Must-see sights of the Old Town
Kohtu Platform – offers one of the best views of the Old Town. The impressive tower of the Niguliste Church seems at arms length. The red tiled roofs with white edges are characteristic of Tallinn. Tallinn
Patkul Platform – shows both a view of St Olaf’s Church, and part of the city wall. The church was even taller in medieval times and the tallest building in the world in its time. Nowhere else can you see the city wall from a better angle. Tallinn
Kiriku Platform – the platform at the end of Kiriku Street faces west and offers a view of splendid and romantic sunsets.
Tallinn’s Old Town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. The Town Hall Square (Raekoja plats) is Northern Europe’s best-preserved medieval town hall square and was built at the beginning of the 1400s.Katariina käik Blink and you might miss this narrow passageway off of Vene. Built in 1246, St. Catherine’s Monastery (Püha Katariina klooster) is the oldest building in Tallinn. This passageway is also known as the Latin Quarter of Tallinn, and where you can find one of Tallinn’s first Italian restaurants. Tallinn Old Town
The Town Hall Pharmacy (Raeapteek) is one of Europe’s oldest pharmacies, which still operates in its original location, in the Town Hall Square. Tallinn Old Town
The Tall Hermann Tower (15th century) on the southwest corner of the hill, and the blue, black, and white Estonian flag signify independence and freedom for Estonians. Today, Toompea is the centre of Estonian government and the Riigikogu (parliament). Look for the pink building behind the Russian Orthodox Aleksander Nevsky Cathedral. Tallinn
Kiek in de Kök and the Bastion Tunnels
The Kiek in de Kök tower is the entrance to historical underground bastion tunnels. In Soviet times they were supposed to serve as bomb shelters and protect the communist elite in case of a war. Kiek in de Kök means, “look into the kitchen” in Low German, as this was one of the main things soldiers spent their time doing while on the lookout for intruders. Kiek in de Kök dates back to the 15th century. The tower is 38 metres tall, and the walls are four metres thick.
St Olaf’s Church
(Oleviste kirik) Climb the stairs of the St Olaf Church and you will discover not only the lower town beneath but also the magnificent palaces facing the slopes of Toompea Hill, and the upper town. The old town of Tallinn is divided into a lower and upper part. The lower town was inhabited by hanseatic traders and the upper town, or Toompea was inhabited by nobility.
A fascinating museum about Soviet history in Estonia is located on the top floor of the Viru Hotel. The hotel rooms were under KGB surveillance. The rooms were equipped with microphones, and small holes were made in the walls, where cameras could be placed to take pictures of hotel guests. The museum is only accessible by guided tour. Tours run daily and are held in English, Finnish, Russian, and Estonian. English tours book up quickly so bookings are recommended.
Fat Margaret (Paks Margareeta) is the most important fortification tower in Tallinn. She was built in the early 1500s. The diameter of the tower is 25 metres and the walls are up to 6.5 metres thick! She was constructed to protect Tallinn from intruders from the sea. Fat Margaret is often the main entrance gate and first encounter for visitors to the Old Town in Tallinn, if arriving by sea.
TEXT : KRISTINA LUPP, PHOTOS: ANDREI CHERTKOV
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