Let’s shed some light on Tallinn’s Old Town

In 2019, the walls and towers of Tallinn’s Old Town were given a contemporary lighting solution that seems to awaken them to life when darkness arrives. Thus the buildings seem to whisper, telling us stories about our long and exciting history and with the help of light and shadows, their dignified forms and interesting details are highlighted. The project to modernise the lighting was financed by the Kapitel real estate company and is one of the largest investments of private capital made in Tallinn’s urban space.
The lighting solution was designed and built by Merko.

Within the framework of the project, Merko created lighting for almost 40 objects and installed almost 600 LED-lights. The new warm light LED luminaries ensure a 20-time reduction in energy compared to the current lighting solution and cast a soft and warm light on the walls that create a cosy and pleasant milieu.

The lighting project was designed by Lighting Design Collective Oy from Finland that won the idea competition organised by the City of Tallinn in 2017. The concept of the winning project seems to pay tribute to the scars and fragments of the Old Town history that the walls express. The lighting architects have set the light intensity, angles, and levels to highlight the original character of the Old Town. The lighting gives an authentic appearance to many of the places in the Old Town by highlighting their interesting history and casting light and shadows on details that have been moulded by history. The features that emphasize the individuality of the buildings are the focus of attention and thanks to carefully chosen light intensities, create an intimate atmosphere in the urban space.

Assauwe Tower

I was first built square and with two storeys on the outer side of the southern wall. Nearly a hundred years later, the wall was broken through, I gained a floor, and I was changed into a horseshoe shape.

I’m said to have gotten my name from a shepherd named Assauwe or Asso. He might even have been an Estonian man. To be honest, I have also carried the names of the men who have been my owners; Bevermans and Buchaus.

Much later, in the 19th century, there was a horse stable on my lower floor. Later still, a conservatory moved in, and since 1934, Assauwe Tower and its associated buildings have been a place of business
for the Estonian Theatre and Music Museum. I also have an interior courtyard behind me, called Asso’s court, or The Shepherd’s Court.

Construction history. Built between 1370 and 1380, raised and expanded in 1455.

Bremen Tower and Passage

I am Bremen Tower, although I’m not named after the city in northern Germany, but rather a denizen of this city, who was also known as Bremer.

I was built four storeys high at the beginning of the 15th century, and, as most other towers in this city, with a horseshoe-shaped main layout. My neighbouring tower,

Tower behind Monks, is still around today, but my closest remaining colleague on the other side, Tower behind Hat- torpe, is actually quite far away. The Lesser Coastal Gate and its tower, which were near the old Russian church, have been destroyed or demolished.

In the middle ages, I was known as Bremen de Vange Konge! The two lower levels housed a jail, which could be accessed at that time by the second floor. The current entrance from Vene street side was made much later. The prison was an unlit room with small openings for air, a toi- let, and iron rings on the walls. The third and fourth floors had arrow or gun loops and fireplaces.

When I got a new owner in the 16th century, I was renamed Kampferbeck Tower after him. The prison remained on the lower levels in the 17th century, and later they were used for gunpowder storage. By the way, there have also been prisons right across the road from me at Vene Street 23 and 25. I also saw how the communist girl Villu Klement escaped from that building through the chimney in the early years

of the Republic. She was caught again right away since she stood out so much with soot all over her. In those days we didn’t have many black-skinned people moving around on the streets.

At the end of the 19th century, I became the property of the owner of the neighbouring property, the cement king of the Czar era, Girard de Soucanton, who used me as a warehouse at first. After that, I was connected to the main building of the same man’s living quarters, who was known locally as Suka-Anton. During the war, the parapet around my upper part was damaged, but it was restored about ten years later. Villem Raam and Rein Zobel, our art history gurus, have sup- posed that I never actually had a roof, and my upper plat- form was used as a catapult base. Well, now younger histori- ans think that I did have a roof. Today I am still “hatless“. I’m also the most recent tower to have been restored in the city!

Right here next to me, a neo-gothic sharp-tipped gate open- ing was made in the 19th century, which connects Uus and Vene Streets with the Bremen passage. At different times, there have been bars and restaurants there.

Construction history. Built at the beginning of the 15th century, height 21.6 m, walls 2-3.2 m thick.

Culture Wolf

At the edge of Viru Square in Tallinn and in front of the Nordic Hotel Forum stands a 2.4m high statue of a wolf, “Culture Wolf”.

The wolf is the mascot of the Dark Nights Film Festival and has also been selected as Estonia’s national animal. The display of the wolf’s image also represents the interest in culture shared by the Nordic Hotel Forum and the real estate company, Kapitel – expressed in many different cultural projects, including their long-term support for DNFF. The sculpture’s creator is Simson von Seakyll. Simson’s image of a lone mother wolf howling at a full moon is synonymous with the individualism of the local people, although, the wolf is a pack animal. After all, nothing can be accomplished without teamwork.

The wolf is an important figure in Estonia’s mythology, fairy tales, stories, legends, and songs. Unlike in many other countries in Europe where the wolf has been destroyed, there are plenty still living in Estonia’s forests.

Epping Tower

I also was built in the 1370s, when the city experienced one of the fastest and most extensive tower- building booms in its history, during which at least a dozen defensive towers were built.

It was a time of upheaval in the territory of Livonia and danger was in the air, even though the Hanseatic town of Reval just kept growing and gaining in wealth. My current name comes from the overseer of my construc- tion, city master Tideman Eppinci (Thiderico Eppingh), al- though in the 15th century I was called the Tower behind the Parsonage of St. Olaf’s (thorn achter sunte Olaues wedeme). I achieved my full height, over 20 metres high with six storeys, in 1530. That was how I stayed through- out the 18th century when I was used for gunpowder storage, just like many other towers. In the second half of the 19th century, my interior was demolished. During the Estonian SSR time, the furnace for the KGB and the Ministry of the Interior was here, and an interesting thing about that- it’s said that the furnace was used for burn- ing “unneeded” documents. Maybe also documents that they didn’t want to see the light of day? During the Soviet time, reinforced concrete was used to build sturdy floors. In 2005 I was buffed up again and since then I have been used for all manner of exhibitions and cultural events. There has also been an exhibit about medieval walls here.

Construction history. Built around 1370, expanded around 1400 and 1510. The initial tower had a horseshoe-shaped main layout with three floors and a height of 11m. In the second phase of construction, two new defensive floors

were built. By 1520 the tower was 22.5 m high and had six floors. To this day the two new defensive storeys built on the upper part of the tower and connected with wall stairs are preserved.

