Tallinn City Museum

Tallinn, Estonia

The building of the City Museum dates from the 14th century. The oldest record in the real estate register dates from 1363. The permanent exhibition provides an overlook of Tallinn’s history through centuries – beginning with prehistory and ending with Estonia’s regaining of independence in 1991.

Various sectors of medieval society are explained using a combination of texts, artefacts, life-sized models and sound effects. High-quality displays on the upper floors are devoted to 20th-century life, its turbulent wars, Soviet occupation, and finally Estonian independence.

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Address

Vene 17, Tallinn, Estonia
See all sites in Tallinn

Details

Founded: 1363
Category: Museums in Estonia
Historical period: Danish and Livonian Order (Estonia)

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Marie Laure Dut (3 years ago)
I discovered the history of the city. A good museum for children. Playful museum and at the same time rich of history
Rémi Ninon (3 years ago)
Nice museum in Tallinn. Really interesting sections with different topics like the history of Tallinn at medieval times or the way they got their independance from the ex URSS with historical videos. If you have some time ahead of you while visiting, you should stop there, there's a lot to learn :)
Candy S (3 years ago)
Very nice museum, all the staffs are nice, helpful and informative. Worth to visit.
Oana Sucigan (3 years ago)
Awesome museum. The lady at the entrance was very nice and passionate about the city's history
George On tour (3 years ago)
We introduce the history of the city from its establishment to this day. The cellars of the medieval merchant house stores ceramics, porcelain, and metal. The top floors host exhibitions on the history of the city. The rococo style party room introduced the luxury items and portraits of aldermen and wealthy townspeople. The annual exhibition 'One Hundred Years of Daily Life' introduces the century in terms of everyday life and shows how life and the city have changed. When booked beforehand, we organise tours in Estonian, Russian, English, Finnish, and German. Tallinn City Museum opened the first virtual exhibition in Estonia on the Google Arts & Culture platform, allowing users to explore the museum.
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Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

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Glimmingehus

Glimmingehus is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).

Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.

Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.

An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.

On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".