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Scenic areas in Tallinn

Scenic areas in Tallinn

Below is an overview of Tallinn’s scenic areas by district. The descriptions of each scenic area include a map of the area showing the borders of the scenic area and the values assigned to the buildings. Also included are references to general and thematic zoning that define the terms of protection and use for the area.

All of Tallinn’s scenic districts, valuable objects and national monuments can be found on
the online map

City Centre


The Tallinn City Centre includes several different scenic areas named after their location or former settlements - Kadriorg, Kassisaba, Kitseküla, Uue-Maailma, Süda-Tatari, Torupilli, Raua and Veerenni. In addition, the City Centre has several buildings marked as valuable objects. They can be found on the scenic area map app.


Kadriorg has always stood out from the other wooden house districts in the city centre with its unique history and character. The well-preserved architecture confirms that this is not your usual industrial district but a nicer, wealthier seaside resort.

Wiedemanni 11.JPG

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Kadriorg’s summer mansions in the oak forests below the Lasnamäe limestone cliff have been around since the 17th century. The most impactful factor in the development of the Kadriorg neighbourhood was the construction of the house for Peter the Great in 1714, followed by the palace and the park. In addition to the palace complex, the current Poska Street area saw the construction of houses for the servants and builders. This collection of buildings was called the Kadriorg Palace Village or Sloboda (Sloboda - a Russian settlement; many of the palace’s servants were Russian). Today, the small consecutive cabin-like houses are the oldest (from the 18th century) and most valuable of the buildings in Kadriorg. A row of the oldest Sloboda houses was destroyed in a fire in the mid-19th century and some were demolished during the Soviet times. Of those that remained, the oldest include the building complex at J. Poska 19, the house built in several sections with a courtyard wing at J. Poska 33 and the one-storey house at J. Poska 35 built according to the standard appearance of Classical style architecture in Russia. The Sloboda area was characterised by long narrow properties and a tight row of buildings at the edge of the street. The most unique building in the Sloboda is at Poska 41. It is the house of a Russian Orthodox priest that has been lavishly decorated with Russian-style wooden lace.

The district’s further development was most affected by the construction of bathing establishments. At the beginning of the 19th century, Kadriorg became a beloved summer vacation and walking location for the citizens of Tallinn and the numerous resort guests. Many people from the capital of the Russian Empire Saint Petersburg came here to rest and recuperate. The only remaining example of the resort era buildings is a former bath house of a bathing salon located on Narva Road (Narva mnt 80). The other houses of the bathing salon complex have been destroyed. Poska Street 15 used to house the Kadriorg Sanatorium for people who had been paralysed or were suffering from other severe nervous system disorders. Currently, the location houses a self-help and counselling centre for the elderly. Among the summer homes with large verandas popping up in Kadriorg, there were examples of smaller, more intimate houses (current examples include L. Koidula 4 and 6; Mäekalda 9 and 11) and grander villas such as Villa Patria (J. Poska 36A), Villa Mon Repos (Narva mnt 92) and Villa Favorita (Narva mnt 108). The summer houses included large lush landscaped gardens.

Major construction work in Kadriorg happened between the 19th and 20th centuries. Larger rental properties were built and the building density changed from the previous villa-focused district architecture. In 1904-1906, a group of dashing wooden houses with bourgeois apartments popped up on the untouched meadow between Köleri and Vesivärava Street (J. Köleri 10, 12, 14, 16a and 16, etc.). Pre-World War I in 1911-14, a row of Art Nouveau wooden rental properties were built on Weizenbergi and Koidula Street (A. Weizenbergi 10, 12, 14; L. Koidula 10A, 7 and 9). There are functional apartment buildings and villas with a touch of Art Deco on Koidula Street and Narva Road (for example Narva mnt 55) from the 1930s. Tallinn-style wooden houses with stone stairwells were built at the end of Köleri Street. During the second half of the 1930s, Kadriorg saw the construction of stone houses inspired by Functionalism or even Traditionalism (A. Weizenberg 8, L. Koidula 3, 14, 22, F.J. Wiedemanni 6, J. Poska 49 etc.).

You can look at Kadriorg as a unique architectural museum, as it is a symbiosis of the impact different cultures had on the area. The Estonian-style wooden provincial rental properties can be found side by side with grand summer mansions, summer homes of influential people, the Russian-style palace’s servant houses and, of course, sports facilities built during the 1930s (the Kadriorg Stadium and the Youth Park pavilion). In addition to the facades, the historic interiors of the location have been well-maintained. The substantial amount of photographs can help Kadriorg restore unique and now lost architectural features, borders, gardens etc.