Fat Margaret and The Great Coastal Gate

I am the most famous landmark among the towers of our city. Those coming in by sea can’t miss me.

I may not be as tall as some other towers or churches, but I make up for it with my size and width. Without a doubt, I am the widest and thickest walled tower in the city.

Throughout history, I have had many names. First, 500 years ago when I was finished, I was called the round tower, then the Rose Garden’s New Tower. The Rose Garden was
a public garden where the people who had exited the city gate down Pikk Street would have picnics and watch the activity at the harbour. At the end of the 17th century, the name Rosenkrantz was handed down to me from the heavy cannon tower at the Toompea wall gate when it was buried in the earthworks at the Swedish bastion and didn’t need its name anymore. It’s thought that I was first christened Fat Margaret by bored Russian sailors rocking back and forth in their ships on raids in the second half of the 19th century. I’m also called “Mamma With Her Son”, referring to the small tower on the other side of the Great Coastal Gate. Although, he is actually older than me!

I’m connected to the foregate of the Great Coastal Gate by a passage that runs through the third storey. The gate used to have a portcullis, which was preserved for a long time – until the fire of 1917. According to legend, I am the beloved of Tall Hermann. For some reason, people think that I’m a female! But in seriousness, I am the city’s mightiest heavy cannon tower, and a place of awesome firepower. My defensive complex boasts gun loops for 32 cannons and 124 firearms. I am 25 meters in diameter. The strongest part of the wall is the base at 5.1 metres thick, although the thickness of the foundation is up to 6 metres. But just between us, on the city side, on the southern end, the wall is only just over a metre thick. The diameter of the room on the first floor is 12.5 me- tres and over 110 square metres.

I was built with the new foregate of the Great Coastal gate and the zwinger, or flank defence wall reached to Stolting Tower. The stonecutter Gert Koningk was the construction master of the intricate defensive complex and the creator of the coat of arms on the gate.

450 years ago, in the month of June, a united fleet from Denmark and Lubeck brought war to the harbour of Tallinn with 30 warships under the command of Admiral Munck. The Danes burned or seized all 150 ships that were in the harbour, on the grounds that Sweden and Reval had been trying to inhibit the trade between Moscow and Denmark. The ships also fired bombs toward the city. Well, I was able to return even heavier fire!

When the bastions were built, earthen redoubts were piled up around me, some of which have been removed. The crumbling towers of the gate complex were also demol- ished. During the time of the Czar, I was converted for use as an ammunition dump. In 1830, a prison was opened here. In 1877, I was renovated as a barracks. Then I was connected to a stone building which was made into the city prison. In February of 1917, flames poured out of every door, window, or other opening.

In the time of the first Estonian republic, I was made into a cinema or a dance club with a spinning floor, and finally into the city wood storage. Polish restoration builders constructed a roof for the circular inner courtyard on the occasion of the Moscow Olympic Games. There had been trees growing there until 1978. Now the rooftop café offers wonderful views of the city and the sea once again.

Construction history. Between 1519–1532, the heavy cannon tower was built, and a complete renovation of the gate’s defensive complex was completed.

Golden Leg Tower

I am an old Danish-era tower. I was probably constructed here as one of the important corner towers of the city’s west wall between 1311 and 1320.

In the oldest times, I was called the “Nun’s Court Tower”, but was also known as “the Tower with the Bad Roof”. I used to have an open wall toward the city, like the Maiden Tower still does. In 1422

when the city took the defensive wall away from the convent, I was renovated to be taller and stronger. In 1422, after a huge fire had dev- astated Reval in the previous spring, I came to be known as Golden Leg Tower (de Guldene Voet).

Overall I am a very well-preserved tower, in spite of the fact that some hooligans have set some fires inside here a few times. Besides the name Golden Leg, I have also been called the Hometown Tower – I am used as a showcase, lecture hall, and concert space for the Hometown movement, led by the meritorious Tiina Mägi. The Kuldjala (Goldfoot) choral association also performs here.

The concave niche in the lower part of the tower’s wall is a special and distinctive spot, where people love to take pictures of themselves. It’s also thought that secret ceremonies are occasionally held here.

Construction history. Built in 1311, renovated in 1370–1372, after 1422 and probably in the 1610s, when the Golden Leg Tower finally reached a height of 22.5 metres. The tower’s diameter is approx. 10 m.

Hellemann Tower

I’m the youngest of these neighbouring towers – Tower behind Monks and the oncemighty Viru Gate Complex, of which only a couple foregate towers remain, are a good half-century older.

When I was first mentioned in writing, it was as Hollemann Tower, but after that as Helleman Tower. Beneath my three storeys is a unique, inaccessible lower room – probably to repel moisture. Due to the poor ground and a substandard foundation, I became crooked and sagged along with my connecting wall by an entire metre. In the 1960’s I was given supports; here in the walkway of nearby Müürivahe Street where the old ladies sell their sweaters and mittens, one can see the large concrete support pillars. They are a bit unsightly, but I’m used to them because they get the job done. In the 1980’s I was connected to the Cinema Association

building on the other side of the wall from me on Uus Street. At the same time, the Polish built a defensive pas- sage from here toward Viru Gate, which was extended in the opposite direction about a dozen years ago – so now, one can get from here at Helleman Tower straight to the Tower behind Monks.

A little more than 10 years ago I also got a new spiral staircase installed inside, making it much easier to move up and down and shuttle back and forth along to 200 m passage toward Viru and back.

Construction history. Built at the beginning of the 15th century.

Hinke Tower

I was built as a horseshoe-shaped tower in the middle of the 14th century on the city wall between the Viru gate (also called Lehmporte or Clay Gate) and the Devil’s Tower.

Hinke, Hinken, Hincken, Hindrik, Henken ... – through- out the centuries, my name has been written in a multitude of ways. But even with my name being as it is, my former neighbour, gone these hundred years or so, has been called either the Devil’s Mother or the Devil’s Grandmother (Duveldoer, Tuefels-Grossmutter). Which by the way, came from the name of the owner of the building owner, Johannes Duvelsmoderi! Similarly to my name, which is thought to have come from the name of a servant of the town council and stable hand who lived nearby.

While all the towers on Toompea had spiral staircases within their walls, here in the lower-town, they didn’t arrive until the end of the 15th century. But I had a spiral staircase, though it was on my outside, as a separate structure. It can no longer be seen, but it’s lucky that any part of me is still standing because I’m surrounded by buildings on every side. There was serious talk in the 1930s about having me demol- ished altogether!

