Toompea has been the centre of power in Estonia for 800 years. In the course of times, vice-regents of Denmark, commanders of the Livonian Order and the Swedish and Russian governors have ruled the territories of Estonia from here. In the first decades of the Republic of Estonia, Toompea Castle was also the residence of the state elders, and for a long time the Government of the Republic of Estonia worked here together with the parliament – the Riigikogu. At present Toompea Castle is occupied by the Riigikogu. In the course of centuries, Toompea Castle has turned from a medieval fortress into a modern centre of government. Besides the 101 members of the Riigikogu, about 251 officials of the Chancellery of the Riigikogu work here.
Stronghold of power
The history of Toompea is the history of the rulers of Estonia and their power. Times and rulers have changed with the change of powers and mentalities. Each ruler has built and fortified this place according to their needs and tastes. The best master builders and architects of their times have worked here. Time has been kind to Toompea Castle. The well-fortified castle has been unconquerable, it has not been damaged by great fires and what is the most important – the castle has always had someone to take care of it. And so the visitors can come and enjoy the mosaic of periods and styles that together form an amazing whole.
Mosaic of periods
The palace complex of Toompea consists of parts that date from different periods. One of the most exciting of them is the medieval order castle with its powerful western wall and towers like the Tall Hermann, where the flag of our country flows every day.
The Baroque facade of the building of the administration of the Province of Estonia from the Russian times faces the Castle Square, the building of the Riigikogu that was erected during the Estonian times is hidden inside the castle walls.
All rulers of Estonia – Danes, Germans, Swedes, Russians and finally Estonians themselves – have since the 13th century made a significant contribution to the development of Toompea Castle, making it stronger and statelier in accordance with their growing needs.
Thanks to them, Toompea Castle that is built of the local limestone, is very rich from the point of view of art history. Different art styles, from Gothic to the eclectic architecture of the 1930s, are intertwined with each other, forming an amazingly organic whole. The medieval parts of the castle are magnificent examples of fortification architecture, but the Renaissance has given the castle several stonecraft details. In the 18th century, the Late Baroque building of the province government with its palace-like main facade was added to the Gothic castle, and the young Republic of Estonia gave us the only Expressionist style parliamentary building in the world.
Thus the different parts of the castle complex originate from all important periods of the history of Estonia, making Toompea a magnificent monument to the eventful history of the Estonian people. In the 1930s, thorough reconstruction works took place in the castle. In 2013, the White Hall and the facade were restored.
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