Toompea

St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is Estonia’s main Russian Orthodox cathedral. It has been built in 1900, when Estonia was was part of the tsarist Russian empire. The cathedral was dedicated to the Prince of Novgorod, Alexander Nevsky who led the famous Battle of the Ice at Lake Peipsi in 1242. It was deliberately placed in this prominent location right in front of Toompea Castle, on the same spot where a statue of Martin Luther had previously stood, to show who was in charge to the mainly Lutheran locals.

Cathedral was designed by respected St. Petersburg architect Mikhail Preobrazhenski and the church is richly decorated in a mixed historical style. Church has most powerful church bell ensemble in Tallinn and one of the bells is the biggest in Tallinn, weighing 15 tonnes.

Toompea Castle has been partly built as stone fortress in 1227-29 by German Knights of the Sword. Castle retains the basic shape what was given in the 13th and 14th centuries even if it has been revamped countless times during the centuries. The castle has been always the base to the empire what rules Estonia and it is nowadays home of Estonia’s Parliament.

From its front, visitors can see a pink, Baroque palace dating to the time of Catherine the Great. From the park on western side of the hill palace looks medieval castle. From the the Governor’s Garden from southern edge of the castle you can see 46-metre Pikk Hermann tower. Tower is vital national symbol, every day Estonian flag is raised above the tower to the tune of the national anthem as the mark that Estonia rules the country.

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Maiden’s Tower (Estonian: Neitsitorn) is one of the most famous of towers in Tallinn and it has been renovated and reopened as museum. It has also famous cafe, what has been restored in it’s past glory. Tower was built in 1370-1373 along with the wall that runs through the Danish King’s Garden. In 1461-62 the whole complex was made higher.

The tower was damaged during the Livonian War (1558-1583), putting an end to its military and defence functions. Other towers and bastions were used as defense purposes and Maiden’s Tower became obsolete. Tower was used residential use in from 1842 to 1960. After World War II one of Estonia’s top architects, Karl Burman, made his home there.

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St. Mary’s Cathedral situates on top of the hill of Toompea. It has been built in the 13th century and it is the oldest church in Tallinn and mainland Estonia. Church was first made of wood, but in 1229, when the Dominican monks arrived, they started building a stone church replacing the old wooden one. It is also the only building in Toompea which survived a 17th-century fire, despite of the wooden furnishings. The church was originally Roman Catholic, but it became Lutheran in 1561 and now belongs to the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Visitors can climb to it’s 69-meter high baroque bell tower and see amazing views over the town.

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