Since the ground around me is so sloppy - sandy clay and clayish sand – and there was a moat immediately next to the wall along with the overflow pond of the Viru waterwheel, the foundation had to be built on wooden piers and plat- forms. But on the whole, all that moisture and liquid mess did not do anything good for the walls.In 1832 I passed into private ownership. I was evidently used as a storage room for a long time. After that, I was renovated with living and office space.

In any case, I’m now very glad to say that I was quite recently reopened to the public. A very fine food business now oper- ates in my rooms, allowing many visitors to appreciate my inner beauty.

Construction history. Between 1355-1360 the initial two-storey tower was constructed, extended and adapted for gunpowder weapons in 1455.

Kiek In De Kök

I am the city’s most famous and tallest defensive tower, and was built according to the needs of the age of gunpowder.

Tall Hermann looks taller, but he is much skinnier, and besides, stands upon a high rock formation. What’s more, over 300 years ago, lots of earth was piled up around me, which buried my two bottom floors.

At first, I was called “the New Tower behind Boleman’s Sauna”, though by 1577 people were using the name Kyck in de Kaeken, and in 1696 we find the first mention of my current name, Kiek in de Kök, which in low German means “glance into the kitchen“. From my high sixth floor, one could see into the kitchens of the nearby residential buildings or see out to what a besieging enemy army was up to in their “kitchen”, or start- ing position, for instance, on Tõnismäe.

There were serious exchanges of fire during the Livonian War in January of 1577 when Ivan the Cruel’s forces surrounded the city and bombarded it with stone and iron shots from the place where St Karl’s church currently stands. The chronicler Balthasar Russow describes how the enemy’s tower fired day and night but couldn’t inflict any more serious damage “than a hole in one side of the wall so large that two bulls could walk through it side by side”. The approximate location of that dam- age could be seen later by the stone and iron shots that had been mortared into the wall.

Due to the construction of the bastions, about 12 metres of my height was buried. In the second half of the 18th century, my military significance waned, and I was handed over to the government. Among other things, vats of gunpowder were stored here, so I became known as the gunpowder tower. In the first half of the 19th century, there was an ice cellar in my lower floor. Czar Alexander II bestowed my ownership upon the church of St Karl, and its rooms were rented by a heavy sporting club, archival storage, and others. In the1880s, there were discussions about making me a water tower for Toompea. In the 1930s, considerations began around the possibility of converting me into a museum. The Finnish-Estonian writer Aino Kallas had a strong desire to come live here. In 1958 I was given to the Tallinn Municipal museum. During Soviet times, great photography exhibitions were organised here, so I was also called the Photo tower.

Currently, I am part of the museum of the city’s fortifications, along with the neighbouring towers. Through the wall pas- sages, one can get from here to the Stable and the Short Leg Gate Tower through the Maiden Tower, and back. It’s the city’s longest wall passage!

Construction history. This tower, built between 1475-1483 was 33/2 m high and with a diameter of 17.3 m was a defensive structure with a circular shape, whose walls are up to 4 metres thick. Its current height is 49.4 m, along with its massive two-ton defensive top which was added in the 17th century.

Laboratory Street

I am a street along the edge of the city’s western wall, just like Müürivahe Street on the other side of the city along the eastern defensive wall.

Both of us are defensive passage streets from the middle ages. Narrow, dimly lit, and mysterious. Here and there along our bases run arched niches cut into the wall with sharp-tipped Gothic points. In this way, we are similar to the city wall around Visby on the island of Gotland. It was a good way to conserve a lot of stone without making the wall weaker.

Müürivahe (Wall Gap) street and I have also traded names back and forth. Earlier I was Müüri (Wall) Street (Greman – Mauerstrasse), but in 1872 I gained the name Laboratooriumi Street (Laboratoriumstrasse). The name came from the laboratory of the large cannon grenadiers, where they made gunpowder. Müüri Street was then taken to the other side of town – to Müürivahe Street. (Actually, during the Swedish time I was also called Bastion Street. At that time there were earthworks on the other side of the wall).

I stretch from the north at Tolli and Lai streets down to Aida and Kooli streets at the south end. Müürivahe Street is longer today, but I have much more of the old Gothic atmosphere, which is clear to anyone who visits!

Loewenschede Tower

I was probably the first four-story pe- rimeter wall tower in the lower city. I was named after the city council master Winant Louenschede, who directed the construction of the defensive structures on this section of the wall.

When I was completed in 1373, I was 15.5 m high, including my base. The tower could be accessed by the city’s defensive passage, which has been preserved as a niche in the second storey.
I grew by another floor and by volume by the middle of the 15th century so that I was again the tallest and largest tower in the city. I was already called the Big Tower! But then Kiek in de Kök, the city’s first heavy cannon tower was built and surpassed the height and diameter of all the other towers.

At the end of the 18th century, when the need for my defensive capabilities diminished (like all my other colleagues), I began to be refurbished as living quarters. By the end of the 19th century, my residents included, for instance, the master fire-fighters of Reval, Barth and Wagner, and later many other significant city figures. About a half-century ago, the constant renovations to my interior began to compromise my structural integrity, so the restorers installed support posts to hold up my floors and used reinforced concrete for my interior walls. The original dimensions of my floors were restored, as well as the machicolation system.

In the 80’s I was adapted for the use of the Estonian Architecture Museum that was being created, and it was presented here in the mid-’90s. Today, ceramics workers have been active here for years, and a spiral staircase has been built for their use, as well as re-opening the entrance from Towers’ Square.

Construction history. Initial construction was completed in 1370-1373, reconstructed in 1455.

Long Leg Gate Tower

The road leading up to Toompea was already here in the middle ages. In older times, it was even more narrow and steep.

Pikk jalg (Long leg) became the road for vehicles. The foot traffic moved between the higher and lower parts of the city via Lühike jalg (Short leg). It’s appropriate to remember here the old trick trivia question: Why does Tallinn walk with a limp? The answer, one leg is longer than the other! In the Danish years, the way was travelled on horseback, but during the Swedish reign, the traffic was comprised more and more of wagons and carts.

Although the road was widened at the end of the 18th cen- tury and was evened out as much as it could be, it must be said that during the reign of the Czar, the coachmen had to show the very best of their skills here and cry “look out!“ when descending toward the gate. The gate makes a dangerous bend, and its exit leads immediately onto the intersection of three busy roads. Many accidents have been seen here and the tragic loss of life has been witnessed. In the beginning, there wasn’t a gate on this road, but with the development of the lower town, the gate was estab- lished. This is where I start to come into play. Although the gate did not initially have a tower; one was soon construct- ed of wood so that the guards could keep a better eye on the passersby.

