Legends of Tallinn

Legends of Tallinn

Like any other medieval city, Tallinn (known historically as "Reval") has gathered legends of and around itself.

Origin of the name Reval

One of the defensive towers in the town wall that surrounds old Tallinn is called "Kiek in de Kök" (Low German: "peek into the kitchen"). There is a sculpture on its wall which depicts a deerhunt in Toompea ( _de. Domberg), a district of old Reval. The deerhunt is said to have given the town its old name, "Reval".

According to the legend the Danish king Valdemar II was hunting for deer in Toompea when he spotted a beautiful stag. The king liked the animal much and so he ordered it to be caught alive. Unfortunately, the deer escaped, fell from a high limestone bank and broke its neck. In German, "Reh-fall" means "fall of a deer", and so that is where the name "Reval" was derived from.

However, the "deer-fall" legend is not supported by any documentary evidence. In reality "Reval" is derived from the name of the adjacent ancient Estonian county of Revalia (Rävala), and the first recorded occurrences of that name predate the Danish king's first visit to Estonia in 1219 by several years.

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