The history and development of the Kassisaba District are connected with the former suburb of Toompea. The district’s older buildings likely emerged near the current Paldiski Road. Similarly, it might be that the curved road got its name ‘Kassisaba’ (meaning ‘cat’s tail’) because of how it distances itself from the city fortresses and heads west with the houses built next to it in a row. It should be also mentioned that the highest strongholds built on the corners of the mud mounds were named Katze (‘cat’) during the 17th and 18th centuries.

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Older city plans show that Paldiski Road used to be called Kassisaba. Slowly the buildings stretched north towards what would become Kelmiküla. But the name Kassisaba spread faster than the buildings. People used the name to refer to nearly the whole of the Toompea suburb, including Väike-Ameerika Street at the southern border of the suburb. The southern border of the district was outlined in 1870 with the construction of the railway embankment. The development of the Kassisaba suburb was greatly influenced by Toompea alderman H. H. Falck. Examples of structures largely funded by Falck include the boulevard (currently Toompuiestee) from Tõnismägi to the Baltic Station and the park between A. Adamsoni and Wismari Street.

Historically, the most valuable part of Kassisaba is the street network and property system developed starting from the mid-17th century until the 19th century. The historic milieu of Kassisaba offers the most contrast compared to other districts. The development of the area combined houses from different periods. During the Soviet period, the area saw the construction of the largest amount of buildings that ignored the environment in terms of size. Nevertheless, Kassisaba is a relatively complete neighbourhood in terms of city planning. It is located between major traffic routes but still provides an excellent look at the development of Tallinn’s city space during the beginning of the last century. The oldest section of the remaining buildings comes from the turn of the 20th century. They are located around Kelmiküla and on Luise, Vismari, Villardi and partly Koidu Street, where today there are still several one-storey-wide wood boarding houses. More common are two-storey houses with simple wooden decorations. During the 1920s and 1930s, Ao Street and Aasa, Pilve, Saturni and Komeedi Streets in the Uus Maailm neighbourhood were built. Walking along those streets offers a good overview of the type of suburban rental properties of the thirties. The most common rental property was the two-to-three-storey wooden house with a central stone stairwell (the Tallinn house).


The scenic area of Kitseküla covers three unique parts: a former Czarist industrial municipality (Kauba, Paide, Hagudi Streets), a set of Tallinn-style houses from the 1920s-30s (the end of Magdaleena Street) and a Stalinist building ensemble from the end of the 1940s (Asula Street).

Asula tänav Kitsekülas

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The oldest historical marker in this area is the Marta Street cross. This 16th-century memorial is dedicated to the fallen members of the Brotherhood of Blackheads who fell here in a battle against the Russian forces during the Livonian War. The current scenic area on both sides of the Pärnu Road was without any construction of note until the turn of the 20th century. During the second half of the 19th century, there were just a few summer mansions and inns. The only larger structure complex was the nearby Deaconess institution - a hospital, orphanage and care home. It was built in the garden of the Lindheim (as well as Berghof, Vogdt) summer mansion. Only the hospital's main building at Pärnu mnt 102 remains today. A remaining exceptional building for that period is a summer villa (later a Deaconess nursery) built in the corner of the Fahrenholz summer mansion park at Pärnu mnt 123.

Construction work increased during the mid-1890s. The expansion of the railway line supported the urbanisation of the area. The Tallinn-Paldiski broad gauge railway was opened in 1870. On 25 June 1900, the Tallinn-Viljandi narrow gauge railway branch was opened. The Tallinn-Väike railway buildings are from 1901. The second factor that contributed to the development of the area was the Luther furniture and plywood factory. The modest 1-2-storey wooden houses in the area were homes to the workers of the booming wood industry during the start of the 20th century. By the time of the First World War, the border of Pärnu Road until the beginning of Tondi Street, from Tondi Street to Marta and Alevi Street, the whole of Pärnu Road and the area between the narrow gauge railway (currently Juurdeveo, Rapla, Paide and Hagudi Street) were built-up. The older buildings along the larger main streets have mostly been replaced with newer structures. You can still find buildings characteristic of an early 20th-century industrial city district on the quieter Paide, Hagudi and Juurdeveo Streets. This area is remarkable for the architectural diversity of the houses in this rather small territory. Hagudi Street 12 is an interesting and well-preserved example of a small Tsarist one-storey provincial house. There are many so-called Lender houses (Tsarist two-storey workers’ dwellings). The Tallinn-style wooden houses with a stone stairwell were built between them during the 1920s-30s. You can find more unique buildings here in addition to the provincial houses. For example, the Kauba 7 house was designed by famous architect Herbert Johanson.

