Toompea Hill is the limestone plateau formed since the Mezosoic times where Tallinn upper old town was seated. The famous Toompea Castle perched on the hill was first built in either 10th or 11th century by the local residents and since the landing of King Valdemar II of Denmark, the castle became the ‘headquarter’ of him and the subsequent foreign power that came and ruled Estonia. The castle – having gone through changes to meet the rulers’ needs and taste for centuries – is now home to the Estonian Parliament. The front part has the Baroque style in pretty pink built in 1920s and on the other side, you can still see the original medieval stone wall and tower (not shown in the picture).
What I found interesting was the legend of Dannebrog (Danish state flag). It was said that the flag fell from heaven in favour of the Danes during the Battle of Lyndanisse near Tallinn (between the Danish invaders and the Estonians). The Danes did win the war and then built a fortress on Toompea.
Anyway, I reached the hill via the steep stairs and Short Leg Tower not far from St. Nicholas Church (there were street signs so you wouldn’t miss it) and the view from above was wonderful!
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any information about the creepy three monk statues there. There are two important towers here
- The Short Leg Gate Tower (Lühike jalg) – to keep the lower town separate from Toompea Hill and it is usually locked at night to prevent the commoners to bother the nobility. It was also supposed to stop the ghosts from entering Toompea Hill from the Danish King’s Garden. WTH?? 😂😂 It was said that this tower was one of the most haunted places in Tallinn with lots of sightings of questionable creatures (supposedly) from the other dimension.
- The Virgin / Maiden Tower (Neitsitorn) – once used as a prison for prostitutes. Now there are a museum and cafè there.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
Sitting on Toompea Hill, behind the stone wall, was the gorgeous Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. I had been looking forward to seeing it since the first time I saw it from the Town Square, so you can imagine how excited I was. It was built in 1894 – 1900 and is the largest Orthodox dome cathedral in Tallinn. It just looked so beautiful and majestic that it actually inspired me to see more of it, a.k.a going to Russia (which I did a year later!)
For some reason they didn’t allow visitors to take any kind of photographs inside, so I just had to settle with these ones. 🤩