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Tallinn's Museums

Explore Estonian History, Culture, and Art


Kiek in de Kok

Kiek in de Kok

Kerry Kubilius, licensed to About.com
Tallinn’s museums introduce visitors to Estonia’s art, culture, and history. Many museums in the Estonian capital offer up-to-date treatments of their subject matter, with interactive exhibits and multi-media displays.

Bastion Tunnels

Underground tunnels, built as a part of Tallinn’s defensive structures, are now open to visitors. Once used to transport ammunitions, as a bomb shelter, and by the Soviets, the tunnels contain remnants of their interesting history, which visitors can see on a tour booked at the Kiek in de Kök Museum.

Kiek in de Kök Museum

The famous tower with its four-meter-thick walls that represents part of Tallinn’s fortifications is a museum dedicated to the city’s systems of defense. The cannonballs embedded in the exterior of the tower symbolize its impenetrable nature. In an older iteration of Estonian language, its name means "peek into the kitchen" because medieval soldiers were said to be able to look down the chimneys of Tallinn's houses from their vantage point in the tower.

Museum of Occupation

This modern museum details the period in Estonia’s history, from 1940 to 1991, when Germany and the Soviet Union occupied Estonia. With information about resistance efforts and the repression of the population by the occupying forces, the Museum of Occupation preserves the memory of this recent history.

Tallinn City Museum

The Tallinn City Museum tells the story of the development of the city, from its inception as a settlement to the Soviet occupation of the 20th century.

The Dominican Monastery Museum and Claustrum

View how monks lived within the Claustrum of the Dominican Monastery or pre-arrange at tour of the Dominican Monastery with its peaceful courtyard. The monastery is one of Tallinn’s oldest buildings and its halls ring with almost 700 years of history.

Hotel Viru and KGB Museum

Advance book a tour of the 23rd floor of Hotel Viru, which was once used by the KGB to spy on hotel guests. See the eavesdropping equipment used by agents and learn about observation techniques used.

Museum of St. Nicholas Church

Also called the Niguliste Museum, which the street on which is located is also named, the museum in the former St. Nicholas Church is an exhibition space for religious artwork. The Silver Chamber of the museum contains a collection of silver religious sculptures as well as silver owned by local guilds.

Great Guild Hall

A part of the Estonian History Museum, the Great Guild Hall is a 15th-century structure once belonging to Tallinn’s Great Guild. The museum presents various elements of life in Estonia through the ages from types of currency to types of weapons. Descend into the cellar of the museum for information about the building in which it is housed.

Kadriorg Palace

The Kadriorg Palace, a branch of the Art Museum of Estonia, was built by Peter the Great for his wife Catherine I. Visitors can view the collection of foreign art on display in this museum, enjoy seeing Catherine’s lavish residence and tour the grounds surrounding the palace. On the grounds are also a handful of outbuildings some containing their own museums.

Mikkel Museum

Located near to the Kadriorg Palace is the Mikkel Museum, housing the foreign art of a collector who donated his cultural treasures to Estonia in 1994. The high quality of the art in this museum makes an excellent addition to the foreign art maintained in the Kadriorg Palace proper.

Peter the Great’s Cottage

Also near the Kadriorg Palace is Peter the Great’s cottage, where the emperor stayed during the construction of the more elaborate palace. Inside, visitors will see furnishings true to the period in which the cottage was built as well as some of Peter the Great’s personal effects.

NUKU Museum for Puppet Arts

This museum, great for children and anyone interested in theaters and puppetry, is a glossy, high-tech presentation of this particular art. Learn about puppet creation, the history of puppetry, and puppets typical to particular regions of the world all while enjoying interactive exhibits and an opportunity to create a personalized souvenir
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