Town Hall - uVisitRussia

Town Hall

The Tallinn Town Hall is a building in the Tallinn Old Town, Estonia, next to the Town Hall Square. It is the oldest town hall in the whole of the Baltic region and Scandinavia.

The building is located in the south side of the ancient market square and is 36.8 metres long. The west wall is 14.5 metres in length, and the east is 15.2 meters. It is a two-storey building with a spacious basement.

The vane Old Thomas on the top of the Town Hall's tower, that has been there since 1530, has become one of the symbols of Tallinn. The height of the tower is 64 metres. Tallinn Town Hall is located on the Town Hall Square, where the streets Kullassepa street, Dunkri street and Vanaturu kael lead. One of the shortest streets of Tallinn is Raekoja tänav, which is located behind the Town Hall.

The town hall was built by what was then the market square. The town hall square got its current length in the 1370s. Covered with a board roof in 1374, the town hall was probably a single-decked stone building with a basement. The attic was used as a storeroom. The facade of this long and narrow building is now a rear wall of the arcade, where you can still see some of the simple statuary framed windows from this time.

A Town Hall with a huge meeting room was firstly mentioned in a Real Estate book in 1322 as a "consistorium", which had a giant warehouse (cellarium civitatis) for that time. Some walls in the eastern part of the modern town hall and seven windows in the basement and on the ground floor have remained from that time. In 1364, it was called a playhouse (teatrum) and in 1372 a town hall (rathus).

The Town council controlled the town's political, economic and partly even parlour action. The Town Hall was often a courthouse and a place to introduce goods; sometimes it was even used as a room for theatre, as you can conclude from the word "teatrum". Therefore, it was very important to be placed in the heart of the town and to look representative.

Although the city power worked in the Town Hall until 1970, it still holds the role of a representational building of a city administration and welcomes visitors as a concert venue and a museum, where you can get to know the centuries-long historical and architectural value of the Tallinn Town Hall. In conjunction with the Tallinn Old Town, the Town Hall has been on the UNESCO world Heritage Sites list since 1997. In 2004, Tallinn Town Hall celebrated its 600th birthday.

In 2005, the Tallinn town hall received a high recognition – 2nd prize, in the category of conservation of Architectural Heritage for the revival of the last surviving Gothic Town Hall in Northern Europe and the exemplary revealing of all the historical layers of this icon of the great European tradition of municipal power. The prize was presented to Elvira Liiver Holmström, the director of Tallinn Town Hall by Queen Sofía of Spain at the European Heritage Awards Ceremony which was held on 27 June 2006 at the Palacio Real de El Pardo, Madrid. Europa Nostra medal was presented to Tallinn Town Hall at the ceremony on 15 September 2006 by Siim Kallas, Vice President of the European Commission, and Thomas Willoch, Europa Nostra board member.