Rent AudioGuide for 24 hours from the Tallinn Tourist Information Centre and plan a tour in the Old Town according to your own schedule and desires. A valid credit card and ID are required for renting.
Flexible, practical and entertaining AudioGuide (iPod, free city map and disposable headphones) will introduce you the medieval old town of Tallinn, colourful history of Estonia, original traditions and habits of Estonians.
With AudioGuide you can travel into the world of knights and kings, merchants and simple folk. You will hear about the true historical events, but also scary ghost stories and thrilling legends. Among other things you will find out what kind of strange medicine was sold in the medieval Town Hall Pharmacy and who was the most famous Estonian pirate. You will hear about the miserable life of the executioner, devil’s wedding and St. George’s Night Uprising. On top of all, listen to the jokes about Estonians and a good mood is guaranteed!
52 exciting stories are recorded on rentable iPods in five different languages (English, Finnish, French, Russian and Estonian). All the stories are narrated by native speakers.
If you want to download the stories click here.
Stories on AudioGuide:
01 VIRU GATES 4:32 minutes – Viru 26
|The Town Wall of the 9 centuries old Tallinn formed a remarkable fortress during the Middle Ages. Still, we must not forget the important role played by the wall gates, including the main entrance to the Old Town – the Viru Gates. Besides the history of the wall gates and their towers, you will find out who is the mysterious Ülemiste old gray man and why must Tallinn never be completed. Also, you will be told about the punishments used for the violators of the curfew and many other fascinating details you may have not been aware of before.|
02 THE OLD MARKET SQUARE 2:55 – Vana turg
|Did you know that during the Middle Ages, the prices for different spices and seasonings were incredibly high, or that the word “peppersack” was used as kind of a curse word? Find out more about these interesting facts in the story about the old market square.|
03 THE FATHER AND THE SON 1:30 – Kuninga 1
|Dwellings built during the Middle Ages have always been attractive sights for tourists. In this story, you can find out what makes the Father and the Son such unique buildings. You can also get some really good tips from the medieval houseowners how to turn your gray and ugly house into a magnificent piece of art.|
04 THE GOLDSMITH’S STREET 2:10 – Kullassepa Str.
|This 14th century main shopping street, filled with all kinds of odd shops, was a useful source of income for the town. Find out what kind of goods were sold during these times, and what where the strict rules for the content of different metals. Do you know how and when the Goldsmith’s Street got its name?|
05 THE TOWN COUNCIL’S PRISON 3:38 – Raekoja 4/6
|A man wounds his wife; another man verbally abuses the wife of the prison guard’s helper; a craftsman dishonours his guild by getting drunk at his place of work. Will these criminals be locked up and punished? Here are the medieval prisons waiting for the violators of law.|
06 THE TOWN HALL SQUARE 3:55 – Raekoja plats
|The Town Hall Square has been the heart of Tallinn over 800 years. Find out more about the medieval Town Hall Square and the exciting events taking place here during the Middle Ages. Learn some interesting facts about the buildings that used to or still are surrounding the Town Hall Square.|
07 THE TOWN HALL 3:12 – Raekoja plats 1
|You must visit this building! Being 700 years old, it is the only medieval town hall in the Baltic region. Learn more about the history and architecture of this remarkable sight! Meet the Old Thomas and find out the names of some historical characters received here.|
08 TOWN HALL PHARMACY 2:42 – Raekoja plats 11
|This pharmacy is one of the oldest in Europe to maintain its original function. Since there were no doctors at all in Tallinn at the end of the 16th century, people had to rely on the pharmacists. Pieces of mummy from Egypt and powdered unicorn horn were just few of the medicaments one could purchase from the pharmacy. Learn about some very weird medieval ways used to cure sick people, if they were able to survive the process of healing in the first place!|
