Toompea is the hill where the Danes built their fortress after conquering what is now Tallinn in 1219. According to legend, it is also the grave of Kalev, the mythical ancestor of the Estonians. Approach through the sturdy gate tower – built by the Teutonic Knights to contain the Old Town’s inhabitants in times of unrest – at the foot of Pikk jalg. This is the cobbled continuation of Pikk, the Old Town’s main street, that climbs up to Lossi plats, dominated by the impressive-looking Aleksander Nevsky Cathedral. This imposing onion-domed structure was built at the end of the nineteenth century for the city’s Orthodox population – an enduring reminder of the two centuries Tallinn spent under tsarist rule.

At the head of Lossi plats, the pink Toompea Castle stands on the original Danish fortification site. Today’s castle is the descendant of a stone fortress built by the Knights of the Sword, the Germanic crusaders who kicked out the Danes in 1227 and controlled the city until 1238 (when the Danes returned). The building is now home to the Riigikogu, Estonia’s parliament.

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10 great winter destinations in Central and Eastern Europe

10 great winter destinations in Central and Eastern Europe

Forget the plummeting temperatures and long dark nights, winter is a hugely rewarding season in which to visit Central and Eastern Europe. Frozen rivers, frosty…

28 Nov 2016 • Jonathan Bousfield insert_drive_file Article
Top ten things to do in Estonia

Top ten things to do in Estonia

From the cultured capital of Tallinn to the winter-playground that is Otepää, here are ten of our favourite things to do in Estonia.  Admire the beauty of…

06 Aug 2014 • Kiki Deere insert_drive_file Article
Into the wild in Estonia

Into the wild in Estonia

Most visitors don’t venture beyond Tallinn, but leave Estonia’s capital behind and you’ll find a country of vast, untouched wilderness. a haven for wildli…

16 May 2014 • Olivia Rawes insert_drive_file Article
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