricity and thus, all the services and events take place in candlelight. Next to the chapel, you will find the burial chapel of Kassari landlord A. W. von Stackelberg, which was used during the rule of the first Estonian government as a place for funeral rites in bad weather.
Back then, the walls of Kassari chapel were adorned with metal wreaths. For a funeral, a wreath with the name of the deceased, and sometimes also with his profession and the names of mourners, was hung on the wall. The last thorough renovation of the chapel was carried out in 1992–1993, after which the chapel was also reconsecrated.
The building is surrounded with a cosy, calm and quiet graveyard, which serves as the last resting place for the island folk. Some of the well-known people buried in Kassari graveyard include poet Marie Under’s maternal grandparents, poet Debora Vaarandi’s great grandmother, the main character from V. Panso’s book Lepa Anna (Anna Sooba), the manor swineherd Aadu Vesingi, actor Olev Eskola, teacher Ann Tamm, Villem Tamm – the prototype of Christ in J. Köler’s paintings, folk poetry collector Frie- drich Villem Vahe, plant breeder Peeter Bollmann, headmaster Thomas Piik, and family members of Kassari landowners von Stackelbergs.
The graves of the local landlords are marked with marble monuments for August Wilhelm von Stackelberg (1774–1827), Eduard Heinrich August von Stackelberg (1806–1881), Georg August Arthur von Stackelberg (1850 1908), and Eduard August Arthur Ludwig von Stackelberg (1885–1910).
It is a waypoint on the journey
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