Tallinn's beautifully preserved medieval Old Town is undoubtedly the city's heart and soul and a natural gravitation point for tourists to the capital. In fact, with its splendid cobbled streets, red-tiled roofs and elegant spires (not to mention restaurants, bars and shops) it's no wonder that many visitors to Tallinn never make it outside the Old Town's ancient walls.
The Old Town can historically be divided into two distinct areas: Toompea Hill and the Lower Old Town, which were separated by a dividing wall since medieval times. The elevated area of Toompea Hill with its castle was occupied by the residences of Tallinn's rulers and gentry. The Lower Old Town meanwhile developed as an autonomous merchantile centre, flourishing during the 13th-16th centuries, when the city enjoyed membership of the powerful Hanseatic Trading League. Generally speaking these two districts are now collectively referred as the Old Town, however sticklers for precision that we are, you'll find more information on Toompea Hill on our dedicated page, whilst you can read on to find out more specifically about the treasures and pleasures of the Lower Old Town.