In the Estonian history of mediaeval buildings, the architectural monuments of Saaremaa, including churches, form one of the most valuable chapters due to the very good building material, the easy to process dolomite. In here, you can see more fine details than anywhere else.
There are eight unique mediaeval churches in Saaremaa, through which the island tells about the crooked history of religion. The churches are massive and showing simple architecture due to the fact that they were once built for offering sanctuary to everyone.
Valjala church is the oldest surviving stone building in Estonia (the initial stone chapel was built in 1227).
Kaarma church – in parallel to the construction of the nave of Valjala church, the construction of Kaarma church was started, they show similar features and evidently the building masters came from Valjala.
Pöide church is the biggest single nave church-fortification in West-Estonia.
The campanile of Kihelkonna church is unique in the Baltic countries as it is the oldest freestanding bell tower in the region.
Karja church is a jewel of the Estonian mediaeval art with its high-Gothic forms.
The pulpit of Muhu church is among the oldest ones in Saaremaa County. Rather uncharacteristic of the mediaeval building practice in Estonia, the signs of the building master have been used here. In Muhu church it is possible to see one of the two surviving in Estonia human shaped grave stones from the 12th-13th century period.
Püha church was built as a church-fortification and here one can see a special room built to accommodate pilgrims. The altar wall with its Rococo elements is almost a full copy of the altar of Riga Cathedral.
Mustjala Anna church has got its name not after the saint but after Anna Schestädt, the wife of the Danish vice governor who had a chapel built here in 1605 and which in 1863 was rebuilt into a church. The high spire of the church served an important landmark for seafarers. The design of the church shows both Gothic and Romanesque motifs.