The Tallinn Town Hall Tower & The Legend of Old Thomas (2)

The Tallinn Town Hall Tower & The Legend of Old Thomas

1 Comment / 26/02/2016

Tallinn’s Town Hall Tower is located on a square of the same name. The Town Hall Square is the heart of the city, the central point where major events have taken place (Christmas market, concerts, political speeches etc.) since medieval times.
The Gothic tower was originally built between 1402 and 1404, and Old Thomas got his ‘home’ in 1530. ‘Old Thomas’ (Vana Toomas) is a weather vane on top of the tower, which has become one of the most popular symbols of Tallinn – as the city’s defender and guard. The legend says Thomas was a peasant boy who was excellent at archery. Once, when Tallinn’s Baltic German aristocratic elite arranged an archery contest, Thomas was the only one who hit with remarkable presicion a wooden parrot on top of a pole.  Even though he won the competition, he didn’t receive the prize because of his low status. Instead he was rewarded with a job as a town guard. Over time he became a strong soldier and was highly respected by people. Eventually, he became immortal in the form of a copper weather vane at the highest place, where he could watch over the citizens. Unfortunately, Old Thomas couldn’t protect Tallinn during the Soviet bombings in 1944, when he and the Town Hall got hit. The original weather vane from 1530 is kept in the Town Hall and the one we see today at the top of the tower is a copy. Nevertheless, as long as the legend stays alive, so does Old Thomas.
The Tallinn Town Hall Tower & The Legend of Old Thomas (1)

Vana Toomas II (1953-1998). This weather vane can be found from Tallinn City Museum.

The Town Hall Tower is open in summer and the view from the top is stunning. As there are 115 steps along a narrow and irregular staircase to get to the top, think twice about whether you can do it. Climbing to the Town Hall Tower is more challenging than climbing, for example, St.Olaf’s Church Tower. However, halfway up there is a resting place. By the way, on the platform you will see a hole that used to be tower guards’ toilet. The hole was connected to the toilet system of the building and is in a good condition even today.

The Tower is 64 metres high, but the stairs end at the clock balcony, which is at 34 metres. The Town Hall Tower is open from 1st of May to 15th of September daily from 11am-6pm. Tickets cost 3 € for adults and children can get in for 1 €.

(From the 15th September to 27th September the Town Hall Tower is open from 11am-4pm).

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The location of the Town Hall Tower can be found on our Tallinn Map (below).

One Comment

  1. Excellent article, very interesting.

    cesarsm37@hotmail.com'

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