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.