Tallinn Town Hall

Tallinn Town Hall is notable for being the oldest and last surviving Gothic Town Hall in Northern Europe, which includes the Baltics and Scandinavia. In fact, in 2004, the building celebrated its 600th birthday. Along with the Doge’s Palace in Venice, Italy (14th century); the Town Hall in Lübeck, Germany (13th-14th centuries); and the Town Hall of Narva, Estonia (17th century), it is one of the most famous surviving town halls. Located within the ancient market square (bottom) of Tallinn’s Old Town, this 2-story building was initially where urban citizens held meetings. Later, it was used as a government building, a courthouse, a theatre, and as a place to introduce new goods. Today, it also welcomes visitors as a concert venue and a museum, which focuses on the building’s centuries-long historical and architectural value.

Notable features of the building include:

  • a 210-foot tower, which one may climb via a narrow 115-step staircase, wide enough for only a single person
  • a vane of the figure “Old Thomas” – dating from 1530, this important symbol of Tallinn is shown wearing the clothing of a 16th-century city guard and is now kept in the ancient basement
  • a main facade decorated with several dragon-headed gargoyle figures
  • Visited: 2012
  • UNESCO: 1997 (in conjunction with the Old Town)

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