09 THE WHEEL WELL STREET 5:40 – Rataskaevu Str.
|This particular story will educate you in several ways: you will find out what kind of practical factors were taken into consideration while giving a street a brand new name; you will learn about the development of the water supply and sewerage system during the Middle Ages; you will get a good picture of the stinking living conditions at the beginning of the 12th century. Also, become acquainted with the Well Nymph and the Devil who got married in one of the buildings at the Wheel Well Street.|
10 ST. NICHOLAS CHURCH 2:52 – Niguliste 3
|Famous museum and concert hall at present, the St. Nicholas Church was built originally as a wooden church and used as a fortress and merchandise church. Find out more about the spiritual, historical, cultural and architectural facts of this beautiful building. What kind of role was played by the Brotherhood of the Blackheads in this house of God? Learn about the valuable medieval art works protected by the church walls even today.|
11 WORKYARD OF THE TOWN – MARSTALL 3:09 – Rüütli 8,10,16/18
|Medieval work yard at Rüütli (Knight’s) Street played an important role in the success of Tallinn’s economy. Variety of industries were active there. Among other important products cannons and weapons were produced at the work yard. Learn why cannons were dangerous both for the enemy as well as for the defenders, and what kind of scary fact caused the prison at Rüütli Street to be moved to another building.|
12 NEW ALMSHOUSE 2:48 – Rüütli 9
|Do you want to know how the social care system was organized during the Middle Ages? This story makes you understand how the inhabitants of the almshouse, lepers and beggars managed with their lives. You will find out that the almshouses were not very poor after all. Where did the inhabitants get their food from, and why did some citizens include the poor in their wills?|
13 THE EXECUTIONER’S HOUSE 5:08 – Rüütli 18
|Find out about the gloomy and depressive life of the despised executioner and his family. Did you know that among other responsibilities, the executioner’s job was to clean the town’s lavatories! The story will also give you a glimpse of the medieval court system where the punishments for the criminals were extremely cruel. Learn about the horrible verdicts witches had to face, and the shameful destiny the slanderers were to meet.|
14 THE SHORT LEG 3:51 – Lühike jalg
|The Short Leg, leading from St. Nicholas church to Toompea, is one of the most atmospheric streets in the Old Town. There are so many interesting facts to be known connected to this particular street. You will find out how the street got its name, what is a Knocking Ceremony, what has the famous Estonian early music group Hortus Musicus to do with the Short Leg, why was the gate in-between Toompea and the Lower Down kept locked. You will also hear some startling ghost stories about the tower at the Short Leg.|
15 THE STABLE TOWER AND MAIDEN TOWER 2:55 – Taani kuninga aed
|Two towers used as prisons and considered to be the most haunted towers in Tallinn. Find out about the history and legends concerning these remarkable buildings.|
16 THE KIEK IN DE KÖK TOWER 4:12 – Komandandi 2
|Now is your chance to follow the building, reconstruction and rebuilding of an extremely strong and unusually tall six storied cannon tower through the centuries. Learn more about the strange name of the tower – Kiek in de Kök. Can you guess, what kinds of refreshments were served to the labourers in order to keep their spirits up, and what can you find embedded in the walls of the tower? This is the story of the mighty tower feared by the enemies of Tallinn!|
17 THE TALL HERMANN TOWER 3:42 – Lossi plats 1
|Here is a story about the tower that still plays as important role in the lives of the citizens of Estonia as it did during the Middle Ages – the highest defensive tower in medieval Tallinn and the main flag tower for the Republic of Estonia. Find out more of the architecture of the tower and follow the history of Estonian flag from 1884 up to the present day.|
18 THE TOOMPEA CASTLE 6:07 – Lossi plats 1A
|This magnificent Renaissance building in Estonia was built at the end of the 13th century during the time of the Swedish rule. Learn more about the history of the castle, about its masters from the past up to the present and detailed description of the architecture including the famous four defense towers. In addition you will find out how the ancient Estonians and Lindanise citadel are connected to the Toompea Castle.|
19 THE ALEXANDER NEVSKI CATHEDRAL 2:17 – Lossi plats 10
|The Russian Orthodox Church Alexander Nevski Cathedral was built in 1900 in honour for the famous Russian commander Alexander Nevski. See yourself the decorations in front of the church as well as the statues of saints and the beautiful windows from the inside. Perhaps you will be lucky enough to hear the breathtaking chimes produced by the eleven bells of the church. On top of this all, listen to the legend of how the epical hero Kalevipoeg tried to prevent the construction of the cathedral.|
20 THE DOME SCHOOL 3:55 – Toomkooli 11
|Schools became essential during the Middle Ages in order to educate mainly craftsmen, peasants and merchants. Learn about the seven free arts taught at school, daily proceedings, and the dangers lurking students by the school road. At the end of the story you will hear about the mysterious Black Lady and Grey Lady.|
21 THE DOME CHURCH 2:16 and 22 INSIDE THE DOME CHURCH 3:26 – Toomkooli 6
|In the 13th century the Toompea Castle was divided in two by the Order of the Brothers of the Sword: the Small Castle and the Great Castle. Find out about the architecture of the oldest building of Toompea stronghold – the Dome Church, and learn what happened to the church during the fire in 1684.