The next area to be urbanised was the triangular meadow between Marta and Tondi Street. In 1928-1939, it was divided into building properties. Magdaleena Street was extended up to Tondi Street. A group of Tallinn-style houses with stone stairwells were built here, creating a small but complete ensemble. A remarkable building among them is on Magdaleena Street 12, which was built near the end of the 1950s but attempts to imitate the pre-war architectural style. During the years, the house has been home to high-ranking clergymen of the Lutheran church. In the contemporary city space, this corner of the city is a calm oasis. The steep turn of Magdaleena Street adds some excitement.

The houses on Asula Street built after the Second World War mostly by German prisoners of war leave a completely different impression. The area with its rigid axial planning and a poplar boulevard at its centre is one of the most remarkable examples of a Stalinist Classicist complex in Tallinn. 


Raua subdistrict is an area with invaluable buildings that have evolved throughout multiple periods. There is a lack of a unified architectural style or type of buildings and the creations of top architects from various eras can be found there.

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The area between Narva and Tartu Road was permanently urbanised during the 18th century. Plans from the beginning of the 19th century show that new long streets had appeared between Narva and Tartu Road (the edges of the main roads had long been urbanised): J. Vilmsi and Fr.R. Faehlmanni Streets. Väike-Epinatjevi Street (currently, the beginning of F.R. Kreutzwaldi Street and Terase Street) is also very old. The settlement's central area, located near the current F.R. Faehlmanni and Kollase Street area, was called the New Sloboda. The area was quite similar to the Kadriorg Old Sloboda (the area of J. Poska Street dedicated to the servants of the palace). The long narrow properties touched the edge of the streets. The houses were mainly one-storey huts, placed similarly to Russian villages, in a row with the gable facing the street. We can guess the style of the buildings at the time by looking at the section of F.R. Faehlmann Street between the Television building and the intersection with J. Vilmsi Street. During the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the area saw the construction of larger bourgeois two-storey wooden apartment houses with large comfortable living spaces. Examples of these include J. Vilmsi 16 and 18 with their effective corner solutions; the well-maintained houses with wood decor on Tina Street 3 and Raua Street 30; or the Kochi block building ensemble on Raua Street (1911-13, now F.R. Kreutzwaldi 5, 5A, Raua 43, 45, 47) which were part of one of the first complete real estate development projects.

The western side of Raua Street, F.R. Kreutzwaldi, F.R. Faehlmanni and Narva Road, has mostly complete construction – 3-4 storey stone houses – from the beginning of the 20th century. There are remarkably many buildings created by distinguished Estonian architects (Otto Schott, Artur Perna, Karl Burman, Eugen Habermann, Eugen Sacharias, Edgar Kuusik, Herbert Johanson, etc.). The surroundings of the Police Garden Park and the area next to it by Narva Road remained without buildings for a long time. When the area started to be urbanised, most of the space was required to have stone construction, as wooden houses were, for the most part, not allowed. Some of the apartment buildings here – such as the Art Nouveau corner house at Raua Street 39 by Karl Burman or the house designed by Edgar Johan Kuusik at Tina Street 17 – are considered to be part of the Estonian architecture canon. The ensemble of functionalist houses on Raua Street 25-35, which offered a modern living space in the 1930s, is especially impressive.
We have to mention the Vase Street Stalinist scenic area which, with its four-storey houses, blends well into the area. Some of the later apartment buildings from the 1960s-70s – Tina 16, Vase 10, Raua 55, etc. – are examples of the period’s best architecture. These aren’t your typical Soviet apartment blocks but modernist custom design buildings (for example, Tina Street 21A/Terase Street 6 was designed by Raine Karp). During the Soviet era, people working in nomenclatural or other important positions, as well as creatives, were given apartments in these buildings.

The streets bordering the area – Gonsiori, Pronksi and Narva Road – and the opposite sides of the streets are mostly filled with 5-6-storey good-looking and decently designed apartment blocks from different periods. 


The scenic area of Tatari lies between the two congested main streets – Liivalaia and Pärnu Road. The district with plenty of high landscaping depicts a unique green and peaceful oasis in the heart of the city. Besides the greenery, the district is valuable because its architectural character has remained almost unchanged.

Süda tänav Tatari miljööalal
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The history of urban construction in Tatari extends to the Middle Ages. Sakala and Tatari Streets are considered to be successors to medieval roads. The clearly defined areas are the canal running along the current Süda Street that supplied water to the medieval city and a cattle spring mentioned during the 14th century which is located next to the house on Tatari 20. Exact data on the urbanisation of the area come from the 17th century. After the Great Northern War, navy officers of Tatar descent were given properties here, which is why the area is called Tatari village or settlement. Today, the oldest remaining buildings in the area are wooden buildings from the end of the 19th century. The majority of the buildings are from the last century. The streets in central Tatari did not have working-class rental properties, unlike in Kalamaja. Mainly middle-class people chose to live here. Older one-family houses were replaced with multi-family buildings which gave the block a more urban feel. The best example is the complete ensemble of Art Nouveau buildings on Süda Street.