The thing is, the upper and lower parts of the town did not get along very well. The defensive wall that runs along the edge of Pikk jalg, which was completed in the 15th century, is also called the wall of distrust.In 1380, the ruler at the time, the master of the Order, finally gave the command to build me as a stone tower. I was given the noble name of Porta Longa Montis! There was still the condition, that if the men of the Order up there didn’t like the tower, that it was to be demolished.

The residents of the lower town closed the gate at 9 during the Order’s reign, but in the Swedish times, it closed at 10. In general, towards the end of the Czar’s rule, the gate was not closed, and the lower and upper parts of the city were finally united as a whole.

True, during the first Republic the gate was closed one more time! On the night of December 1st, when the communists tried to seize power, my gate was closed for the last time. Actually, if I search my more recent memories, there were the events in August of 1991, when the gate’s opening was closed, but not by its doors, which were long gone, but by huge cubes of granite. This was intended to keep the tanks from Pihkva from making their attack on Toompea. It was pretty frightening at Christmas time in 1995, when the building next to me went up in flames. I also caught fire and my top part burned out. But then I got a new roof and a windsock!

Other than watchmen, I also hosted all sorts of other people later. Although soldiers were living here in the 19th century, since the time of the first Estonian Republic, artists have favoured this place as a studio and as a living space. I have hosted such a long line of artists that I probably couldn’t even mention all their names. Well, I might try: some of the first ones were the artists Ludvig Oskar and Ernst Hallop, but there has also been the sculptor Juhan Raudsepp, paint- ers Märt Bormeister and Olev Subbi, the children’s author and artist Edgar Valter, painter Valdur-Olev Ohakas, graphic designer Peeter Ulas, landscape painter Oskar Ludvig, metal artists Heino Müller and Tõnu Lauk, artist, architect, and poet Leonhard Lapin and the art historian Juhan Maiste. Heinz Valk was once thoroughly frightened when upon waking up from an afternoon nap; he noticed an entity hovering in the silence, which was apparently a ghost.

Construction history. The 11-metre high stone gate tower was built in 1380 and raised to a height twice as high in 1450 (20 m). The upper part of the tower was renovated in 1608.


From the depths of history, the 14th century, I have been called Meghede Tower, which probably comes from the name of the building master Hinze Meghede, which in the rural dialect is a word for “mountain”.

I was, after all, erected on the so-called “short mountain” (mons brevis), right next to the “Tall mountain” (mons longhi) or what would come to be known as Toompea.

The name “Maiden Tower” didn’t start to spread until the 19th century, when the Baltic German historians gave me a name that was a bit less of a mouthful – Magde or Mädchen, meaning the servant girl’s tower.

I am the only defensive tower in the city with a quadrilateral main layout whose back is open, that is, without a fourth wall. Currently, there are walls of glass there as windows. I am probably the most frequently re-engineered tower in the whole city! From a three-floor tower to a four-floored defen- sive tower with a roof. Then back to a two-storey residence as the crown of the largest and most beautiful garden in the lower town, then finally back to a medieval tower.

As a residence, I didn’t look at all like a tower when viewed from the city, rather like a giant cake with my classic extend- ing half-circle facade and large windows. All sorts of impor- tant people lived here: the railway importer and therefore bringer of modern city life, the Baron Alexander von Pahlen and also many artists. One of the last to live on the second floor was Karl Burman, our first architect and watercolourist. It was according to his drawings that just nearby, the large Nevski Cathedral, that symbol of Russification and the Czar’s power, was to be demolished in the time of the first Repub- lic. But that was not to be, and in the 1970’s it was actually my living quarters that were demolished and I was restored as a medieval tower. I became more widely known when the Maiden Tower Cafe was opened here in 1980.

It’s said that this tower is also haunted – an old man dressed in black and a girl who is said to have been buried alive within these walls! There are all kinds of stories, even that in the Swedish times this tower was used as a prison for prostitutes. One of the inmates, an ugly woman, is said to have made a deal with the Devil and thereafter became very popular among the clients, until she was finally burned as a witch. This is most likely not a true story.

Construction history. The tower was built by the city with arched niches between the wall probably in the 1360s. In the mid-15th century, the fourth floor was added, and a roof and the tower achieved its present visible height.

Monastery Gate and Wall Walkway

I am called the Monastery Gate (Klosterpforte) as well as the Great Monastery Gate, and even the new Nun’s Gate, although in fact I might rightfully and with pride bear the name Wilhelm Neumann’s gate.

Wilhelm Neumann, the son of a merchant from Mecklenburg, had a bright mind; he was a self-taught historian and architect who accomplished much so that the history of Reval and Riga might be known and appreciated.

I was built according to Neumann’s design at the end of the 19th century when Suur-Kloostri (Great Monastery) street was being established. A neo-gothic gate with a pointed arch and two pedestrian gates were broken into the section of wall between the Nun’s Tower and the Sauna Tower so that the traffic between Old Town and the train station could flow more freely. It had been discovered that the demolition of the mighty Nun’s gate complex that was situated where Nunne street runs today (its removal had been completed just a few years before the trains had started running between St. Petersburg and Reval) did not accomplish the expected increase in traffic flow.

Müürivahe wall-gap street wall walkway

(between Tower behind Monks and Helleman Tower)

Beside me, there was a defensive passage along the wall, where the black monks and preachers would mill about during the middle ages, whose teaching was use- ful to the people in several different ways.

The monks were of help in soul care and in getting the Lord’s blessing, but also in arranging very practical things, for instance, if a letter needed to be written, which of course might never have happened for most com- mon people. Later soldiers wandered through here, and to- day, it is tourists browsing the wares of all kinds of traders.

At the beginning of the 19th-century, residential buildings were constructed along the wall, but most were demol- ished during the Soviet times. The Department of Heritage Preservation would never allow that now! But there are some things that have been preserved, but in general, the prevailing wish is to display the mystical, Gothic, sharp- tipped arches of the niches in the city wall. A lot of stone was conserved in the building of the wall thanks to those niches, and on the other side of the wall, the enemy couldn’t see that the wall was not as thick in some places.

Nun’s Tower

I am very old, a tower built way back in the 14th century, although my name was lost in the Middle Ages. Later, in 1738, I was named Cyster-Thurm or Nun’s Tower.

At first, I was partially a turret – I didn’t reach the ground on the side of the wall that faced the nearby convent. I have been rebuilt several times. Today the side facing town has an interesting acutely-rounded niche. But two towers over, Golden Leg Tower has an obtusely rounded niche.

