Old Tallinn is the medieval district of the Estonian capital city. It is a well-preserved area full of semi-ruined buildings, ancient bastions, and cobbled alleyways.
The vibrant city offers many sites rich with tradition, from fortified walls to preserved fortifications, churches to town halls – making it a must-see for travelers around the world.
Many historical attractions, such as Toompea Castle, Kadriorg Palace, Kiek in de Kök tower, and St Olaf’s Church, can be found within Old Tallinn’s borders and offer insight into centuries of culture and tradition.
Old Tallinn Facts for Kids
- Old Tallinn is the historic center of Estonia’s capital city.
- It has a well-preserved medieval wall and watchtowers.
- The city was founded in the 13th century.
- It was once a member of the Hanseatic League.
- Old Tallinn has a mix of Gothic and Baroque architecture.
- It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Old Tallinn has a lively market square with street performers and vendors.
- It is home to many museums and galleries, including the Estonian History Museum.
What’s the History of Old Tallinn?
The city of Tallinn has gone through many name changes and different periods of rule, but its origin can be traced all the way back to 5000 BC.
The original name was Qlwn, as described by Muhammad al-Idrisi in 1154. The location was called a ‘town like a large castle,’ a sentiment which still holds true today.
In 1219, Northern Estonia fell under Danish control after the Battle of Lyndanisse – ushering in a new age for the future capital city.
Located on the crossroads of Western and Northern Europe, as well as Russia, this area was renamed Reval in 1285 and subsequently fortified.
The Tallinn Town Hall weather vane, which symbolizes the city’s solidarity, was installed at the top of the spire in 1530.
As early as the 16th century, Lutheranism started to take root within Tallinn due to the influence of the Reformation movement.
Following industrial expansion during 1889’s Industrial Revolution, aided by Russification measures combined with the World War I outbreak – independence for Estonians seemed just around the corner.
This resulted in a manifesto being proclaimed in 1918 – culminating with Tallinn becoming recognized as an independent democratic state on August 20th, 1991.
Explore the Geography and Geology of Old Tallinn
Geologically speaking, Old Tallinn lies on top of an ancient rock layer created during the Quaternary Period. Beneath, you can find a generous amount of sediments like sand, gravel, pebbles, limestone, and other materials that were moved by glaciers.
Weather-wise, this city has quite a versatile climate with long cold winters and short warm summers.
The winter season consists mainly of heavy snowfall with very limited sunshine – oftentimes only up to half an hour in December!
Upper and Lower Old Town
The Old Town of Tallinn is steeped in history, and there’s an upper and lower part—the latter known as The Lower Town. It’s the perfect place to explore what life was once like during Medieval times.
Built upon a hill overlooking the city, Toompea Hill can also be found within this ancient town, likely being the first structure that was ever constructed in Tallinn.
The Old Town used to be populated by wealthy merchants coming from both Germany and Denmark who spared no expense in leading luxurious lifestyles.
Everything from high-end boutiques to grandiose gothic buildings was all part of the landscape during that time, many of which still stand today.
Time Travel Effect
Visiting the Old Town is akin to traveling back in time—you can still find remnants of old buildings as well as cobblestone streets that have literally stood for centuries. It’s no wonder, then, why so many tourists flock here yearly — it really does feel like taking a step back into Medieval living!
Important Facts and Overview
Old Tallinn is a city with a timeless charm and rich history.
The Medieval features of this place have been fully maintained, featuring big mercantile establishments, cobblestone streets, churches, and buildings from the Middle Ages.
And under its streets are 17th-century tunnels that were used during World War II – they are as mysterious as they are historical. You can also find several signature drinks in Old Town, like Vana Tallinn, which is a very sweet liqueur.
Established in 1246, the Dominican St Catherine’s Monastery in Tallinn is the oldest of its kind and operates as a summer museum, open to visitors.
Remarkably enough, chimney sweeps here still wear 19th-century uniforms bringing another kind of charm to the town.
During the Soviet Era, Tallinn became known for being one of the few places where Western TV programming could be watched, making it popular among locals. The 1980 Moscow Olympics sailing events were held here too!
Just outside of Old Tallinn resides Lake Ulemiste, where an old mythical story lies–about how Ulemiste Elder waits for the city to flood–adding yet again another level of intrigue to this age-old city!
Intangible Cultural Heritage list, this event honors Estonian culture through song and dance every five years.
Suur Munamägi, Estonia’s highest peak at 318 meters, is located in the city (1,043 feet).
Lake Peipus, which is located near Old Tallinn and is half inside Estonia and partially within Russia, is the country’s largest lake.
Old Tallinn was founded in the 13th century and underwent major expansion as a member of the Hanseatic League throughout the 16th century.
The city is famous for its well-preserved medieval walls and watchtowers, as well as its Gothic and Baroque architecture.
In conclusion – old Tallinn continues to be an iconic destination not just amongst its own but far beyond too!