The story about the Dome Church continues with a description of the fascinating interior of the church. Guess what lies inside? Tombs and sarcophaguses, of course. You will hear about the famous people buried inside the tombs, like the cruel general Pontus de la Gardie and admiral von Krusenstern. Finally, you will get to know why was a letter of complaint sent to Vatican concerning the Order of the Brothers of the Sword.
23 STENBOCK’S HOUSE 3:29 – Rahukohtu 3
|The house was built in 1792. It has been in the possession of several organizations and the government. Why is the house called “Stenbock’s house”, how is the infamous Estonian outlaw Imre Arakas connected with the building, and why are the restless souls of the builders haunting the dwelling? There is only one way to get these answers – listen to or read the story!|
24 PATKULI’S SIGHT PLATFORM 8:34 – Rahukohtu 5
|This historical area forms the oldest part of Tallinn. Get to know about the colourful history of the forming of Toompea, starting with the establishment of the ancient citadel Lindanise. Perhaps you have heard of the Estonian Singing Revolution? Find out more about this unique phenomenon. Become acquainted with Kalev and Linda – characters from the Estonian epic stories.|
25 NOBLEMAN’S PALACE 2:19 – Kohtu 6
|This castle-like house was built by the grandson of the scandalous count Ungern-Sternberg – the pirate on one of the Estonian islands. Hear the legend concerning this ruthless count! Find out about the interesting interior of the building, filled with different symbols.|
26 LONG LEG STREET 2:29 – Pikk jalg
|Go and take a look at this dangerously steep street that caused lots of traffic problems during the Middle Ages! Find out about the Long Leg Gate, proving to be a useful defensive structure through the centuries. And, naturally, one more ghost story! This time of a headless monster-like being.|
27 NO. 19, 21 AND 23 LAI STREET 2:40 – Lai Str.
|Lai (Wide) Street is one of the widest streets of the Old Town. Do you know why some streets in the Old Town are so narrow and the others very wide? Hear more about the fortress-like buildings constructed here by the merchants during the 15th century.|