After my defensive purpose became redundant, I was used for storing gunpowder and foodstuffs. Between 1958 and 1960, rebar concrete steps were built in my lower part, which lead to the wooden defence walkways and the monastery wall parapet complex restored by Wilhelm Neumann. From here one can also walk through Sauna Tower to Golden Leg Tower.

Patkuli Steps

I was completed in 1903, to the great joy of those who love to take romantic walks or to simply stroll around. At the beginning of the 20th-century, walking was still popular because you could see and be seen, and also enjoy “oh, those views!”

The opportunity to climb the viewing plat- form and admire a 180-degree view of the city and harbour became a serious tourist attraction. At that time there was no Facebook or Instagram; not even television or radio. 157 steps led from the beginning of Nunna Street to the Toompea overlook.

Not much of this is remembered at all today, but back then there was a serious discussion about my name. Some thought that I was named after Johan Patkuli, the great traitor of Sweden. My name actually came from the Patkuli redoubt - nearby earthworks which had in turn gotten its name from a completely separate character, a vice-governor during the Swedish time, Dietrich Friedrich von Patkuli.

But during the first period of the Estonian Repub- lic, they found that there was no need to retain his name, since he was responsible for letting the outskirts of the town burn before the Russians invaded during the Northern War, causing over- population in the city which led to the plague spreading even more quickly. This turned out to be a turning point in the war because the city surrendered to the Russians. But, you know what they say about hindsight.

The Patkuli observation deck which was built on the grounds of the former manor house is remembered as a place where people would come during the Occupation and look towards the sea, longing for signs of freedom.

If one looks at the twists and turns of the steps as seen from their foot up to Toompea, the most striking feature is, of course, the proud pil- lars of the state government building which was built between 1787 and 1792 as the municipal residence of count Jakob Pontus Steinbeck. Later, the building was home to several differ- ent owners, the dormitory of the Toom school, and was, for an extended time, a courthouse.

Pilsticker Tower And Stairs

I am the “arrowsharpener”, as I was called in old low German. I was built as the third watchtower of the mighty Order fortress after Tall Hermann and Stür den Kerl.

My type of tower is an overhanging wall-mounted turret called a bartizan - or to use a more lofty name – an échauguette. From my example, other similar towers at the Paide Order fortress and the Padise monastery were built. I was given the location of the north- west corner of the outer wall so that I could keep an eye on enemies approaching from the north and the west. The new line of the Order fortress’ outer wall had just been finished, in the place where it still runs today – high upon the edge of the city’s limestone cliffs. Under the cliffs, a deep and wide moat was dug to keep enemies away. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that a more friendly view was taken towards those who wished to approach the fortress, and steps were built from the foot of the wall up to the Toom- pea scenic platform, much to the joy of those who liked to stroll through the town. Nowadays as a tower, I am more of a deco- ration and something pleasant to look at. More than a century ago my top was redesigned to be even more attractive. Even so, as an “arrow sharpener”, I do my best to make sure that the members of Parliament and other government officials have plenty of sharp pencils.

Construction history. Built at the beginning of the 15th century, damaged in battle in the mid-16th century, upper portion altered during restoration in the 19th century.

Plate Tower

I was built between 1401–1410, between two old and distinguished towers – Köismäe and Epping. I was named after the tower chief Herbord Plate.

Occasionally I am argued over – whether I have the horseshoe-shaped cross-section that is common among the towers of Tallinn, or if my shape could rather be called circular. Well, from Laboratooriumi Street, on the edge from the city side, it is plain to see that one segment of my ring-shaped design has been cut out. I was in the hands of the military for a long time, standing empty and waiting for tenants. Occasionally, especially in the sum- mer, exhibitions are held on my first floor.

Construction history. A 24-metre-high, three-storey tower completed in 1410, with a diameter of 9.75 m.

Ropehill Tower

As a tower with the kind of horseshoe shape that is typical to the city, I have been around since the 1360s, although I was not named the Tower behind Köismäe until over a century later.

The German name Reeperbahn does not actually refer to an area of brothels as in the city of Hamburg, but rather to the rope-twisting workshops of Reval. The Ropehill foundation was between the old town and Kalamaja (Fish-house).

Like most of my tower neighbours here between Laboratoo- riumi street and Towers’ Square, I am also well-preserved and still in use today. But the little Lippe Tower which was next to me was permanently removed in 1933 when the wall was breached to create a gate leading to Aida Street. In the place between myself and Plate Tower on Suurtüki Street, the old wall was simply torn down a hundred years ago. It could very well have gone the same way here as it did for the Convent Gate! Throughout my long history, I have belonged to the military or the Ministry of the Interior. But it’s nice that I have become a theatre tower nowadays. The City Theatre performs here, and other companies have per- formed here as well.

Construction history. Built for defence on the northeast corner of the wall’s western part in the 1360s, initially 13.3 m high and with 3 storeys. Reconstructed between 1436-1437, when the outer walls were thickened and its height was raised to 16 m tall. Its current 5 floors took its height to 26.5 m in 1520, when two defensive floors were added. The lower three floors were used for storage.

Russian Street Wall Walkway

I am one of the oldest and most dignified streets, an artery of the city, which connected the harbour to the market from the very earliest days of the city.

The road led past the large St. Catherine’s Monastery and other monastery buildings, the plaza of the Russian mer- chants and the Russian Church. At first, I was named for the monks – platea monachorum, monnekestrasse. But they left during the Reformation about 500 years ago. The despoiled and burned Dominican monastery’s former root cellar was con- verted into an arsenal (rüsthaus). Thereafter I was thus known by the colloquial Rüststrasse, but at the same time, the name Russ-Strasse or Russian Street came into use. The long-lost monks were still remembered in the 19th century when I was still called Mönchenstrasse.

In 1872, the governor demanded that the street signs should be in all three local languages, and so the German Rüststrasse, though later Russ-Strasse, and in Russian Nikolskaja uulits, after the saint for whom the local Russian Orthodox church is named, Nikolai the miracle-worker. In Estonian, I have, of course, been called Vene (Russian) Street.

Toward the end of the street, starting from the Russian church, I run along a medieval defence wall. Near the very end, the wall was, at length, “cleaned out”, which is to say, the buildings against the wall were demolished in order to present the beauty of the medieval gothic theme-park-like limestone wall with its arched niches. I’m especially lovely in the evening, after the workday, when the traders have packed up all their sweaters and mittens and other brick-a- brack and gone home.

