Photo
Tiit Veermäe
Before After

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.