Tatari Street is a bit more chaotic and looks less well-off. This long street does not have a complete architectural ensemble. The unique quality of Tatari Street is its varied buildings from the start of the 20th century. The yards that extend to the depths of the block are filled with green in the summer.
In Tallinn, the Tatari block has the highest concentration of culturally significant houses. Throughout history, the block has been a favourite among the intelligentsia. The area has seen many publishing houses, consulates and cultural societies.
By maintaining and developing the unique scenery of the Tatari block, the area can become a desirable living area and a remarkable sightseeing opportunity near the Old Town. It’s a shame that the cheap and bloated apartment block constructed on Süda Street wilfully ignores the size and the hospitality of the block. In a few years, this quality could be worth a fortune.


Torupilli (‘bagpipe’) subdistrict got its name from a tavern with the same name that was located on land that currently has no permanent buildings (Tartu mnt 38), on the corner of Tartu Road and Torupilli. This district got its name from the bagpipe player on the tavern’s billboard. The earliest information on the tavern dates back to 1803.

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Torupilli is historically one of the newest districts in Tallinn. Just a few of the streets are very old. Most of the area was yet to be urbanised at the start of the 20th century. It was mostly just farming pastures and vegetable and fruit gardens. Tartu Road could be considered the oldest feature of the district, as it is one of the oldest inland-leading roads. The beginning of Tartu Road was urbanised at the start of the 13th century. By the end of the 18th century, the edges of the road to the current Orda Street intersection had been urbanised. Torupilli district was more evenly urbanised during the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. One of the reasons for this may have been Peter the Great’s decree that designated Tallinn as a base for the Russian military fleet operating in the Baltic Sea. The officers, boatswain, etc. of the large contingency acquired property in many of the suburbs. It was the reason the district saw the creation of a residential area called the Uus-Sloboda located on the current Jakobsoni Street in Torupilli. Before the construction of the Television House and Gonsiori Street, Jakobsoni Street was connected to Faehlmanni Street, which made a connecting road to Kadriorg. The explosive growth of the city during the turn of the 20th century and the 1920s saw substantial expansions of the urbanised city centre. Torupilli District saw more construction after 1910, which saw the J. Kunderi, Laulupeo, A. Hermanni, G.R. Jakobsoni, J. Kappeli and Lubja Street mostly urbanised. The most diverse and interesting structures were built on Laulupeo Street, which used to be a meadow. The Art Nouveau houses give the street a beautiful complete look. The street got its name from the song festivals held in the area. The most remarkable of the wooden houses is Laulupeo 6 which was designed by Karl Burman. In addition to the Tsarist houses, the area saw the construction Tallinn-style houses with stone stairwells from the first period of independence. These houses form a complete row on K. Türnpuu Street, which used to run parallel with the narrow gauge railway.

The Police Garden Park or Ogorodi (the area between Raua, C.R. Jakobsoni and F.R. Kreutzwaldi Street) and the area reaching the current J. Viimsi and J. Poska Streets also known as the Gonsiori Street area didn’t see much urbanisation. The area was divided into properties in 1910 but the area began to be urbanised in the 1930s, which saw the construction of 4-6-storey distinguished bourgeois stone apartment buildings. The centre of the former military vegetable garden remains a green space (the Police Garden Park). The row of stern stone houses from the 1930s near the beginning of J. Kunderi Street is unique in terms of Tallinn’s scenic areas. Nevertheless, it’s without a doubt a valuable building complex.


The current area of the subdistrict of Uus Maailm was known as Kristiine Meadow or Christinenthal until the end of the 19th century. At first, smaller structures were built on the properties. After that it was summer houses or mansions (Höfchen) and after a while, permanent residential structures. One of the major landowners, Adolf Johann Rulcovius, fragmented his land in 1878 and built an entire street network. The city jokesters began to call this newly populated area near Pärnu Road Uus Maailm (New World, Neue-Welt) after a popular tavern named Ameerika. Eventually, the street name stuck, and later it became the official name of the entire district.

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An important part of the development of Uus Maailm was the A.M. Luther Plywood and Furniture Company by Pärnu Road in 1883. There was a huge demand for living spaces, especially rental apartments near the company. The barren Uus Maailm area just on the other side of Pärnu Road was the perfect place to build rental properties. House building really kicked into gear in Uus Maailm during the 1890s. By the end of the Russian Empire, there were two major construction areas. First was the edge of Pärnu Road, the Pärnu Road side of Luha Street and Uus-Maailma Street, which currently has just a few old wooden houses remaining. The other more densely packed area was made up of two major streets – Väike-Ameerika Street and Koidu Street. The latter street still has the majority of the Tsarist mainly Lender-style workers’ houses intact.

