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

Comments

Your name



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 (10 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 (10 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 (11 months ago)
Great museum. Really well laid out. Makes history interesting.
Timur M (11 months ago)
Scary long tunnel is scary but that's about it. The lady in reception was rude af.
Eileen Weed (15 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.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Trinity Sergius Lavra

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. It is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, was founded in 1337 by the monk Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.

Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.

In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.

The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.

In the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by 6 meters high and 3,5 meters thick defensive walls, which proved their worth during the 16-month siege by  Polish-Lithuanian invaders during the Time of Trouble. They were later strengthened and expanded.

After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.

In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.

Following a devastating fire in 1746, when most of the wooden buildings and structures were destroyed, a major reconstruction campaign was launched, during which the appearance of many of the buildings was changed to a more monumental style. At this time one of the tallest Russian belfries (88 meters high) was built.

In the late 18th century, when many church lands were secularized, the chaotic planning of the settlements and suburbs around the monastery was replaced by a regular layout of the streets and quarters. The town of Sergiev Posad was surrounded by traditional ramparts and walls. In the vicinity of the monastery a number of buildings belonging to it were erected: a stable yard, hotels, a hospice, a poorhouse, as well as guest and merchant houses. Major highways leading to the monastery were straightened and marked by establishing entry squares, the overall urban development being oriented towards the centrepiece - the Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.

In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.