Kärla church

Kärla church is located 19 kilometers from Kuressaare, toward the town of Kärla. It is believed that the first Kärla curch was built at the beginning of the 14th century. In 1556 it suffered serious fire damage. During 1842-1843 the building was reconstructed in its present classisistic style.

Kärla church still houses one of Estonia's most attractive Renaissance-style pieces of art: this is the epitaph dedicated to Otto von Buxhoevden which dates to 1591. The author is thought to be Tönnies Evers the Younger, from Lübeck. His style was strongly influenced by the Late Renaissance style as it manifested itself in the Low Countries during those years.

The central theme of the epitaph is Golgotha. The figures in the scene are finely carved and in their plasticisity one can find Mannersit ideals of beauty. The heads on the slender capitals of the pilasters represent antique gods.

The pastor during 1878-1907 was Johannes Kerg (1849-1926), a popular figure in the national awakening movement that culminated in an independent Estonia.

It must be mentioned that Kärla church is surrounded by very ugly mementos from the Soviet era, huge decrepit and rusting garages. That these buildings were built so close to the church is evidence of the official Soviet policy towards religion, and a pictoral reminder of the carelessness and sloppiness that then existed and still exists to this day.