Sauna Tower

I was built between 1371 and 1372 as a small turret and until 1422 I, along with a section of wall, belonged to the Mihkli convent of the Cistercian Order.

The Mihkli convent was for noblewomen – widows and unmarried girls – which according to a lovely legend, was founded based on a vision that the Danish king Erik had in a dream, where “even in summer, snow can be found”.

For a long time, the convent was outside the city walls and was surrounded by its own fence, but a new city wall was built with special instruction from the knight Jens Kanne, a representative of the king, to include the convent. True, the convent had to build the wall and towers with its own workforce. This did not mean that the nuns themselves had to lay the stones. The con- vent had its own property and lands, and from their accounts, all the requisite resources were found to build the defensive structures. The Cistercian monks were truly great builders, but the nuns still do the traditional women’s handiwork. And yes, it’s said that the nuns here would occasionally hold revels in the evenings, even with men there!

Earlier yet, in the 13th century, the convent above me had a 3.5 metre-high wall around it and a women’s sauna stood nearby. This is where my name comes from. In 1422 the stone part
of my structure reached a height of 12 metres. In those days the nuns came into sharp conflict with the city council because the women’s sauna got in the way of the defensive street, and the lords of the council demanded that it be demolished. The master of the Order himself had to intervene! In the end, the old sauna was still destroyed, and the nuns had to find other ways to wash themselves.

In the 19th century, my upper part was already in ruins. It was demolished before its renovation in 1898. When it was re- constructed, it was modelled after the example of the nearby Tower behind Nuns.

Construction history. Built in 1371–1372 as a small turret, raised and modernised along with the wall in 1380 and 1422, when the stone portion of the tower reached a height of 12 metres. Its final form in the middle age was achieved in the mid- 15th century during the course of renovat- ing the city’s defensive towers. The only remaining part of the original medieval tower is its base.

Stable Tower

My name was given after the workshops of the city, which moved out here right under me when I was completed along with my neighbour, the Maiden Tower and the wall that connects us for the defence of the city.

It happened almost 650 years ago. The work yard was called marstall, which means a horse’s stall, although it was smiths’ shops that were here, where one could at first get iron for sled runners, then later weapons were made and later still all the bells and cannons for the city were cast here.

Be warned that my miniature and sweet appearance can be deceiving! During the Swedish time, in the 17th century, I was used as a prison. The “comforts” of my dungeon were not appreciated by the townspeople. It was very cold here and the prisoners were kept in chains so that they wouldn’t slip out and escape through the defensive openings. While the prisoners could admire the views from those openings onto Toompea and the proud young nobles on their horses, at night they were greeted with a much more chilling view: phantoms coming out of the walls of the cells.

The story is known from four centuries ago of a wretched young son of a Burgermeister, Hans von Gerten. His sin was that he had pledged himself in marriage during his infatu- ation with a maiden, but later, as his passions cooled, he did not keep his promise and the young lady’s honour was

wounded. Hans’ mother, who was permitted to visit her
son in his cell, fainted dead away when he recounted his experiences. In any case, since others were complaining of the same things, there was actually a discussion in the city council about whether to close the prison. That is why I am considered to be the oldest haunted tower in Tallinn. It’s said that all of us neighbouring towers here are in general the mightiest stronghold of restless spirits in the whole city! Immediately to my left (when looking from the city) the first breakthrough was made in this section of the wall. It was closed up half a century ago, but the lighter-coloured stone in the arched niche can still be recognised today. After it was closed, a larger opening was made that would allow fire trucks through.

Construction history. Erected in the 1370s, this console or saddle tower was originally 9 metres high. In the mid-15th centu- ry, the tower gained a stairway on the city-facing side along with a half-round upper portion the faced away from the city and its height was already 13 metres. The tower had two defensive floors, the lower of which was open-backed and had a fireplace in the northwest corner. The lower floor’s defensive openings had uniquely slanted floors. The tower’s upper floor was a platform with the traditional sort of openings.


The oldest towers of the city were probably gate towers, but I am certainly one of the oldest conventional towers. Aside from Kiek in de Kök, I am one of the other round towers on the city wall among the many horseshoe-shaped ones.

At first, I did have a quadrilateral main layout, probably a Danish-era construction and the first defensive tower of the harbour. Later, somewhere between 1340–1355 the higher Great Coastal Gate Tower was built nearby. The harbour was a place of great strategic importance! For that reason, several years later, yet another tower was built even closer to defend the waterside. I stood about where the tram stop is today but was lost during the terrible wars of the 16th century.

But more about me. At the beginning of the 15th century, I rose as the high tower of the lower town. In the 19th century, I passed into private ownership, as was the fate of most of the defensive towers of that time, and I was connected to a building on the neighbouring property. Since the end of the 1960s, there have been recreation and party rooms here owned by the innovative producer of catalogues and punch cards, Bit. But from many sauna parties and toilet flushes and leaky pipes, my sandstone founda- tion started to fracture and wash away and, as the experts determined, I would soon fall right over! It was earlier thought that my foundation was a strong, sturdy base, but there you go! Now, methods have been implemented and the situation is under control. But the Department of Heritage Preservation doesn’t allow the use of the sauna anymore.

For a couple of decades now I’ve been owned by a publisher of textbooks. They organise excursions here from time to time for those who are interested.

Construction history.

A two-storey tower built in the early 14th century built up to 23 m in the 15th century.

Tall Hermann

I am a flag tower – the most important in the city – standing high above all the rest. Including my base, I am over 80 metres high and more than 90 metres above sea level. There are none like me nearby, and none farther away either, I hope.

My name means tall warrior or great chief! Kiek in de Kök will, of course, argue that he is taller, but nobody can see that, because he is at a lower elevation, and comes up through the ground. Besides, Kök has a very tall spire, whereas I have nothing covering my top. But there’s a reason that I have no roof. I’ll say it again: as
a flag tower I’m not just a symbol of the city, but one for
the whole country.

Innumerable flags have been taken up and down on my mast. The blue, black, and white flag was first raised on December 12, 1918, and remained there until the summer of 1940. After that, there was a red flag with a star and a sickle, another red one with a swastika, and then for quite a while, a red flag with sea waves. It might just be a legend, but I’ve heard that the punk rockers who found shelter in the bastion tunnels at the foot of the hill used to steal those Estonian SSR flags and use them as bed sheets. Now the blue, black, and white has flown every day since February 24th, 1989. (By the way, the flags that fly here, which are made of weatherproof fabric, are numbered and archived after they have served their purpose. In a year, the flag is usually changed six times.)

