Tiit Veermäe
Before After

The Maiden tower


I have been called the Meghed Tower since the 14th century, in the depths of history, which is believed to have resulted from the name of the construction master, Hinze Meghed or from the rural language word “mägede” (mountain). I was erected on the so-called short hill (mons brevis), right next to the long mountain (mons longhi), which at that time was known as a unified rise beside the contemporary Tõnismägi and Toompea. The street names Short Leg for pedestrians, as well as Long Leg for horses and later for carriages, were derived from the short and long hill.

The Maiden Tower name started spreading only in the 19th century, when the Baltic German historians began calling me in a more pronounceable way, as Magde or Mädchen or the Maid Tower.

I was the only defensive tower in the city with a square base plan that was open from the back or without a wall. There are currently glass window walls there. Throughout history, I am probably the most rebuilt tower in this city! A three-storey became a four-storey roofed defensive tower. It then became a two-storey dwelling instead as the crown for the largest and most beautiful garden in the lower city and finally back to a medieval tower.

I did not look at all like a tower viewed from the city side when I was rebuilt as a dwelling, but I was like a gigantic cake with my protruding semi arc, classicist facade and large windows. All kinds of important people lived here: the person who brought railways to this country and thereby the founder of the modern city, Baron Alexander von Pahlen, as well as many artists. Karl Burman was one of the last artists who lived here, on the second floor. He was our first architect and aquarellist. The large Nevsky Cathedral as the symbol of czarism and russification, near this location, was to be dismantled during the first republic, according to his drawings. That did not take place but instead, in the 1970s, the Maiden Tower residence was demolished, and I was restored as a tower. I became more widely known when the Maiden Tower Cafe was opened here in 1980.

It is said that the tower is haunted – an old man dressed in black has been spotted who was also depicted by a Russian artist in 1986. And also a girl – about who there is also a legend that she was buried alive between the walls! A ghostly figure is also said to have wandered late in the evening on the second floor of the tower, a cloud that did not let anyone or anything through. There is also a story circulating that the tower was a prison for prostitutes during Swedish times. A prisoner here, an woman, signed a contract with the devil, thereafter became popular amongst the clients, but eventually she was burned as a witch. This though is probably not a true story.

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