This beautiful, Renaissance-style guild hall is truly a star among Old Town's architectural treasures.
Just one look at the hall from the outside, especially its intricately-decorated, red, green and gold door, is enough to explain why it's a regular feature on every Tallinn postcard stand. The interior is also a must-see.
This was the historic home of the Brotherhood of Black Heads, a medieval guild made up of young, single merchants and foreigners. The guild's patron saint was the Moorish St. Mauritius - a profile of his head is pictured on the Brotherhood's coat of arms. The Brotherhood itself, which arose sometime around 1399, was active only in Estonia and Latvia, and never took hold in the rest of Europe. It is interesting to note that among the brotherhood's duties in medieval times was putting Tallinn's Christmas tree on Town Hall Square each year. Records show that the activity started at least as far back as 1441, making Tallinn the first city in Europe to have the tradition of a public Christmas tree.
A 14th-century residential building probably occupied this site when the Black Heads bought up the property in the early 1500s. They immediately installed a new hall with an archless ceiling, but the serious rebuilding got underway in 1597 when the Dutch Renaissance façade, with its profusion of ornaments and carved decorations, was added. The eye-catching front door dates to 1640. Inside you can see a two-naved, vaulted hall, which bought from the neighbouring St. Olav's Guild and dates to the 15th century.
The building is frequently used for concerts and other gala occasions, and naturally any event held here will take on a timeless quality.
Closed during concerts and other events.