The palisade between the Maiden Tower and the Stable Tower

The higher wall was built at the beginning of the 14th century, at first as a smaller and thinner wall, but elevated and reinforced at the beginning of the 15th century to accommodate gunpowder weap-

ons. But then, in order to provide earlier defence against cannon fire and as a place for heavy cannons, a second, support wall was built, also called a palisade. This ran in the same way as the first as far as the Goat Tower to begin with, but by the time Kiek in de Kök was built, it reached him also. Today, the Goat Tower has already been destroyed, and the path of the wall to Kök is just marked as a trail.

Before the earthworks, there was a deeper depression in the wide, open area between the wall and Toompea. 300 years ago, when the redoubts were built, it was filled with earth. Now, Commandant Park is here. Through one of the old arrow loops that were restored in the parapet in the 1970s, romantic walkers might see the sculpture of Adam and Eve by Elen Kolk framed by that opening. At first the original stood there, but since vandals seemed to want to take it upon themselves to supplement the art in their own way, it was taken away altogether, and a copy was installed in its place.

Three Monks

The sculptures of the monks in the Danish King’s Garden allude to the stories and legends associated with this historically significant yard and liven up the area for both the residents and visitors. Simson von Seakyll (Aivar Simson) and Paul Männi’s work Three was born in the course of the idea competition organised by the city and executed in the autumn of 2015 with financing from Kapitel. Three 2.5-metre bronze statues are standing in the Danish King’s Garden: Expectant Monk Ambrosius, Praying Monk Bartholomeus, and Watchful Monk Claudius. The sculpture installation is completed by a lighting solution and information board on the city wall.

The garden, which was called Short Hill (mons brevi) in the oldest records and which extends from the side of Tall Hill (mons longhi) or what is now called Toompea, was also called Marstall or Work Yard during the middle ages. Established in the 19th century (as a private holding), it was known as the Nestler, Liemann, and Sievers garden. Later, the name, “King’s Garden”, came into use and now it is known as the “Danish King’s Garden”.

Many strange stories can be told from here, since the end of the 18th century when the towers surrounding this garden area began to be converted for the use as living quarters. Based on these stories, this area could claim to be the most haunted place in the city. Although Tallitower has the oldest ghost stories, the most frequent subject of haunting accounts is the gate tower at Short Leg, where living quarters have remained for over a century. The most popular ghost was a monk or several monks at a time. Usually, the monk appears as a giant figure of light and other times as a provider of admonishing or inspiring messages. The last time that the monk was seen was in the mid-1980s during the Old Town days when the Polish were restoring the medieval shape of the tower.

Cultural historian, Jüri Kuuskemaa, often talks about a resident of the tower named Arnold Kallas who once saw four monks dancing at the same time. Based on that story, the sculpture was made not of four but of three monks. It was considered that the monk or black monk’s name was Justinus. The sculptors, Paul Männ and Aivar Simson (known collectively as Seaküla Simsoni), named the sculpture Ambrosius, Bartholomeus, and Claudius.

In his time as a resident, the director of the ancient music group Hortus Musicus, Andres Mustonen, had the building consecrated and cleansed of its spirits. Perhaps that is why they no longer appear. However, since the gate tower connects the upper city of Toompea with the lower city, some consider that the power games have created a standoff. They have sometimes been so intense that the monks have had to return to pray again.

Toompea Slope

I am Toompea, the beginning of the city and the seat of its power.

This high cliff developed long ago, a hundred million years ago, during the Ordovician period. At the begin- ning of human history in this area, I - a limestone
or “tall mountain”, mons longa, as I was known in the first writings – could be the biggest and highest. My limestone was broken up to use for building. On my south face and on Tõnismäe, which used to be connected to me, the limestone layer is all but gone.

According to ancient mythology, local people say that my summit is the grave of Kalev, the pile of stones that his widow Linda is said to have gathered together. Here in the depths of old Kalev’s resting place, all sorts of treasures are said to have been hidden, and real-life fortune hunters have gone looking for them, too.

I wasn’t actually an official part of the city until the end of
the 19th century; I was the ruler’s land. Knights, barons and important church fathers have built glorious buildings here, which have, as opposed to the lower city, all burned down
at one time or another. There was an especially large fire at the end of the 17th century and new manor houses did not rise here again until the 18th century. Only in the cathedral can the oldest Danish-era part still be found. The cathedral is likely the oldest remaining structure in the city.

Occasionally my limestone shelf shakes and crumbles and several buildings have become structurally unsound. Still, the Toompea slope has been fortified over the ages and the majority of the natural cliff is covered with a defensive wall.

Tower Behind Grusbeke

I was built to reinforce the segment of wall at its bend between Renten and Epping Towers when the city was getting richer and richer through trade with the Hanseatic League (which is to say – while selling salt from Russia).

I was named after the owner of a nearby house. To see me from outside the wall, from the Suurtüki courtyard, I appear to be quite round. However, from the inside on Laboratory street, one can clearly see that the city wall intersects a portion of me like a tendon and makes me flat there. Just like Plate Tower nearby, my first floor is a high storage room covered in cylinder vaults. The machicolations are higher, on the second and third floors.

Currently, I can be recognised by my wooden steps which allow access up to the tower, but those were added fairly recently. Although I did have something similar in the olden days when I joined segments of the wall together that had been built at different times. The stairs lead right up to the second floor.

Construction history. Constructed all at once in 1410 as a three-storey defensive tower.

Tower Behind Monks

I was named for my location – I stand right behind one of the city’s most important institutions, the St. Catherine’s Dominican Monastery.

The black monks, preaching brothers, or dogs of God, as they were called, were important to the people of the city – they could speak Estonian and taught the common people and were otherwise very industrious. The built a huge complex which included monastery rooms and a large church. But the arrival of the Protestant Reformation made their situation untenable; they had to leave, and their sanctuary was burned.

I’ve been set aflame several times as well. I was on fire dur- ing the great fire of 1433, so I know what I’m talking about. Even as recently as 25 years ago, I was in a pretty pickle with a “red cap”. During the Swedish time, in the 17th century, I was popularly called “Fuse Tower” (Lunten Thurm), since I was used as an ammunition dump until the end of the 18th century.

I was privatised at the beginning of the 19th century, as hap- pened with many other towers. Living quarters and storage rooms were built here. I was restored between 1970 and 1980 and a café was opened. After the fire in 1993, I stood vacant for a long time and the subject of my ownership was disputed. Now I’ve been made ship-shape once again.