28 NO. 29 LAI STREET 4:43 – Lai Str.
|One of the most beautiful merchant`s buildings in the town with a courtyard that used to look like an oasis. Take a look inside and see how the medieval houses were furnished and designed at that time. Hear about the heartbreaking love story of Marghareta and monk Johan. You will also get some useful information about linden trees.|
29 THREE BROTHERS 5:40 – Lai 38/40
|These unique dwellings share a common wall and a passageway leading to the courtyard. Hear more about the buildings at Lai Street! What laws were enforced after a huge and destructive fire in 1433 in Tallinn? Why was it so important to own a house during the Middle Ages?|
30 ST. OLAV`S CHURCH 7:33 – Lai 50
|For a period of time this 13th century church used to be the tallest building in the whole world. See the interior of the old and remarkable church yourself. Listen to the legends and true facts concerning the building of St. Olav. Find out what the Devil has to do with the sacrificial rock Uku, and why Kalevipoeg, an epic hero of Estonians, became angry with the St. Olav`s Church. You have a possibility to see the Old Town from the top of the church! That is if you are willing to climb the 232 steps…|
31 HORSE MILL 4:30 – Lai 47
|This old mill, located in Tallinn, used horse power to turn the millstones located in the basement. Find out what became later of the mill. Learn about the different mills used in Estonia centuries ago, and listen to the adventures the mythological hero Kalevipoeg had while building a mill himself.|
32 FAT MARGARET’S TOWER 4:51 – Pikk 70
|The tower is one of the first of Tallinn’s coastline defense fortifications. Follow the massive construction and reconstruction works of the tower starting from 1518. Learn about the different names the tower was called with and its different functions through the centuries. And finally, find yourself in the middle of Parrot Shooting…|
33 THREE SISTERS 2:26 – Pikk 71
|A luxury hotel at present, this 15th century group of houses was built in a Gothic style. Why are these dwellings different from most of the medieval buildings? Listen or read and learn!|
34 THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLACKHEADS 8:43 – Pikk 26
|Learn about the richly decorated house at Pikk (Long) Street 26 and the historical owners of the house – the Brotherhood of the Blackheads. Here is your chance to peek into the world of this intriguing guild and learn about its traditions, constitution, bizarre ceremonies and habits of the members. Hear a tragic story about the saint patron of the Brotherhood of the Blackheads.|
35 ST. OLAV’S GUILD 2:20 – Pikk 24
|This building, originally owned by the union of craftsmen, churchmen and merchants, is influenced by art nouveau. Learn about the history of the brotherhood and its members – the representatives of “lower professions”.|
36 ST. KANUT’S GUILD 4:05 – Pikk 20
|Here is a story of another influential guild from the Middle Ages. St. Kanut’s guild, forming the most powerful tradesmen union in Tallinn, was at the height of its power in the 16th century. What was one of the most important duties of the guild master? Learn about the rough rules and conditions a man had to follow in order to become a guild master!|
37 GREAT GUILD 7:27 – Pikk 17
|This most important merchant union had lots of power and influence in medieval Tallinn. The Great Guild was a place where relevant social, political and economical issues were settled. The members of the guild happened to be the most valued feast and party organizers in town. Learn about the huge and fancy wedding ceremonies held inside the Great Guild Hall. Here is your chance also to find out the more or less romantic courting and wedding traditions of the poor people.|
38 THE HOLY GHOST CHURCH 3:09 and 39 INSIDE THE HOLY GHOST CHURCH 5:24 – Pühavaimu 2
|This unique church with the oldest clock in Tallinn attached to it, is mentioned in the records for the first time in 1316. Learn about its architecture and find out more from the story called “Inside the Holy Ghost Church”.
The story continues inside the Holy Ghost Church.
Do you want to be part of the Middle Age fashion show? Imagine yourself in the middle of the medieval church service – you will be amazed. Undercoats, embroidery, trouser legs of different colours, shiny buttons, beaver fur hats – makes your head spin. Learn about the not quite so fancy Holy Ghost Church interior, and the valuable masterpiece, the altar.
