Toompea Castle

Toompea castle has always been the seat of power in Estonia. It has served as an ancient Estonian wooden fortress, Danish king’s residence and an old Teutonic Order castle.

The nowadays baroque frontal pink section was added during the rule of the Russian Tsarina Catherine the Great, the posterior side still preserves its castle-like appearance. Today the castle is the home of the Estonian Parliament.

Accompanying Governor’s Garden is the 45 meters high Pikk Hermann tower with the Estonian blue, black and white flag that is raised each day at the sunrise accompanied by the national anthem.

Dome Church

Cathedral of Sant Mary the Virgin standing on the Toompea hill is the most important Lutheran church in Estonia.

The Dome church is a fascinating mix of different architectural styles with Gothic exterior and Baroque pulpit.

It houses a unique collection of coats-of-arms of the Baltic German nobility and is also important for being the resting place for many renowned admirals, commanders and noblemen. The most famous burials in the church are Pontus de la Gardie, who commanded Swedish forces during the Great Northern War, Adam Johann von Krusenstern, the Baltic-German admiral who led Russia's first expedition around the world and Scottish-born Admiral Samuel Greig of Fife, notoriously the Catherine the Great's lover.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

This majestic Russian Orthodox Church, controlled by the Moscow Patriarchate, is the newest church in the Old Town.

Modelled on the Russian churches of the 17th century, it was completed in 1900. The interior is filled with numerous icons and the entrance is decorated with the eye-catching mosaics. There are eleven bells in the church tower, the most powerful of which weighs 15 tonnes and is the largest in the Nordic countries.

The cathedral is named after Alexander Nevski, a 13-th century Russian prince who conducted a successful battle against the Western Crusaders. 

Danish King's Garden

Danish King’s Garden is the site where according to legend, the Danish flag was sent down from heaven during a battle in 1219 that helped the Danes to the victory over Estonians. The Garden took its name by the Danish King Valdemar Second as the King with its troops is said to have camped in this place before they conquered Toompea.

Nowadays this garden commemorates the role that Denmark has played in Estonian history. Halfway down the steps towards Rüütli Street the iron sword and armour with Danish cross could be seen. There is a tradition to celebrate Danneborg Day in this Danish King’s Garden.

Viewing Platforms

Like noble persons used to look down from Toompea seeing how artisans and merchants were living in the town below, visitor can enjoy the all-around breath-taking panorama of the lovely rooftops and towers of Old Town and to the whole city of Tallinn.

From Pakuli viewing platform you can have a view of the sea towards the harbour and onto the wall and its towers surrounding the Old Town. The town wall and its towers got their present look after major constructions in the 15th century.

Kohtuotsa viewing platform gives almost the whole of Old Town on our hands. On the left side, Old Town’s medieval church spires, St Olav’s Church and Church of the Holy Spirit could be seen. Near the latter, there is the Town Hall spire and the St. Nicholas Church tower on the right. 

Viewing Platforms

Kiek in de Kök

This 38 m high cannon tower got its name “Peek into the Kitchen” from the guards who used to joke that they could see into the kitchens of the houses below from this defence tower. Completed in 1475, it has been tested most fiercely during the Livonian war bombarding and still displays four Ivan the Terrible’s cannonballs embedded in its walls.

Today the tower houses a museum that offers illustrations of medieval firepower, displays detailing how the city's system of walls and towers developed through the centuries and an exhibit on crime and punishment in Old Tallinn.

The museum also serves as the entrance to a charming system of hidden tunnels constructed during the Swedish rue in the late 16th century that runs underneath the old bastions at the southern edge of Toompea Hill and were used to move soldiers and ammunition, not to mention spy on the enemy.

Town Hall Square

The impressive Gothic architecture square that was a medieval market and gathering place where concerts and celebrations were taking place, has been the centre of Tallinn for eight centuries.

In medieval times, there were shoemakers’ shops near Kinga (Shoe) Street, bakeries in Saiakang (White Bread Passage) and general merchants.

Today, during summertime visitors can enjoy open-air cafes and concerts, while during the winter months the idyllic Christmas Market opens its lovely kiosks with characteristic handicraft goods.

In 1441, the first public Christmas tree in Europe was erected on the square. 

Town Hall

Tallinn Town Hall the one of the most important landmarks of Tallinn and is a rare architectural symbol in Europe being the only preserved Gothic town hall in Northern Europe.

The halls – the Council Hall and the Citizens’ Hall – are located on the second floor, the treasury and wine cellar in the basement and the storage room on the attic. A weather vane in the shape of a soldier named Old Thomas, the symbol of Tallinn, was placed at the top of the tower in 1530. 

Tallinn’s medieval Town Hall has been the meeting place for the ruling burgermeisters and symbolizes the wealth and influence of the city on the 15th century, housing the powers of the Hanseatic town’s economic, political and social activities.

Today Town Hall is an important building for the city government and many official receptions and concerts take place between those historic walls.

