Photo
Tiit Veermäe
Before After

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.