The Walls of Tallinn can be seen at several points around the city’s Old Town, but one section in particular, adjacent to Viru Square, contains one of the medieval fortification’s most important towers.
The Hellemann Tower was named for a merchant who once occupied the land adjacent to it. Construction on this section of the city walls began in the 14th century, under the authorization of Danish King Valdemar II. It took some 300 years to complete because of interruptions caused by uprisings and, later, by the sale of Tallinn to the Livonian Order.
By the 16th century, the Tallinn city wall was recognized as one of the strongest defense systems in Northern Europe. This section of the wall and the three-story Hellemann Tower can be accessed from a narrow street running roughly north from the Viru Gate. A set of more modern metal stairs lead up to the tower, but above the first story the steps used for access are largely original. On the first floor you can find a reproduction of the hatch and windlass system used to haul ammunition up to the guns.
From the second floor, visitors have access to the city wall with its wooden walkway and red-tiled roof. From here one gets an unforgettable view over the roofs of the old town towards the historic town hall and two impressive cathedrals. The walkways are illuminated at night, providing an impressive view from street level.
Know Before You Go
Some of the stairways are steep, tight and not well lit.