The Hotel is situated at the center of the Old Town and hence guests will find it very easy to visit some of the popular landmarks on the tourist trail.
Back in Medieval times, this wheel well located at the corner of Rataskaevu and Dunkri was an important source of water for the Old Town. Legend has it that a water spirit lived in the well and required animal sacrifices on a regular basis in order to not to dry up the well. The residents took upon themselves the responsibility of regularly throwing down cats, which were sometimes alive to satisfy the water spirit. The method seemed to satisfy both the locals and the water spirit as the well never ran dry but the quality of water was certainly a concern.
Hence the well became known as ‘Cats Well’ but since the mid 19th century has not been used.
The building has become popular due to the myth of the ‘Devil’s wedding’ which supposedly took place at house number 16. The house is strange and has one of its windows built up from the inside with false curtains painted.
Legend has it that the landlord of the property was once suicidal due to the amount of debt he accumulated. One night he was approached by a strange man in a cloak who offered the landlord a huge sum of money for renting out number 16 for a party. The only criteria was that he must be assured of completely privacy to which the landlord readily agreed.
That particular evening there was a huge commotion as if thousands of people were marching up the steps and having a loud and boisterous party. At 1 am, the party stopped and all of the guests just vanished. The landlord’s servant was apparently using the keyhole to spy on the strange party and he fell mysteriously ill the next day and would eventually die. However before he could die, he told people that he had witnessed the Devil himself getting married at number 16. This story was spread and over the years has gained a lot of notoriety.
Raekoja Plats or The Town Hall Square
This is the heart of the Old Town and was once the political center of Reval. The square is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Tallinn. The Town Hall building has been around since 1322 and till 1970 was used as the political center. It is still used by the Town Council for ceremonial purposes on rare occasions but the officials have been re-located to another location. The medieval Town Hall is now open for visitors.
In summer for a few occasions the square hosts a Medieval-themed Fair, where you can buy various souvenirs, local food and home amenities by Estonian artisans. In 2016 this will be on two occasions. The first fair will be held during the Tallinn Old Town Days starting from 1 June and ending on 5 June. The second fair will be held during the Medieval Days starting from 7 July and ending on 10 July.
If you are visiting the Old Town during the Christmas season, then the Raekoja plats will be a great place to visit as the town square has followed an age old tradition since 1441 of displaying a large Christmas tree. There will also be a Christmas market held in the town square and the entire even will more or less have a theme of a white Christmas as the full town square will be covered in snow.
That being said, there was hardly any snow during the 2015 edition and if Global Warming does not have its way, then the 2016 season will once again bring back the snow.
This pharmacy on the Town’s Square has been around since 1422 and is considered the oldest pharmacy in Europe. It has now been taken over by a mega Estonian pharmacy chain store. They also have a small medical-themed museum opened in the store.
Niguliste or St. Nicholas' Church
This church has been turned into a museum that displays the medieval art from the Art Museum of Estonia. Historical records show that the church was constructed somewhere between 1230 and 1275. Back then the city had no walls and the church was used by refugees during times of war as a place to hide and take refuge.
Niguliste remained untouched by the Bildersturm so its High Altar of Niguliste has been preserved and is part of an impressive collection of art.
Adamson Eric Museum
The Adamson Eric Museum is situated not very far from the hotel and is run by the Art Museum of Estonia.
This museum is one of the smaller museums and gets a lot of visits from the local population. They display a nice painting collection including paintings by Adamson Eric. The museum promotes a number of small exhibitions and often displays some amazing work of art.
The best museum for paintings and art lovers will be the biggest museum which is located outside the Old Town. The museum is called the Kumu and is also run by the Art Museum of Estonia.
Toompea hill is also very close to the hotel and you can take the Pikklalg, which is longer, or the Luhikejalg, which is shorter. Both will get you straight to Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.
The cathedral is dedicated to Russian saint Alexander Nevsky, who was a politician and a military leader who led the Novgorod army on various occasions and fought a significant battle against the Teutonic Knights on the territory of Estonia. The cathedral was set to be demolished, when Estonia first gained its independence, but the building survived and nowadays is one of the tourist landmarks.
Great Places To Eat And Drink Around The St Petersbourg Hotel
If you want to venture out of the hotel and visit some of the nearby bars and restaurants, then you will have a wide range of choices. Rataskaevu 16, is one of the popular establishments that is situated right across the street and is promoted as a restaurant that has no name. This establishment is a little less expensive than the other nearby restaurants and attracts a lot of tourists.
Not too far away from are two restaurants called V located on Rataskaevu 12 and Aed located on Rataskaevu 8. The restaurants are owned and run by the Von Krahli Theatre. Restaurant V is unique in that it serves vegetarian food while restaurant Aed is popular with the locals as the chef serves up some authentic Estonian cuisine with a modern twist to it.
The road leading to the Raekoja plats is call Dunkri street and houses a large building called Dunkri 5. This is where you will find the popular Beer House that has a large list of beer including its own brewed beer which is a big hit with the locals.
This building is also home to Korsaar, the pirate themed restaurant which shares the same lobby as the Beer House. It is important to note that the Korsaar shares the same door as the Beer House, as otherwise it can get a little confusing to find. Once you open the door to the Beer House, you need to go right to access the Korsaar.
There are also a number of restaurants located in the Town Hall Square and the most popular one is definitely the D.O.M which also features on the Flavours of Estonia list.
Do keep in mind that this is a fine dining restaurant and it is best that guests reserve a table in advance, especially if they plan an evening visit during weekends. Since the restaurant is located in the Town Hall square it gets a lot of tourist traffic and hence serve up a menu that mostly consist of French and modern European dishes. The restaurant has live bands playing during Friday’s and Saturday’s.
Balthasar, another popular restaurant located in the Town Square was once featured in the list of top restaurants on the Flavours of Estonia website. While it is no longer listed, it is still considered to be one of the best restaurants by the locals. Kevin & Sarah Duncan who stayed at the St. Petersbourg hotel visited Balthasar and gave the place a great review.
Olde Hansa is a medieval themed restaurant that can be a bit expensive but is definitely worth a stopover as it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience medieval times and try dishes that were served from the 13th century till the early 19th century.
The restaurant takes its ambience very seriously and there are no lights only candles, just the way it was in ancient times. The entire menu is based on what was served centuries ago and you will not find popular modern dishes such as pasta, pizza and burgers. However the food is sumptuous and they serve a great own brewed beer.
Guests will not find black tea or green tea but only coffee on the menu and it will not be an espresso or a cappuccino as they were not invented back then. The Olde Hansa also have a great gift shop that have a number of fantastic medieval style amenities including jewellery and household items that were crafted by local Estonian artists.
DM Baar is located on Voorimehe street and has a Depeche Mode theme style to it. Those growing up in the late 80s and early 90s may recognize the band and the bar has been visited by some of the current and ex members of the band. The DM bar is considered to be one of the most happening bars in the Old Town and is popular amongst locals and tourists.