Estonia, Toompea Castle

Estonia, Toompea Castle

Old Tallinn consists of two parts: Upper Town and Lower. The upper is on the hill of Toompea (from Estonian Toompea – which means “cathedral hill”). These two, located nearby, settlements throughout their history lived different lives. In the upper city, foreign noblemen and rulers settled, and in the lower town – merchants, artisans, etc.

The first settlement on the territory of the old Tallinn was a wooden fort on Toompea hill, which was founded around the 11th century. In 1219, the Danes, led by King Waldemar II, captured this fortification. From this moment, Vyshgorod became the location of foreign rulers. The Danes started building a stone fortress.

In 1346 the city passed into the hands of the Livonian Order, which began to actively modernize the castle. As a result of this restructuring, the castle acquired a quadrangular shape, in the corners of which were built 4 towers. The first tower, built in 1360-70 years, was a 48-meter building, known as the “Long Herman”. Its modern appearance it acquired in the 15th century, when it was built on 10 meters. Next was built the tower Styur-den-Curl from the south-east side. It had the shape of an octagon, placed on a square base.

Toompea Castle

Simultaneously with this was built a small tower Pilštike, built in the north-west corner of the castle. In 1502, in the northeast, the Landskrona tower was built, which today we can observe in a dilapidated state. On the west side, Toompea Castle was protected by a rocky cliff, and on other sides it was surrounded by a 15-meter ditch.

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Since the beginning of the 16th century, the castle began to lose its defensive significance, and gradually became a representative building – a palace. Since the middle of the 18th century, in the castle after a long desolation that began since the time of the Northern War, restoration work began. By the decree of Catherine the Great, instead of the eastern wall, a late Baroque palace was built, which became the residence of the Estland governor-general. The moat was filled with stones left from the ruined wall. At the same time, the castle lost the tower of Styur-den-Curl.

Until now, the north and west walls and three towers have been preserved. However, if you look at the castle on the west side, it will make an indelible impression: a huge structure hangs over a precipitous hill. This spectacle captures both day and night, when lights turn on.

Since 1918, the government has been located in the castle, and today the building is occupied by the Estonian parliament – the Riigikogu (Riigikogu est.). The Estonian parliament is the supreme body of state power and takes the most important decisions in the country, such as appointing the prime minister and judges of the Supreme Court. Today, the Estonian flag is being developed on the 48-meter long German Tower.

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