Tiit Veermäe
Before After

The Vene street section of the wall


It is located at the end of Vene (Russian) Street, at the intersection of Olevimägi, Sulevimägi and Vene street, on the Brookus Square

I am an old and dignified street in the city. I am an artery that has joined the market with the harbour from the very beginning. It was common to see monks and merchants walking along me until the end of the Middle Ages. I was therefore a holy and spiritual place.

I start close to the Town Hall Square from the Neck of the Old Market and lead to the current Brookus Square where the Small Coastal Gate that led to the harbour stood from the Middle Ages until the 19th century. The street name and guardhouse are the only things that currently remain of the gate complex when you cross the New Street.

The way to the port from the Town Hall and market led past the great St. Catherine’s Monastery, other monastery buildings as well as the trade yard and the church of the Russian merchants. I was initially named after the monks – platea Monachorum and Monnekestrasse. However, the monks left almost 500 years ago during the time of the Reformation. The former granary of the Dominican Monastery was plundered and destroyed by fire and it was converted into an armoury (rüsthaus). The street was then sometimes called the Russ-Strasse, or Russian (Vene) Street. 

The lost monks were still remembered at the beginning of the 19th century, when the name Mönchenstrasse came into use. In 1872, the governor started demanding that street signs be in the three local languages. The initial German name, Rüststrasse, remained in use. Later, Russ-Strasse and, in Russian, Nikolskaja uulitsa – named after Nikolai the Wonderworker, the saint of the local Russian church. In Estonian, my name is written as Vene tänav.

In the last third of the course of the street, starting from the Russian church, I run along the Middle Ages defensive wall. In the 1970’s, the defensive wall was exposed in the very final stretch of the street, when buildings constructed in the 18th-19th century were demolished. This was done to showcase the medieval and Gothic style and beauty of the limestone wall and arched niches. I am especially gorgeous in the late afternoon, and in the evening, when the merchants have left the wall with their bags of sweaters and mittens to go home and enjoy their well-earned rest.