During the First World War and the beginning years of the Estonian Republic in 1918-1922, construction in Tallinn had almost completely halted. At the beginning of 1923, the urbanisation of the area suddenly picked up again. From that period onward, the population of Endla, Koidu and Väike-Ameerika Street increased significantly. The Aasa, Komeedi, Saturni and Videviku Streets were completely built up. The 1930s in Uus Maailm are characterised by active construction work. More buildings were constructed, the former huge properties were divided up and any gaps in the streets were filled up with buildings. According to statistics, in 1918-39, the Fourth District (the Pärnu Road suburb, which in addition to Uus Maailm also included part of the Tõnismäe area and Kitseküla) saw the construction of 810 houses. The buildings constructed during the Estonian Republic period were predominantly wooden houses. In addition to the plenty of Tallinn-style houses with stone stairwells in Uus Maailm, it’s important to mention the smaller 2-3 apartment houses built during the 1920s and the start of the 30s. Many of them (like Aasa 6, Saturni 13, Koidu 73 and 78) have been designated as architectural monuments.

The railway side of Uus Maailm has better-maintained historic houses and street networks. Meanwhile, the majority of former structures on Suur-Ameerika and Kesk-Ameerika Street were destroyed during a bombing attack on 9 March 1944. A notable example from the Soviet era is a complete Stalinist section of buildings located between Videviku, Kristiine, Luha and Koidu Street. These large stone apartment buildings decorated in the style of the period are grouped around spacious landscaped shared yards. The symmetrical house pairs at Väike-Ameerika 8 and 19 as well as Suur-Ameerika 22 and 35 demonstrate a harmonious ensemble common to the Stalinist Classicism of the time. The areas have a few Khrushchevka-style apartment buildings, too.


Veerenni Street is the oldest street in the area – it was established in 1345 along Tallinn’s drinking water channel. But permanent buildings only appeared in the 1870s. This was one of the first districts that had a comprehensive design in the 1920s. The ensembles that were built with the help of state loans in the first half of the 1920s make this district unique.

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During this period, the whole area between Veerenni Street and Kalmistu Road was divided into rectangular blocks with small properties. The large amount of freely placed 1-2-storey houses, most of them with front gardens and fruit tree gardens, give the area a residential feel. During the second half of the 1920s, the building organisation Teachers’ Home was established on the current Õpetajate Street. Several other building organisations were formed there. This is why the district was first unofficially called Võlaküla. The Vaikse Street cul-de-sac (1924-1925) is architecturally interesting. E. Habermann designed a double house there with symmetrically placed private houses. Especially eye-catching in the area is the group of Central Hospital workers’ houses (1925) on Herna Street. To this day, this three-house ensemble designed by H. Johanson is noteworthy for its wholeness and quality. E. Habermann decided to present a real alternative to the much-used Tallinn houses with his four-apartment houses on Veerenni and Õilme Street (1924). The park at the centre of the block accents the whole neighbourhood, allowing most people living there to enjoy the view of the park from their home window. The area as a whole has a remarkable lush landscaping. This achieves the goal of the period’s city architect E. Habermann’s desire to create the appearance of a garden city. A great plus of the area is the lack of post-war buildings. This has allowed the area to keep its original design and appearance and makes the area feel complete.


Kristiine District has two scenic areas: The Lille area located between Paldiski Road, Endla and Tulika Street; and the Järve area near the Järve train stop. The city planning goals for both areas have been to maintain the suburban scenic atmosphere of the 1920s-1930s. In the Lille area it follows the building traditions found in Pelgulinn and the Järve area resembles the garden city scenery of the era. The Järve scenic area also includes a group of small Stalinist houses on Tuisa Street, constructed in the 1950s. In addition, Kristiine’s functional zoning designates several valuable architectural objects, which expand the protection and usage terms of the scenic area.


Historically the subdistrict is located on the land of the Erbe summer manor (German: Hermansberg, Hermanshof) The starting point of the establishment of the entire subdistrict was the railway station built in 1923 (by architect Karl Burman) and it was mainly initiated by people who worked on the railway.

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What makes Järve interesting is that by looking at the architecture it appears that railwaymen were not considered simple labourers because the occupants of the new buildings were supposed to be middle-class citizens. The opening of the railway and construction of the railway stop created the right circumstances for urbanisation in the area.

