There are several stories and explanations regarding how Tallinn got its name, but perhaps the most popular one dates back to the time when the Danish King Valdemar had conquered North Estonia in the 13th century. The King liked hunting in his new lands, and once he spotted a tiny deer right in Toompea. Instead of hunting it down, Valdemar ordered his courtiers to catch the deer alive so he could keep it as a pet. The courtiers did their best to fulfil their King’s wish, but the deer was running for its life and put up a struggle. Eventually, the hounds and hunters managed to corner it at the edge of a limestone cliff. However, instead of surrendering to the men, the deer jumped off the cliff to its death. King Valdemar was so upset about this outcome that he decided to name the hill in the memory of the brave deer as Reh-Fall (Eng. ‘Deer-Fall’).
Today, in that spot, right in the Old Town stands a little deer statue. So how this is related to Tallinn’s name? Well..back in the days Tallinn’s German name, Reval, is believed to derive from the words Reh-Fall. Thus, in a way, the city got its original name from the deer. Whether this story is true or not, people have become really fond of the statue and the story. The bronze deer has been stolen several times, but luckily always restored and nowadays it’s one of the main symbols of the city. Although, the statue you see today on Nunne Street is a copy of Jaan Koort’s original sculpture, which can be seen in Tallinn City Museum.