The Epping Tower
I was built in the 1370s, during one of the fastest and longest booms of tower construction in the city. At least a dozen, if not more, defensive towers were completed during this period. At that time in history, in Livonia, there was danger and uncertainty in the air. However, my Hanseatic town of Reval was growing and gaining wealth.
I was named after the construction manager of the tower – alderman (Thiderico Eppingh). In the 15th century, I was called the Tower Behind the Oleviste Pastorate (thorn achter sunte Olaueswedeme). I was built to fortify the section of the wall on the bend with Renten Tower on one side, and the Epping Tower on the other. This took place, when the city continued to prosper through its trade in salt to Russia. It is noteworthy that I appear circular if you look at me from outside the wall, from Suurtüki Yard. However, from inside the wall, from Laboratory Street, I look flat. The city wall cuts a piece out of the tower, along the chord, and makes it flat. Just like the Plate Tower located nearby, I also have a tall storage room with a cylindrical vault on my first floor. The gun ports are higher up – on the second and third floors.
In 1530, the full height of more than 20 metres or six storeys high was achieved, measured from below the roof. I remained unchanged until the 18th century, including – common to many towers of the time – housing a gunpowder warehouse. I can be recognised today by my wooden staircase along which you can reach up into the tower. However, it is a quite recent addition. Historically, there have been stairs in the tower too, when I joined sections of the walls that were built at different times. Stairs provide direct access to the second floor of the tower.
The interior of the tower was to be later demolished in the second half of the 19th century. It is noteworthy to mention that during the Estonian SSR period the boiler house of the KGB and Ministry of the Interior were located here. In fact, at the end of the 1980s it has been claimed that documents of “no importance” were burned in the tower. Perhaps the documents were destroyed to be kept from the public? During the Soviet period, the interior of the tower was also equipped with reinforced concrete intermediary ceilings. I was refurbished again in 2005 and I have since been used for exhibitions and cultural events, including an exhibition on the medieval city wall.