Construction in Järve began in 1923 after the compiling of a zoning plan for the Järve Station area, when it was decided that areas on both sides of the railway would be used. Architectural description of the Järve area. The representative and architecturally higher quality section of the Järve District is the area between the railway and Pärnu Road. Virve Street, which connects to the railway station at one end and, before the construction of the noise barrier, connected to Pärnu Road at the other end, is essentially the block’s boulevard. The long view to the station building and high-facade buildings with front yards receding from the street create a 1920s-30s style distinguished but garden-city-like environment. Laine Street, which intersects with Virve Street, has traditional buildings too, but the main attention goes to Virve Street.

The buildings in Järve are mostly 1.5-2-storey buildings. The most common type of roof is the gable roof. The larger and more stately homes often have half-hipped or mansard roofs. A few functionalist flat-roof homes can be found among the mostly traditional houses in the area. There are just a few three-storey buildings. This district made up of mostly wooden structures, as previously mentioned, has some stone structures, too. Often, they have pronounced quoins which ties in their appearance with that of the mansions of the time. One of the most important architects of the Estonian period Herbert Johanson has designed the most houses in the area. The head of the planning office at the time worked together with both apartment owner unions and created several standard projects. Most of the houses from the 1920s are the creations of Johanson. However, during the 1930s, private owners often declined Johanson’s projects and commissioned buildings from others. And so, Karl Treumann (Tarvas), Ferdinand Adoff, Eugen Habermann and Joosep Lukk have also designed several houses in Järve.

The Järve District had two major construction periods that are still clearly distinguishable. The older part is between the railway and Pärnu Road, encompassing Virve Street and Laine Street and the area between the two. Next, the construction continued on the other side of the railway on Järve Street, where the district from the Estonian Republic period extends to the intersection of Järve and Tuisu Streets and Elektri Street. The second major construction period in Järve District’s history was during the years right after the Second World War. In 1946, the second half of Laine Street, which ran parallel with Pärnu Road towards Nõmme, was divided up into properties. 10 of the 12 properties saw the construction of houses typical of the meagre post-war conditions. During the same time those buildings were coming up, there were plans to build a huge ensemble of Stalinist apartment buildings on the other side of the railway, near the end of Järve Street on the other side of Tuisu Street. Six three-storey apartment buildings were constructed there. Taking into account the minimalism of Stalinist architecture from the start, it’s an extremely good example of a compact Stalinist building ensemble. The unfenced yards, the surrounding playgrounds and the houses following the same standard design have remained intact to this day. The recent renovation work has not changed this appearance. This period-accurate block is remarkable because it is an independent complete project that adds to and doesn’t take away from Järve Street’s historic buildings. A few larger apartment buildings were added near the Stalinist apartment buildings near the end of the 1970s and 1980s.

From then on, Järve’s development was mostly connected to the development of the surrounding areas. During the 1980s, Pärnu Road was expanded. Because of this, properties near Laine Street were downsized and the road saw the construction of the first noise barrier in Tallinn. The concrete noise barrier is both a blessing and a curse for Järve. The ugly concrete blocks that appeared in people’s backyards has helped preserve the essence of the garden city atmosphere. Leaving Pärnu Road and the road axis makes you feel like you’ve reached a distant idyllic suburb. The value of Järve lies in its period-accurate and homogenous structures and its original street network. This has created a scenic area characterised by historic buildings in a garden city environment. This is an environment that deserves to be preserved as is and any changes to it have to be thoroughly considered.


The Lille block is an area with uniform construction in the style of Tallinn houses built during the 1930s. The district follows the building traditions of Pelgulinn. The city construction goals are to maintain the area’s 1920s-1930s suburban scenic area. Today, Lille is part of the Kristiine City District.

Kannikese tänav Lille asumis


Lasnamäe District has several valuable and scenic buildings and residential blocks that deserve to the preserved. The Peterburi Road – Kivimurru – Sikupilli – Majaka Street Stalinist scenic area and the scenic block between Paekivi and Katusepapi Street have been designated as scenic urbanised areas. In addition, the former air force base and its buildings around Vana-Kuuli Street and several industrial buildings from the turn of the century and the period of the First Estonian Republic have been designated as valuable objects.

The area between Paekivi and Katusepapi Street

This area is located above the limestone quarries that were already known in the Middle Ages, thus the buildings are partially established by backfilling the limestone quarry holes. The area was populated at the beginning of the 20th century in relation to the establishment of the Sikupilli subdistrict.

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This area is located above the limestone quarries that were already known in the Middle Ages, thus the buildings are partially established by backfilling the limestone quarry holes. The plan compiled by Eurich in 1880-82 showed a few buildings on the seaside edge of the cliff but most of the area was marked as a limestone quarry. On the map, the future network of streets (Katusepapi and Kivimurru Street, including Pallasti and Paekivi Street between the two) had, at the time, fully been developed and defined as walking paths.

