Toompea Castle - History and Facts | History Hit

Toompea Castle

Tallinn, Estonia

Toompea Castle in Tallinn has been a military and administrative stronghold for hundreds of years and now contains the Estonian Parliament.

Antara Bate

12 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Toompea Castle

Toompea Castle in Tallinn is the site of the Estonian Parliament and has been a central administrative and military centre for hundreds of years.

Toompea Castle history

Toompea has been the centre of power in Estonia for 800 years. The first recorded construction on the site of Toompea Castle was established in the 9th century AD, when a wooden castle was constructed by the local Estonian rulers. However, in 1219 the castle was attacked and conquered by a Danish force under Valdemar II.

The first stone castle was built on the site in 1227 by the German Knights of the Sword. Over the following centuries, Toompea Castle was a stronghold for the various regimes who ruled the region.

In 1710, today’s Estonia became part of the Russian Empire. A major construction phase was undertaken on the site by Catherine the Great, who built the Estonian Government Administration building in the castle.

In the eastern part of the castle complex, among other things, a baroque and neoclassical wing was added. It contained the governor’s offices and housing quarters. After the announcement of the Estonian Declaration of Independence in 1918, a building was erected on the site of the castle, in which the republic’s parliament was located.

Upon Estonian independence, new developments were brought to the Toompea Castle site and the new parliament buildings were unveiled in the early 1920s.

Toompea Castle today

Today, Toompea Castle reflects the numerous phases of its construction, with medieval fortifications blending into latter-period Czarist architecture and the early 20th century parliament building (the Riigikogu). Visitors can also see the famous Pikk Hermann tower, which stands 46m high and is an Estonian national icon.

Toompea castle and the surrounding old town are part of one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe. Nineteen of the original sixty six defence towers are survived. The old town is in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The castle is open to the public at no charge. There are also guided tours available.

Getting to Toompea Castle

Toompea Castle is a castle on Toompea hill in the central part of Tallinn. The nearest railway station is Balti jaam.