Toompea Castle – Visual Masterpiece (History & Travel Tips)

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Toompea Castle is an impressive, fully-restored site. The castle complex is of great significance as it houses the Estonian Parliament Building, named “Riigikogu”, in modern times.

The magnificent castle complex is open to the public throughout the year. With guided tours of the Parliament building available, visitors are also able to tour the entire site and experience its wealth of history and culture. Are you thinking about an adventurous trip to see the castle site and catch a glimpse of the Estonian Parliament staff at work? Read on for more information and our helpful tips!

The Parliament Building at the castle site is the only Expressionist style parliament structure in the world!

The front view of Toompea Castle.
The front view of Toompea Castle. Estonia_1467 – Toompea Castle flickr photo by archer10 (Dennis) shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license
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Frequently Asked Questions

FOR HISTORY | BEAUTIFUL IMAGES | INTERESTING FACTS | TRAVEL TIPS

Early History

Toompea Castle is located on Toompea Hill. Popular folklore explains that this hill was built by the Estonian mythology figure, Linda, who constructed it from the ground up using only her two hands!

The castle itself started as a fort in the ninth century, when the Danish Crusaders conquered the region in 1219. Subsequently, further reconstruction work of the castle was executed by the Order of the Brethren of the Sword from 1227, during their rule. Some ten years after this, the castle site was again controlled by the Danes until it became the property of the Teutonic Order in 1346, who remained the owners during most of the Middle Ages.

Administrative building at Toompea Castle in the 19th century.
Administrative building at Toompea Castle in the 19th century. Carl Schulz (1831–1884), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Under the control of the religious Teutonic Order, the castle site structures were built in a style similar to cathedral buildings. A church with four towers, a residence for the Knights, and a chapter house were added to the castle. Turbulent times befell the castle’s region until Estonia became part of the Swedish Dominion after 1561. The castle was transformed into a regal center of politics for the region.

The aerial view of the other side of Toompea Castle.
The aerial view of the other side of Toompea Castle. Kaupo Kalda, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Russian Empire gained control of the region in 1710. Major construction efforts converted the castle into a majestic palace complex with a massive and gorgeously designed Baroque and Neoclassical style wing added to the castle compound. During Russian rule, a structure for storing archives was built near to the castle complex and a public park was developed.

A closer look of Toompea Castle's structure.
A closer look of Toompea Castle’s structure. blind.willow from Warszawa, Polska, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Estonia declared independence in 1918 and a building was constructed at the castle site to serve as the seat of the Estonian Parliament.

Current Times

Today, the marvelous castle complex is a fully restored site and open to visitors. The castle site has housed the Estonian Parliament (Riigikogu) ever since the Parliament building was completed in 1922. The Parliament Building boasts an Expressionist interior with a traditional exterior.

The tallest of the castle towers is named “Tall Hermann”, where the Estonian flag flies proudly from sunrise to sunset each day. It is possible to climb up the stairs of the tower and experience a breath-taking view from above! Visitors are also permitted to view the activity in the Parliament building from an overlooking balcony area.

Winter season at Toompea Castle.
Winter season at Toompea Castle. Abrget47j, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Interesting Toompea Castle Facts

  • The Parliament Building at the castle site is the only Expressionist style parliament structure in the world!
  • Catherine the Great, the Russian Empress, ordered the construction of the Russian addition to Toompea Castle. The building was completed in 1773.
  • Riigikogu (Estonian Parliament building) was designed by two respected architects – Eugen Habermann and Herbert Johanson.

Visiting Toompea Castle – Tips and Tricks

Take a guided tour of the castle site or if you’d prefer, take your time strolling around at your leisure. The castle compound is a true blend of several different architectural styles and with its long history of different owners, it is a display of the cultural development of Estonia over the centuries.  Toompea Castle is a true representation of the vast history and rich culture of Estonia through centuries of its development. It is a magnificent and opulent display of various architectural styles, seamlessly blending and showcasing the castle site’s existence.Check out our helpful tips below as you plan your trip!

The side view of Toompea Castle in Estonia.
The side view of Toompea Castle in Estonia. Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How to get to Toompea Castle?

Estonia’s International Airport is located in the city of Tallinn. Rent a car at the airport and arrive in around two minutes. You could choose to take a taxi and drive from Tallinn at a cost of about €4.5 ($5 USD). Alternatively, a walk to the castle site takes only around fifteen minutes from the airport.

There are two bus options available at a cost of between €1-€3 ($1-$3 USD) and the travel time is around 11-12 minutes from Tallinn to the castle.

Ticket Prices, Visiting Hours & Travel Tips

Ticket prices are €10.5 ($12 USD) per adult; family tour packages cost €20 ($23 USD). Tours of the parliament building are free. Guided tours in English are available on Fridays every 15 minutes, starting at 11am.

Group tours are available and pricing depends on the number of members in the group. Visiting hours are Monday to Thursday between 10am-4pm and Friday between 10am-3pm.

The Riigikogu (Parliament Building) at Toompea Castle in Estonia.
The Riigikogu (Parliament Building) at Toompea Castle in Estonia. Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How Long Will It Take to Tour Around?

Plan for around 2 hours to explore the full castle site.

Some words of advice and tips: 

  • Check the weather forecast for the date/s you will be visiting the castle. Be sure to dress appropriately as part of your sightseeing experience will be outside.
  • Remember to check the opening hours and access dates when planning your trip to avoid disappointment.
  • COVID: Check for any regulations, opening hours, and restrictions on the official website, as rules have been changed and adapted several times since the pandemic started.

Discover more amazing castles in Estonia, we’ve complied a list for you!

Quick Video Tour of The Main Toompea Castle Areas

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Charmaine Waterston
Charmaine Waterston
After studying Law and Industrial Psychology, I went on to start my own ICT data recovery business. Some years later I qualified locally as a Financial Advisor and ran my own business with a portfolio of clients. Throughout my life, I traveled extensively to many interesting countries around the world. While enjoying my life’s adventures, I absorbed the rich history of various cultures and experienced the beauty of so many different places! Today, I am an author. I combine my career and travel experience with my thirst for knowledge about our captivating world and the remarkable people in it. My writing is an expression of my passion for personal growth and my love of communication. I am truly fulfilling my dream through my work!

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