Construction history. Initial construction completed in 1355, reconstructed in 1437. Six storeys, height 21.7 m.

Tower Behind Nuns

I am a small turret, or to use a slightly fancier word, a console tower, which similarly to other defensive structures of my type, like Stable Tower or my almost-neighbour, Sauna Tower, looks like I was set right down on the wall.

Ilook especially tiny next to my mighty neighbour Loewen- schede, but even next to my other neighbour, Golden Leg Tower. By the way, I was also constructed under the direction of master Louenschede at some point in the early 1370s.

Most of the city’s towers get their names from a person or location, and so do I. I was first called the “Tower Behind
the Nuns” (Arkel ageter den Susteren), since I stood in the courtyard behind St Michael’s Monastery. It was probably with money collected by the nuns that I was built in the first place. And of course, for the defence of those Cistercian nuns and not so that I could peek in on the activities of those virtuous brides of Christ.

To get a picture of my good side, the view from the Towers’ Square is best, which is the most convenient place to view me anyway. Everyone likes my lovely round arches, which join the three consoles which support me on the wall.

Construction history. The initial tower built between 1372– 1374 was only 2 metres higher than the city wall, measuring 10 metres from its base. Over the course of the renovations, it increased in height to 20 m. Its diameter – only 3.2 m.

Tower Behind Wulfard

I’m called Tower behind Wulfard after Wulffard Rosendale, who was the tower chief in 1410 and lived nearby.

Welford was a merchant and the former Burger- meister of Turu, but he fell upon financial difficulties and debt when he moved to Tallinn, so he pawned his home and became a ward of the convent of St. Bridget (Pi- rita). Soon after, the name Wulffard was crossed out on the list of tower chiefs, most likely due to his death.

My story is a bit sad as well. Currently, only one of my storeys can be seen, but at one time I was four storeys high! Since the heavy cannon tower of the Great Coast Gate (that is, Fat Margaret) was built very close by in 1529, and the bastion was established shortly thereafter, my military importance was lost, and I was just left to crumble in disrepair.

After the great fire of St. Peter’s Day (June 29th) in 1757, where nearly the entire quarter burned down, including the nearby municipal palace of Peter I, which had just been built 30 years earlier. I was marked as a burnt-out gunpowder storage tower, even though there was no gunpowder there at the time. It’s a good thing, too – otherwise, there probably wouldn’t even be as much of me left as there is now!

In 1870 I was dismantled down to the height of the wall, after which I was only used as an arched entryway to the property of the millmeister Wilhelm (the current Tolli St. #4). After the renovations that took place in the 1980s, I have been in use by the Tallinn City Archive. All’s well that ends well?

Construction history. Built in 1370 initially with a semicircular primary layout. Built to its full height (probably four floors) with a horse- shoe shape by 1450.

Tower’s Square

Every day in this place is like an unending parade of towers!

If you start to list them from Nunne street, that is, from the south, then the display begins with the Nun’s Tower, fol- lowed by the Sauna Tower and the Golden Leg Tower, the Tower behind Nuns, and Loewenschede Tower... then you can take a short breath at the place of the Lippe Tower, where there has been an entrance to the Old Town for decades now. But the proud overview – let us not be bashful, actually the grand spectacle – continues with the Rope Hill Tower, then we find another small break in the wall for Suurtüki Street and then it’s on to the grand finale with Plate, Epping, and Tower behind Grusbeke towers. What a magnificent view!

By the way, 300 years ago in the middle ages, the green area, the so-called Nun’s Dome, belonged to St. Michael’s Mon- astery. Earth was piled up against the walls to build bastion fortifications against heavy cannons. This is where the great Finlandia bastion was established. Only three of the eleven bastions planned for around the city wall were eventually built, the closest other one being the Skone Bastion, or the current Coastal Gate Hill (Rannaväravamägi). Even so, there was quite a lot of earth that was piled up here, called the Palmquist redoubt. In the mid-19th century, the earthen mounds were levelled, and a green area was established, first as rental grazing land. After that, in the late 19th century, the exhibition square of the Agricultural Association was built here. The area was filled with wooden exhibition buildings, the largest of which, the Rotund, sur- vived until it was destroyed by fire in 1933. At that time, the former exhibition square was converted into a park.

After the war, from 1946 to 1961, the area was called Stalin- grad Square! Between 1950-1990 the image of the chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, could be admired on the backdrop of the medieval towers. In recent years, international flower festivals have been held here near the walls.

Wall walkway between renten tower and tower behind grusbeke

Could there be trace or even a clue to be found be- tween my limestone bricks of Tallinn’s oldest known wall, Margaret’s wall, built between 1265 and 1282, which has been a Holy Grail for archaeologists?

The Renten Tower, named after the City council master Arnds von Renthen, was built four storeys high at the bend in the northwest corner of the city wall in the mid- dle ages, though with the loss of its defensive value had begun to fall into serious disrepair at the end of the 19th century and was finally demolished to make room for the construction of other buildings. For a long time, it was thought that all traces of the tower had been destroyed. However, thanks to the removal of structures adjacent to the city wall several years ago, some remnants of Renten Tower were recovered from a wall of the building at Lai 49. Now the half-rounded contour of the tower can be clearly seen in the wall of the building on Lai Street where it meets the city wall.

Wall-gap street wall walkway

(between Harju Gate and Assauwe Tower)

At first, I was just a narrow defensive passage along the side of the wall, where common people usually had no business and where they were not in fact allowed to just hang around.

Still, there were women of the night who moved through here, who weren’t wanted in the city square. It’s thought that there was actually a bordello here called The Red Mill. The girls did not have it too badly. When the city council demanded that even they contribute straw for the feeding the council’s horses, they preferred to just give the equivalent in cash rather than go out and wave a sickle around. 500 years ago, the large main gate that’s just around the corner from here, Harju Gate, was closed – a large earthen redoubt was piled up over it. Then this defensive passage became very quiet indeed. Life began to flicker here again when the gate was opened back up a couple of centuries later. At the beginning of the 19th century, residential build- ings, hovels, and workshops started to spring up around me. In 1872 I was given the name Müüri – or Wall – Street (Mauerstrasse).

It was even more exciting in the golden ’30s when inside the wall the restaurant and nightclub Dancing Paris was built. As musical as Estonians are, they twirled their feet like crazy to the accompaniment of the hottest bands of the day. After the March Bombings, nothing but ruins were left here, al- though the city wall remained intact. When the new Stalinist constructions arose, the street was all of a sudden twice as wide.