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St Mary’s Church in Tartu was consecrated on 11 January 1842. The church became one of the centres of the religious life of Tartu and its members included several famous persons, such as J. V. Jannsen, M. Härma, and others.
On 17 June 1869 (Julian calendar), the dress rehearsal of the mixed choirs of the first Song Festival took place in St Mary’s Church, and the next day, the start of the song festival was announced from the tower of the church. That is why St Mary’s Church in Tartu is considered the birthplace of Estonian song festivals.
The church was destroyed in World War II as a result of a projectile fired by the retreating Soviet army on 12 July 1941. In 1961, the church building was turned into a sports hall of the Estonian Academy of Agriculture, serving as an exercise space for many residents of Tartu until 2009.
St Mary’s Church in Tartu is currently being restored to rebuild the tower demolished in 1956.