The Sauna Tower
I was constructed in the beginning of 1371 and completed in 1372, as a small turret and later in 1422 I belonged together with the section of wall linking St. Michael’s Convent of the Cistercian Order of Reval.
St. Michael’s Convent was for noblewomen widows and single girls. A convent, which according to a fabulous legend, was built, based on the revelatory dream of the Danish King Erik at the place where “Even in the summer snow is found”. The convent was originally outside of the city walls and for many years bounded by its own fence, but the newly erected city wall which was to be built according to the instructions of the King’s special envoy, Knight Jens Kanne, was also designed to include the convent. The convent constructed the wall and towers using its own means, not that the nuns themselves became bricklayers, but the convent owned property and land, on the account of which the required resources for constructing the defensive structures needed to be found. The Cistercian monks were excellent builders, and the nuns did traditional women’s handiwork. It has been noted that the nuns here occasionally enjoyed the festivities a little too much and even together with men folk.
Even back as far as the 13th century, a circular convent wall with a height of three and a half metres, incorporated – a ladies sauna! This is also from where my name derives. The stone part of my construction works of 1422, reached a height of 12 metres. In this period the nuns of the day had a huge conflict with the city council, as the women’s sauna was in the way of the defensive roads of the wall and local councilors demanded its demolition.
The Master of the Order was forced to intervene! The old sauna was dismantled and the nuns had to find new possibilities for bathing. The upper part of my construction was in ruined by the 19th century and was duly demolished, but in 1898 it was reconstructed according to the example of the tower behind the convent.