The area was populated at the beginning of the 20th century in relation to the establishment of the Sikupilli subdistrict. At the time, the price of land in Lasnamäe was three times cheaper than in the rest of Tallinn. This is why families with lower incomes decided to live there. The reason for the lack of draw for the area was certainly the rundown, grey and cold surroundings and unpleasant social groups – the limestone quarries were home to vagrants and the homeless.

The oldest remaining buildings come from 1902. Construction became more active in 1906. At first, only the odd-numbered side of Katusepapi Street was built-up. There were only a few houses on the other side of the street. Next, were the buildings on Kivimurru Street. Most of the people living there were workers of the Dvigatel factory. Street names in the area refer back to the former limestone quarry: Paekivi (limestone), Kivimurru (quarry) as well as Pallasti (formerly Ballasti, a term referring to the unusable layers in limestone). Katusepapi Street got its name from the Tallinn Roofing Paper Factory built there in 1898.

The 1910 map shows that the aforementioned area was, for the most part, built-up. The next wave of active construction was in the 1930s, which mostly saw the construction of two-storey Tallinn houses with a central stone stairwell.

R. Nerman has dedicated a fact-intensive chapter in his Lasnamäe book to describing the 1930s Sikupilli (including the area discussed in this section) neighbourhood. The area has mostly one- and two-storey buildings. Most of them are wooden, a few are built from limestone and mixed materials. Most properties in the area are private properties. The buildings are more densely packed in the area between Lasnamäe, Katusepapi, Ballasti and Majaka Street. The border areas near the limestone quarry are sparsely populated. The buildings were located at the edge of the street, the longer side usually facing towards it. Some properties had two buildings standing behind each other. The free land on the property was mostly used to grow vegetables. This is why vegetable gardens are a part of the historic Sikupilli neighbourhood’s identity. The properties were surrounded from the street and yard side by high (typically 2 metres high) fences (most common were wooden fences). The pavement was covered with limestone tiles.

The Stalinist Majaka block in Sikupilli

The scenic area between Majaka-Sikupilli-Peterburi Road and Kivimurru Street, built during the 1940s-50s, represents an urbanised area following the guidelines of Stalinist city planning. In addition to apartment buildings inspired by Classicist architecture, the area has important yard structures, shared yard spaces within the blocks, property barriers, wood lanes by the street and much more.


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Bombing during the Second World War also hit the Sikupilli neighbourhood. Majaka Street was hit the hardest but Katusepapi, Kivimurru ja Pallasti Street were also damaged in this area. Post-war Lasnamäe was in a desperate state. The cleanliness of the buildings and streets left much to be desired and the state of the roads was bad. Lasnamäe quickly lost the harmonious environment it had archived by the end of the First Estonian Republic period. The general chaos in the cityscape was exacerbated by large swaths of land given to the military and industrial companies who didn’t care about the surroundings when constructing buildings.

In 1947, the urbanisation and landscaping conditions were improved in the Peterburi Road – Kivimurru – Tuulemäe – Majaka block, which was extended up to Sikupilli Street in 1948. The area is representative of a residential area designed following the principles of Stalinist city planning. This means the area and its buildings were designed by Russian architects. The Sikupilli neighbourhood's Stalinist blocks were created and designed by architect Druženko in State Specialised Designing Institute (GSPI) no. 11.

The area is made up of two blocks. The Peterburi Road block was designed to be more stately, meaning they are 3-storey buildings (most of the buildings in Sikupiili were modest 2-3-storey buildings). The Majaka and Peterburi Road corner building is accentuated by a corner tower. From the perspective of city building, the residential area follows a classical composition. The buildings by the main street are more stately. The corners of the block are finished with L-shaped buildings, which tend to be higher and more decorative. The buildings in the inner streets of the block are simpler and lower. As a compositional technique, the centre of the block has longer houses with two stairwells. The space inside the block is meant to be a shared clean yard space, which was basically a new yard structure in Estonia at the time. Up until that point, each house had had a closed yard outlined by the property border, but now they were advocating for a collective lifestyle using open yards. Using Classical design techniques, the block is bordered by a metal fence with stone poles. An inseparable part of Stalinist residential areas is the tree-lined street, which is mainly made up of a row of poplar trees that separate the houses and the pavement from the driveway.

The built-up area between Majaka and Tuha Street

The apartment buildings on the block between Majaka and Tuha Street, built during different periods, make up a seamless whole. These buildings were designed to accommodate the expanding industrial area. The oldest buildings are from the 1940s. For the most part, the structure of the block as a whole, with its historic buildings, small structures and landscaping, has been maintained.


