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Historic Centre Old Town of Tallinn Estonia

Historic Centre of Tallinn, the origins of Tallinn date back to the 13th century, when a castle was built there by the crusading knights of the Teutonic Order. It developed as a major centre of the Hanseatic League, and its wealth is demonstrated by the opulence of the public buildings (the churches in particular) and the domestic architecture of the merchants' houses, which have survived to a remarkable degree despite the ravages of fire and war in the intervening centuries. The combination of the upper town on the high limestone hill and the lower town at its foot with many church spires forms an expressive skyline that is visible from a great distance both from land and sea.

Historic Centre Old Town of Tallinn Estonia
Continent: Europe
Country: Estonia
Category: Cultural
Criterion: (II)(IV)
Date of Inscription: 1997

High limestone Hill

The combination of the upper town on the high limestone hill and the lower town at its foot with many church spires forms an expressive skyline that is visible from a great distance both from land and sea.

Historic Centre Old Town of Tallinn
Historic Centre Old Town of Tallinn

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Administrative centre of the country

The upper town with the castle and the cathedral has always been the administrative centre of the country, whereas the lower town preserves to a remarkable extent the medieval urban fabric of narrow winding streets, many of which retain their medieval names, and fine public and burgher buildings, including town wall, Town Hall, pharmacy, churches, monasteries, merchants' and craftsmen' guilds, and the domestic architecture of the merchants' houses, which have survived to a remarkable degree. The distribution of building plots survives virtually intact from the 13th-14th centuries.

The Outstanding Universal Value of the Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn is demonstrated in its existence as an outstanding, exceptionally complete and well preserved example of a medieval northern European trading city that retains the salient features of this unique form of economic and social community to a remarkable degree.

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