Kiek in de Kök

Tallinn, Estonia

Kiek in de Kök is an artillery tower built between 1475 and 1483. It is 38 m high and has walls 4 m thick. Cannon balls dating back to 1577 are still embedded in its outer walls. Compared to the other Tallinn towers Kiek in de Kök was predominant in its fire power, due to its 27 embrasures for cannons and 30 for handguns

Kiek in de Kök (low German Peep into the Kitchen ) is an old German language nickname for towers, mainly those which were parts of town fortifications. They gained the name from the ability of the tower occupants to literally see what's cooking in the kitchens of nearby houses.

Due to the history of the Hanseatic League and the Teutonic Order, also towers far outside modern Germany bear this name, like in Gdańsk and Tallinn.

20th century restoration work saw the tower and surrounding area returned to a more historical look. The tower now serves as a museum and photographic gallery.

References: Wikipedia, Official Website

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Details

Founded: 1475-1483
Category: Castles and fortifications in Estonia
Historical period: Danish and Livonian Order (Estonia)

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Anu K (15 months ago)
This is a huge museum complex, one of my favourites in Tallinn, though not so much for the exhibits, but for the buildings themselves and the atmosphere. I visted alone on a Tuesday afternoon in September and basically had the place to myself to take everything in for a few hours. For €8, you can visit the Bastion Tunnels and Carved Stone Museum (be sure to pre-download the NUMU app with the audio guide - I listened to the Estonian one, also available in English, Finnish and Russian). For €10, you can visit the 4 towers in the medieval town wall - The Kiek in de Kök tower, the Maiden’s Tower (Neitsitorn), the Stable Tower (Tallitorn), the Gate Tower (Väravatorn). Or for €14, you can get the combined ticket; however, I find it that the tunnels and stone museum are best for fall/winter season (as you're already dressed warm) and the towers/medieval walkway are best for spring/summer (as this is when the cafes will be open as well, there are 3: one at the top of the Kiek in de Kök tower, one at the top of the Maiden tower and Dannebrog cafe on the walkway between Maiden and Stable Towers). If you are in a rush and don't have an in-depth interest in the medieval era, you can just take in the view from the outside for free by walking from the Commandant's Garden to the Danish King's Garden and then down the Lühike Jalg steps - then you can make your way down Rüütli street to the Freedom Square, walk up the Mayer stairs and you'll be right back at the Commandant's Garden).
Steinar Johansen (15 months ago)
Well worth a visit. The bastion walk is interesting as it shows the use of the tunnels through history up till modern times. The towers were a bit more basic. But some good views of the city and some nice exhibits along the way. The staff seemed generally a bit perplexed at having visitors. Could perhaps come across as a wee bit more welcoming.
Daniel (16 months ago)
Great museum. Really well laid out. Makes history interesting.
Timur M (16 months ago)
Scary long tunnel is scary but that's about it. The lady in reception was rude af.
Eileen Weed (20 months ago)
It was so much fun hiking up the tower and then wandering down through the lower passages! It took awhile so it was excellent exercise too, and I was a bit worn out at the end of the nearly two hours I spent here. They did a great job with the interesting and informational displays. This was one of the best highlights while in Tallinn so would definitely recommend it! I had a 24-hour Tallinn Pass and was in Tallinn on a 9-hour stopover on a Norwegian Getaway 9-day Baltic Cruise in August 2019. Rick Steves "Scandinavian & Northern European Cruise Ports" Guidebook was a great help and this sight was part of the self-guided "Tallinn Walk" in the book.
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