Tiit Veermäe
Before After

Tall Hermann


It took close to one and a half centuries to await my completion, when in 1219 the Danish King brought into swing the construction of the city, here in the current Toompea, Tallinn (Reval). The wait was worth it! I am a flag tower, the most important one in the city and tower above all. My height is more than 80 metres, if you include the escarpment base and the height above sea level is more than 90 metres. There is no similar in the vicinity and hopefully also not further away. It is true that thanks to the expansion of the city, the current highest point in Tallinn, is now located in Nõmme!

My name means tall warrior or great chief! Kiek in de Kök obviously will argue that it is taller, but nobody can see that, as it starts to rise from within the ground. Kök is after all wearing a very tall hat, whereas I do not even have a roof. The open top level is for a reason, in my case. I repeat: I, as a flag tower am not only a symbol of the city, but of the entire country.

Many different flags have been taken to my top and taken away. The blue black and white flag, was first raised on the 12th of December 1918 and it remained there until the summer of 1940. There have then been red flags with a hammer and sickle and pentacle star, with a swastika, as well as for quite a long time, with sea waves. It is not known if it is just a legend, but it has been said that punk rockers who in Soviet times lived in the bastion tunnels, at the foot of the hill, stole those Estonian Soviet flags and used them as bed sheets. The blue black and white has now been flown every day since 24 of February 1989. The tower flags, by the way, which are made from weatherproof fabric are numbered and archived after use. In the course of the year, the flag is usually replaced six times.

I am also beautiful – there is a gallant decoration in the upper part of the tower – a projecting parapet with gun ports or a machicolation. Neither Kök nor the famous Fat Margaret have such a thing. The latter, at one time however, did have one. Fat Margaret, who those fond of legends consider to be my young love, is, after all, a maid more than a century younger than me, was the mightiest defensive tower in the old times. It can be said about the love story that it all depends on the people and their sense of romance. The story says that the two towers in love, will never meet each other, then those walking in the Old Town can ease or refresh their yearning, by touching the walls of both towers and thereby uniting the lovers. The soul becomes warm, when tourists – by touching me – convey the greetings of Margaret!

However, things became rather hot for both of us at the start of the Russian revolution, when in March 1917 the prisons right here in the Toompea fortress, as well as at Fat Margaret, were set on fire. The fortress housed the governorate prison and the Margaret tower, the city prison No. 2.

In the initial period, I fulfilled foremost the duties of a watch and defensive tower, as from the given heights it was possible to see the entire area important to the fortified settlement. The tower had heating to make the life of the watchmen, guards more comfortable. On the lower floor, there was located a furnace functioning on the hypocaust heating principle. The chimney flue was closed, once the furnace had been heated up and the warm air penetrated from the lower floor to the upper floors, through carved channels. I was one of the first structures in the city, in which such a heating system was used. It was later imitated, elsewhere in the dwellings of the city.