Town Hall Pharmacy

Town Hall Pharmacy on the corner of the central square is the oldest continuously operating pharmacy in Europe, first mentioned in 1422. 

The most successful pharmacists were the Burcharts from Hungary, who ran the pharmacy for ten generations (1581-1911).

This curious little shop initially resembled more a café where customers could buy everyday items like jam, tea, claret, gunpowder, but also alcoholic drinks and sweet cakes, especially marzipan. Marzipan was one of the pharmacy's best sellers; one that local legend insists was actually invented as a curative here in the 15th century. Remedies sold at the pharmacy in Medieval times included snakeskin potion, mummy juice, amber oil and powdered unicorn horn (for male potency).

It is said was so famous in its day that the Russian tsar used to order medicines from here.  Today the historic site still operates as a pharmacy, selling modern products, but its side room houses an interesting display of 17th- to 20th-century medicinal equipment.

Town Hall Pharmacy

Holy Spirit Church

Holy Spirit Church played an important role in Estonian cultural history as it was turned into an Estonian congregation after the Reformation and since then sermons in Estonian have been held here. 

The church has seen several famous pastors like example Johann Koell, whose translation of the catechism published in 1535 is considered to be the first book in Estonian, and Balthasar Russow, author of the “Livonian Chronicle” from 1578.

The church is also known for its intricate interior with Baroque pews, a Renaissance pulpit and the folding altar by the famous Lübeck artist Bernt Notke.

The colourful painted clock on the church’s façade is considered Tallinn’s oldest public timepiece.

Holy Spirit Church

Great Guild Hall

The Great Guild was the most important organisation in any medieval hanseatic town. Like all the guilds and dwellings of wealthier merchants, the Great Guild Hall is situated on the Pikk (Long) Road, the town’s main street that led from the port to the town centre.

Featuring a characteristic high staircase in front, a Gothic arched doorway and huge quadrangular windows on either side of the door, this medieval masterpiece has the furnaces in the cellar, living quarters on the ground floor and storage area on the upper floors.

Today the renovated building houses Estonian History Museum that introduces you the “spirit of Survival.” This exhibition with multimedia and interactive displays gives good overview of how people have lived, fought, and survived over 11.000 years. 

St. Olaf's Church

St Olaf’s church one of the most distinct landmark of Tallinn, named after the King Olaf Second Haraldsson of Norway and, built around 1267 by the order of Scandinavian merchants.

Between 1549-1625, St Olaf with its gigantic 159m spire was the tallest building of Europe functioning as a signpost for approaching ships and giving Tallinn the importance of a trading town.

It also turned out to be a very effective lightning rod and has completely burned town three times!

Nowadays a 124m steeple of this magnificent Gothic masterpiece still dominates the panorama of Tallinn and offers breath-taking 360-degree views over the city for those who are willing to take the medieval staircase and climb 258 steps to the St. Olav’s Church observation platform.

St. Nicholas Church

St Nicholas church was built by the German merchants on the 13th century and is dedicated to the patron saint of seafarers and merchants.

Unfortunately, it was burnt down during a Second World War air raid in 1944.

Later rebuilt, now it houses a museum specializing in works of religious art. The jewel of the collection is a stunning 15th century painting Danse Macabre “Dance with Death” by Bernt Notke – considered Estonia’s most valuable work of art as it is the world’s only painting of its genre on canvas which has preserved to our day. There are other impressive examples of medieval religious art including Baroque and Renaissance chandeliers, medieval burial slabs and exquisite altars from 15th and 16th centuries. Silver Chamber presents a collection of remarkable masterpieces by the members of Tallinn’s craft guilds.

The church is famous for its acoustics and is often used as a concert hall. 

Dominican Monastery

One of the oldest buildings in Tallinn, the monastery was founded in 1246. In the monastery claustrum, there are monk’s dormitory, library, priory, refectory, and many other rooms that give an interesting glimpse how medieval monks lived. Downstairs there is the energy pillar- claimed to be the source of a mysterious powers that give spiritual and physical health.

The splendid courtyard of the monastery is accessible through the neighbouring Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church that is said to be one of the most charming places in the whole Baltic States. Ancient passage of monks shows stunning examples of medieval stonemasonry. There can be heard the monks who are chanting when you wander through the corridors… 

St. Catherine’s Passage &
Masters’ Courtyard

The lovely medieval St. Catherine’s passage, lined from the left side with the St Catherine’s Church, is home to the St Catherine’s Guild – a collection of craft workshops where artists use traditional methods of creating hats, quilts, glassware, ceramics, jewellery, hand-painted silk and other wares. Those enchanting workshops are inside the small, 15th to 17th century rooms where visitors can also see how artists work and buy a souvenir.

The Masters Courtyard is undoubtedly the most romantic courtyard in the city - it is charmingly renovated and proposes jewellery and handicrafts alongside with a small café where teas and various chocolates can be tasted in an idyllic atmosphere.