Town Hall Square
Picturesque Town Hall Square has been the undisputed hub of Old Town for the last eight centuries. Surrounded by elaborate merchant houses and, in summer, packed with café tables, it’s a natural magnet for tourists.
Historically it served as a market and meeting place and was the site of at least one execution (resulting from a dispute over a bad omelet). Today, the square remains the social heart of the city, a venue for open-air concerts, handicraft fairs and medieval markets. Each winter it’s home to the town’s Christmas tree – a tradition that stretches back to 1441 – and a buzzing Christmas Market. In spring it hosts the Old Town Days festival, a modern version of a medieval carnival, where traditions from the Middle Ages are kept alive.
In the midst of the thousands of cobblestones within Tallinn Town Square, there are two round stones. One stone marks the spot of a medieval well.
There is another round stone on the east side of the Town Square marked with a compass rose. Standing on this stone, a visitor can take part in a little bit of the history of Tallinn.
What good is a medieval landmark without a good dose of crazy mythology?
It is said that if you turn nine times on this stone, you will have a vision.
Many have been said to have spun around on this spot and then suddenly have a psychic experience that included visions. However, these visions will be immediately forgotten as soon as you pass outside of the Tallinn town walls.
Even if you don’t have a vision, at least you will be a source of entertainment to the rest of the tourists as they pass. This legend is not a secret, but it is also not discussed in any tourism information. So as you are spinning yourself sick, none of the other tourists will have any idea what it is you are trying to accomplish, and you are just going to look insane. I think that is good enough reason to do this!
After you are done spinning and possibly hallucinating (of having a vision, whatever), try to compose yourself and you will be ready for this next task.
From this spot, with a little stretching and bending, you can see the tops all five of Old Town’s current church spires. In the past, you would be able to see nine spires, but due to new buildings blocking views and some churches being destroyed, today you can spot only 5 spires. OR CAN YOU?
With a little bending and standing on your tippytoes, you should be able to spot four church spires fairly easily. The fifth one is going to be a little tricky.
To spot the fifth church spire, look north (with the town hall behind you). You will see a little dent in the roof just above the Town Hall Pharmacy. What looks like an architectural flaw is actually intentional. When they reconstructed this rooftop, they took a small chunk out of the top just so people could see the topmost point of the Holy Spirit Church.
If you happen to be taking a tour of Old Town with a guide, you will blow their mind if you already know these rare bits of trivia.
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