The Old Town
Old Town © Neil Howard
Tallinn's historic centre is the focus for most visitors to the city and the hub of major tourist attractions. The walled Old Town is divided into two parts: Toompea Hill, the residential area of the aristocracy and gentry in days of yore, while the Lower Town operated independently. Much of it dating from the 11th century, the Old Town is extremely well preserved, its powerful stone buildings having ensured that it was not destroyed despite frequent invasions over the centuries.
Visitors revel in Town Hall Square, ringed by the beautiful Town Hall and its adjacent pharmacy, which is still operating on the site it has occupied since 1422. The Old Town is also full of churches, like St Olav's, which was perhaps the tallest church in Medieval Europe, dating from the early 13th century. The old town walls and its many fortresses made up one of the strongest defence systems in northern Europe by the 16th century. The dominating landmark on Toompea is the magnificent Alexander Nevsky Russian Orthodox Cathedral. The medieval atmosphere is particularly evident in St Catherine's passage, between Vene and Muurivahe Streets, where visitors can stroll past the open studios of artists and craftsmen who have laboured here for centuries.
Address: Tourist Information Centre, Niguliste 2/Kullassepa 4, in the centre of the Old Town