Tallinn Medieval Old Town (Self Guided), Tallinn

Old Town is the most popular tourist destination in Tallinn. Constructed within the 13th-16th centuries, when Tallinn was an active member of the Hanseatic trade league, the Old Town slowly evolved into an enclosed district of colorful, ancient gabled houses, medieval towers and gates, half-hidden courtyards, and ostentatious churches. Old Town Tallinn is undoubtedly worth a visit.
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Tallinn Medieval Old Town Map

Guide Name: Tallinn Medieval Old Town
Guide Location: Estonia » Tallinn (See other walking tours in Tallinn)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.4 Km or 0.2 Miles
Author: leticia
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Olde Hansa Krambude
  • Town Hall Square
  • Holy Spirit Church (Puhavaimu Kirik)
  • Estonian History Museum - Great Guild Hall
  • House of the Brotherhood of Black Heads
Olde Hansa Krambude

1) Olde Hansa Krambude

Olde Hansa Krambude is a medieval-style restaurant where you will find the staff dressed up in traditional medieval outfit. Olde Hansa Krambude is also a nice gift shop, offering the 15th century crockery, silver jewelery, jars of spice, medieval clothes, handmade glassware, and pottery.
Town Hall Square

2) Town Hall Square (must see)

Town Hall Square is located in the heart of downtown Tallinn, Estonia, adjacent to Tallinn Town Hall. It is most prominently known as a gathering place for the locals, as many wonderful festivals and concerts are held here each year.

The main purpose of the location, though, is as a commercial marketplace for many vendors in town. This is a good place to come on market days to find deals on local foods, cheeses, baked goods, and the like. During festival times, such as Christmas, the place is alive with fun and entertainment. In fact, the local community places a large Christmas tree in the middle of Town Square each season. It is something to behold.

In older days, however, the Town Hall Square was not such a happy place. It used to be used as the place where executions were carried out. So, it is highly fitting that the place has a happier appeal in current times.

In the immediate vicinity of the Square, though, are some great bars and restaurants that add to the night life of Tallinn, so you may want to check out those locations while visiting.
Holy Spirit Church (Puhavaimu Kirik)

3) Holy Spirit Church (Puhavaimu Kirik) (must see)

There is a lot of historicity associated with the Holy Spirit Church of Tallinn. In 1531, they became the very first church to hold regular worship services in Estonian. The pastor at the time was Johann Koell, who also happens to be the person who authored the oldest surviving book known that was written in Estonian. With the assistance of Pastor Simon Wanradt from the St. Nicholas Church, they compiled a short catechism for the people in German and Estonian. It was published circa 1535.

Pastor Balthasar Russow of the Holy Spirit Church is another famous author/clergyperson from the organization. He wrote a history book on the countries of Estonia and Livonia, as well as the war that happened between both countries in the 16th Century.

The building dates back to the 1200s, which also served as an almshouse church and chapel for the magistrate of Tallinn. From an architectural perspective, the locals call the church the museum of styles, because the sanctuary and altar have artifacts from the medieval, Baroque, and Renaissance periods. You will also want to see the woodcarvings on the balcony that were done by Elert Thiele, as well as the arch and pews. The work is exquisite. The church bell here is also the oldest surviving in the country, dating back to 1433.

The church holds services in English, every Sunday at 3.00 p.m.
Estonian History Museum - Great Guild Hall

4) Estonian History Museum - Great Guild Hall (must see)

The Great Guild Hall is a wonderful old Gothic style structure that is located in the Old Town part of Tallinn. It is not very far from Town Hall, and is just a couple of blocks south of St. Olaf’s Church. You can find it directly across from the Holy Spirit Church. It was built over a three year period that started in 1407, so this building has been around for a long time. It was first used as a meeting place for Tallinn’s Merchant’s Union. During medieval times, local craft guilds controlled most aspects of business and commerce throughout this part of the world. The merchants of Tallinn banded together and became quite wealthy in their own right. In modern times, there are several old rooms which have been renovated and opened to the general public.

The Hall now houses the Estonian History Museum, which brings to life over eleven thousand years of history of this part of the world. The displayed objects include archeological pieces, archived materials, ethnography, photography, glass and porcelain.

The Great Guild Hall is open to the general public daily 10 -18 (2 May - 30 Sep) and Tue - Sun 10–18 (1 Oct - 30 Apr). Admission is €5.
House of the Brotherhood of Black Heads

5) House of the Brotherhood of Black Heads

If you want to get a chance to see a piece of beautifully preserved Renaissance architecture in Tallinn, then you will want to visit the House of the Brotherhood of Black Heads. In fact, it is the only such surviving structure in downtown Tallinn.

From a historical perspective, the House was owned by an organization of young merchants from other countries, who worked throughout Estonia and Livonia during the late 14th Century. A house of some sort was on the property here for many years before the group purchased the land in the 16th Century. Major reconstruction took place in 1597.

From an architectural standpoint, the building reflects a Dutch interpretation of Renaissance artwork and styling. For instance, it is a two nave arched hall. The stunning painted doors are also quite Dutch in style, and are common among similar buildings located throughout the Low Countries. There is lots of ornamentation in the trim and doors of the building also.

The institution is open to the general public every day of the week from 10:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. The best part is that admission is free. Occasionally, the location is used as a venue for concerts and conferences.

Walking Tours in Tallinn, Estonia

Create Your Own Walk in Tallinn

Create Your Own Walk in Tallinn

Creating your own self-guided walk in Tallinn is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Tallinn's Latin Quarter

Tallinn's Latin Quarter

Tallinn's Latin Quarter is an interesting district in the centre of the city. The Latin Quarter features the prominent Masters’ Courtyard, Gothic Dominican Monastery Museum, popular Tallinn City Museum, captivating Dominican Monastery Claustrum, and the marvelous St. Catherine’s Passage.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.6 Km or 0.4 Miles
Tallinn's Historical Churches

Tallinn's Historical Churches

Tallinn is home to various Medieval-style religious buildings and places of worship. These buildings have played an important role in the city's religious life and present Tallinn's greatest artistic talent. Tallinn’s churches are historic landmarks and true architectural treasures, so make sure you do not miss out on a chance of a lifetime.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Tallinn Art Galleries

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Tallinn boasts a wide selection of art galleries, most of which are concentrated in the Old Town. The galleries often change their exhibitions every few days, so the experience is always fresh and exciting.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Tallinn's Monuments

Tallinn's Monuments

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 Km or 1.2 Miles
Tallinn Old Towers and Gates

Tallinn Old Towers and Gates

Tallinn was once Europe's greatest fortified city and still houses a vast range of magnificent defense towers and historic gates. These unique constructions are a precious treasure of medieval architecture and have played witness to an important time of the world's history.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Tallinn Museums

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Tallinn is home to several of Europe's most interesting and impressive museums. The museums specialize in everything, from history and art to old-fashioned dolls, photo cameras, musical instruments, and sea mines. Take a journey through Tallinn's museums and explore the history and culture of this great city.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles