Fat Margaret`s Tower
Location: N59° 26` 33.0", E24° 44` 58.2" | Website: meremuuseum.ee/paks-margareeta/
Fat Margaret is a defensive tower in Old Tallinn. It was the last part of the medieval city gate system which was built. It served to defend the harbour of Tallinn. Apart from being a fortification against would-be invaders to the port and the town, it was also built to impress outside visitors arriving by sea. Although the tower was built at the beginning of 16th century, people started to call it Fat Margaret only 300 years later probably because of its size. The cannon tower was the largest part of the town's fortifications with walls measuring 25 metres in diameter, up to 22 metres in height and up to 5 metres thick. The tower had originally 5 floors, three lower ones were meant for cannons. At the end of 17th century the building got tile roof.
Probably it is interesting to know that after the Northern War forced labourers, who were reconstructing the port of Tallinn, were accommodated there. Later, it was used as a storehouse for gunpowder and weapons. In the 19th century it was transformed into a prison. During the 1917 Revolution it was the scene of an outbreak of violence when the prison guards were shot, political prisoners were released and during the search of hidden dungeons it was blown up by using dynamite. The tower turned into ruins.
During Soviet times there was a City Museum. The first exhibition of Maritime Museum was opened there just before the Moscow Olympic Games, which regatta took place at Tallinn bay, in 1980. The tower houses the Estonian Maritime Museum which shows Estonians' seafaring history, fishing traditions, etc. The exposition spreads over four stories and there is a nice view to the old town and Tallinn's harbour from its rooftop viewing platform.
See also: http://meremuuseum.ee/paks-margareeta/