The City Was Called Reval
The Estonian capital was not always named Tallinn. Before 1918, Tallinn was known as Reval. According to legend the name originates from a deer hunt, when an animal fell off a cliff and perished. In German Reh-fall means ‘deer fall’. However, many historians debate this theory and believe it more likely to derive from the old Estonian county called Revalia.
Tallinn’s medieval fort dates back to the 14th century. Originally it was 2.4km long, up to 16 meters high and three meters thick with 46 watch towers. It is so well preserved that today 1.9km remains, along with 20 observation towers.
The Oldest Café
Maiasmokk (Sweet Tooth in Estonian) is the city’s oldest running café. It was established in 1864. The interior décor of the café has remained unchanged for almost a century. Moreover, the café houses its own Marzipan Museum.
The Oldest Building
Dominican St. Catherine’s Monastery, situated in Tallinn, is the oldest building in Estonia and dates back to 1246. Unusually. It is located in the city centre and the courtyard serves as a museum during summertime.
The Oldest Pharmacy
Town Hall Pharmacy (Raeapteek in Estonian) is one of the oldest operating pharmacies in Europe. It was first mentioned in the town records in 1422. During medieval times the pharmacy sold a large variety of different medicine. To add, back then you could also buy ink, sealing-wax, gunpowder, paper, candles and tobacco. Moreover, the pharmacy was also a place where many important political or trade-related decisions were dealt with over a glass of Klaret (a sugared and spiced Rhine-wine).
Just like any other city, Tallinn also has its signature drink – Vana Tallinn, a sweet liqueur, invented in the 60’s. It can be drunk both, hot and cold, straight, in a cocktail or coffee. The liqueur presents a smooth but bitter flavor due to its natural ingredients: cinnamon, toffee, citrus and warm spices.