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Karja Pagan Symbols

Karja Paganlikud Sümbolid

Karja church is rich with ornaments and symbols. On each visit, new details seem to catch one's attention, which makes it one of my favorite churches to visit in Estonia. A unique feature of Karja church are the pagan symbols on the ceiling above the alter.

Pagan symbols on the ceiling of Karja church
Pagan symbols on the ceiling above the altar

The people of Saaremaa were converted to Christianity by German crusaders in the 13th century, but apparently this was done partially by integrating pagan symbolism and rituals, as well as by building churches on pagan holy places.

Pagan pentagram symbol
Pagan pentagram symbol

The pagan plaited lattice symbol (below) was believed to hold off evil spirits.

Plaited Lattice pagan symbol
Plaited lattice pagan symbol

These next two pagan symbols are a triskelion with a broken leg and a person looking backwards through it's legs (called a legged devil).

Pagan triskelion symbol
A triskelion with a broken leg
Legged Devil
Legged Devil
Pagan symbol
Pagan symbol closeup

It remains a miracle that these symbols survived for over 700 years.

Kaarma church, another church on Saaremaa, has a large pentagram painted on a wall near the alter.

Location: 58°31'24"N 22°43'57"E on: Google Maps, OpenStreetMap, Maa Amet.

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