40 BREAD PASSAGE 5:16 – Saiakang
|Bread Passage is one of the oldest streets in Tallinn where 600 years ago bread was sold. Learn about the renting conditions of the eight little bakery shops, and the rules the medieval bakers had to follow. And compare it to today’s life! What has been changed?|
41 DOMINICAN MONASTERY 7:16 – Vene 16/18
|Dominican Monastery, supported mainly by the influential Brotherhood of the Blackheads, was a powerful establishment during the Middle Ages. Find out about the rise and the fall of this great monastery, caught in the middle of jealousy, intrigues and conspiracy.|
42 THE FLAG, COAT OF ARMS AND THE ANTHEM OF THE REPUBLIC OF ESTONIA 5:19
|Raised to the top of the Tall Hermann Tower at each sunrise, the blue, black and white flag became the official state flag in 1926. Hear the story of the flag of Estonia! What do the three lions stand for on the coat of arms of Estonia, and how come the Estonian anthem sounds similar to the Finnish anthem? Find out!|
43 TALLINN – THE TOWN 7:53
|Tallinn was first mentioned in the written documents already in 1154. Well known excellent port and an important center for trade, Tallinn became a desirable catch for foreign countries. This story tells you about the constant battles and struggles of this tiny Hanseatic town called the “grain barn of Northern Europe”.|
44 ABOUT THE TOWN WALL AND BORDERS 5:16
|Find out some interesting facts about the Town wall. Did you know that the borders in Estonia were marked by trees and stones? Learn about the strange and cruel punishments for violating the sacred border laws, and how the border quarrels were settled.|
45 ORDERS AND LAWS OF THE TOWN COUNCIL 4:15
|You want to invite more than 60 guests to your wedding, but it is not allowed by the Town Council. You want to wear a fancy and gorgeous dress, but the dress code, forced by the Town Council, does not allow you to do it. Wouldn’t you want to bend these rules? Learn about the medieval rules, some strange and some effective, enforced by the Town Council of Tallinn!|
46 LET THERE BE LIGHT! 2:52
|Could you imagine your life without electricity? Here is your chance to learn some practical ways to survive without electricity. Fire sticks, wax candles, torches… and terrible damaging fires. Hear about some medieval laws enforced to prevent fires.|
47 GALLOWS HILL 4:15
|Here is a story for those who like to read thrillers. Murders, executions, trials and scheming are part of the Gallows Hill. Find out how Johann von Uexküll and many other condemned criminals found their miserable deaths by the hand of the executioner.|
48 ST. GEORGE’S NIGHT UPRISING 7:10
|This blood-soaked uprising has been the symbol of freedom for Estonians through many centuries. Learn about one of the most important events in the Estonian history. The tragic story will lead you right in the middle of the bloody battles between Estonian peasants and their cruel oppressors. Follow the dramatic executions of the leaders of the uprising, betrayed by the Teutonic Order.|
49 EATING HABITS OF ESTONIANS 8:43
|Estonian food is considered to be simple and tasty by many foreigners. Estonian cooking is greatly influenced by German and Russian cuisines, still there are some authentic meals enjoyed by Estonians even today: blood pudding, dark rye bread, kama, salted herring. Find out how some dishes were prepared during the Middle Ages. Take a look at the poor man`s table and compare it to the gourmet delicacies eaten by rich. And, if you think that people are drinking too much alcohol nowadays, then think again!|
50 CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR’S EVE 5:01
|Ancient Estonians celebrated Christmas even before the arrival of Christianity. The traditions followed during the celebration of equinox, were strongly influenced by superstition. How to protect your cattle from the evil eye? What terrible things could happen to you if you were too noisy during these holidays? Who were the New Year`s Eve Goats? Find out more about the ancient rituals practiced during the Christmas and New Year`s Eve celebrations!|
51 THE STORMY DEVELOPMENT OF TALLINN 4:52
|How was the life of Estonians some twenty years ago, when only the rules made by the Communist Party were allowed to follow? Long lines, the system of coupons, lack of fuel being part of the everyday life. Listen to these unbelievable facts and compare them to what you see today when you are walking around in modern Tallinn.|
52 ESTONIAN JOKES 8:19
|Listen to the jokes made by serious looking unemotional Estonians! How does the Estonian man greet his wife after he arrives home from a long business trip? What does an Estonian do after the national football team wins the World Cup? Do you know what is better in Latvia then in Estonia? How do the northern nations drink vodka? These and many more jokes will teach you to appreciate the sense of humor hidden under the quiet surface of Estonians.|
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