Eastern and Central Europe (Eyewitness Travel Guides)

(Ben Green) #1


For hotels and restaurants in this region see pp116–17

Clock at Holy
Spirit Church

Outdoor tables of the cafés around Town Hall Square

Great Guild Hall^3
Suurgildi hoone

Pikk jalg 17. Map D3. Tel 641

  1. @ 5, 40. v 1, 2, 3, 4.

    11am–6pm Thu–Tue. & =

    Estonian History Museum #
    Mar–Oct: 11am–6pm Wed–Sun;
    Nov–Feb: 11am–5pm http://www.eam.ee

One of the most important
buildings in medieval
Tallinn, the Great Guild
Hall was constructed in

  1. It was owned by a
    power ful union of wealthy
    merchants and was mainly
    used as a gathering place for
    the members of the Great
    Guild. The starting as well as
    the end point of most festive
    processions of Tallinn, it
    was sometimes also rented
    out for wedding parties and
    court sessions.
    The late-Gothic building
    has retained its original
    appearance through the
    centuries, although
    the windows were
    remodelled in the
    1890s. The Great
    Guild Hall’s majestic
    interior provides the
    perfect setting for
    a branch of the
    Estonian History
    Museum. The
    museum’s collection
    of historical artifacts
    covers Estonian history from
    the Stone Age to the mid-19th
    century in fine detail. The
    exhi bits, which include
    everything from jewellery to
    weaponry, are accompanied
    by explana tory texts in
    Estonian, Russian and English.

Town Hall 1

Tallinna raekoda

Raekoja plats 1. Map D3. Tel 645

  1. @ 5, 40. v 1, 2, 3, 4. # Jul–
    Aug: 10am–4pm Mon–Sat (by appoint-
    ment). & 8 - http://www.tallinn.ee/

One of the most revered
symbols of Tallinn, the Town
Hall dates back to 1404. Its
high-pitched roof is supported
by two tall gables and a late-
Renaissance spire crowns the
slender octagonal tower. The
windows and crenel lated para-
pet complete the building’s
impressive appear ance. Inside
the building, it is possible to
see the Citizens’ Hall and the
Council Hall, although most
visitors head straight for the
tower and the 115-step ascent
to the top. Facing the Town
Hall is the Town Hall Square
(see pp100–101), with a
vaulted arcade running along
its north façade. Small cafés
put out tables here in summer.

Holy Spirit

Pühavaimu kirik

Pühavaimu 2. Map D3. Tel 644

  1. @ 5, 40. v 1, 2, 3, 4.

    May–Sep: 9am–5pm Mon–Sat;

    Oct–Apr: 10am–3pm Mon–Sat. &
    5 3pm (in English). http://www.eelk.ee/

Considered one of the most
beautiful churches in Tallinn,
the Gothic building of the
Holy Spirit Church served as
the Town Hall chapel before

being converted into a church.
Its whitewashed exterior
includes the oldest public
clock in Tallinn, with carvings
dating from 1684. The step-
ped gable is topped by a
striking Baroque tower. The
spire was nearly des troyed by
fire in 2002, but was
restored within a
year. Inside, the
church is a treasure
trove of religious
artifacts and archi-
tecture, from the
magnificently intri-
cate Baroque pews
to the Renaissance-
era pulpit. The sub-
lime altar triptych,
The Descent of the Holy Ghost
(1483), by Berndt Notke, is
the main high light. The
church has a special place in
Estonian history, as the first
sermons in Estonian were
delivered here in 1535
following the Reformation.

Altar of the Holy Spirit Church, Old Town
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