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The urbanisation of the area between Majaka and Tuha Street began in the 1940s. During that time, the area near the limestone quarry saw the construction of houses following the standard design called ‘people’s apartments’. A ‘people’s apartment’ is a simple 2-3 room apartment which primarily housed workers and their families who had been brought here from across the USSR. Near the end of the Second World War, the block became the camp for German prisoners of war and was surrounded by a high barbwire fence. Wooden buildings were damaged during the war in 1944-1945. The only ones that remained were located between Majaka and Majaka Lane (Majaka Street 57 and 59, Majaka Lane 4). After the Second World War, plans to restore the buildings and repair the block were made. The original property structure was restored. The old high limestone plinths and the stone stairwells that had survived the fire were used in the construction. The two-storey apartment buildings had high stone-hipped roofs and were covered in plaster. The repair plan’s design included fencing around the block, shared used courtyards and a tree-lined avenue on Killustiku Street (formerly Künka Lane). In 1957, the building project was finalised. It saw the construction of three apartment buildings between Killustiku and Tuha Street (Killustiku 5, 7, 9).

When it comes to the area between Majaka and Tuha Street, it’s important to take note that the construction follows the historical city building structure, street network, unified style, the general scale of the buildings and other characteristics of the area. The apartment buildings inspired by Classicist architecture have to be restored or reconstructed in their existing capacity and as close to the original as possible. The project’s roof design solutions, the buildings’ original details and exterior design solutions have to be maintained or restored. It’s also important to pay attention to and maintain valuable landscaping, natural objects, high vegetation, parks and green spaces (yards).
The protection and usage terms for the Majaka and Tuha Street built-up area are provided in the Lasnamäe Residential Area Functional Zoning section (3.2. Protected Urbanised Areas).



The scenic area of Nõmme is more multifaceted than the wood-built districts surrounding the city centre. Nõmme is architecturally fragmented but its coherency can be found in it being a forest city. Nõmme has entire streets that have maintained their comprehensive look from the time they were first established – both in terms of the architecture and the division of space.

The oldest architectural section of Nõmme is the Tsarist summer villas and pensions. The wooden buildings with large romantic glass verandas and often with small towers have maintained their original appearance.
The best houses in Nõmme are ones from the 1920s-40s. These included private residences as well as small houses with 2-4 apartments. With their mostly modest interior and traditional gable roof, these houses have high use value to this day. Because of their distinguished appearance they are highly sought after in the real estate market.

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Until 1917, the pine-rich area between the Mustamäe cliff and the Pääsküla bog belonged to the Jälgimäe Mansion. The Pärnu Road and the Tallinn-Paldiski railway constructed in 1870 crossed through the area. The current Nõmme area became a popular destination in 1872 after the construction of the Nõmme railway stop. The mansion owner Nikolai von Glehn and later his son Manfred supported the development of the area. In 1873, the properties in the area between the Nõmme railway stop and Pärnu Road were rented out and in 1880 were being sold as building property for summer homes. By 1893, there were around 50 summer homes. Most of them had 2-3 rooms and a glass veranda. At the beginning of the 20th century, 2-storey pensions and rental properties were added. The 17th-century Nõmme (Mägedevahe) Inn and the forest ranger house became a centre of the neighbourhood. Another centre was the Kõrgepea hillock on the eastern end of the cliff. There N. v. Glehn built a cattle manor in the 1880s. In 1886, the romantic Glehn Castle was built. Glehn had small houses with mantle chimneys built around Puu and Harku Street and different businesses in the Pärnu Road area. In 1912, he had a stately post office built by the railway station. Around 800 people lived in Nõmme at the beginning of the 20th century. Nõmme saw massive growth in 1909-1913. The construction of Peter the Great’s Naval Fortress in 1912-1918 supported further development of the area. In 1914, Nõmme became a summer vacation destination. In 1918, the area was given borough rights. In 1923, Pääsküla District as well as the Liiva railway station and Valdeku Street were added to Nõmme. Nõmme’s growth continued after the electrification of the Tallinn-Pääsküla railway in 1924. The Kivimäe, Hiiu and Harumäe railway stops were added in the mid-1920s. In 1926, Nõmme was given city rights. In 1940, Nõmme was added to Tallinn.

The scenic area of Nõmme is more multifaceted than the wood-built districts surrounding the city centre. Nõmme is architecturally fragmented but its coherency can be found in it being a forest city. Nõmme has entire streets that have maintained their comprehensive look from the time they were first established – both in terms of the architecture and the division of space.

The oldest architectural section of Nõmme is the Tsarist summer villas and pensions. The wooden buildings with large romantic glass verandas and often with small towers have maintained their original appearance. Their economic restoration would be a huge victory for Nõmme. The best houses in Nõmme are ones from the 1920s-40s. These included private residences as well as small houses with 2-4 apartments. With their mostly modest interior and traditional gable roof, these houses have high use value to this day. Because of their distinguished appearance they are highly sought after in the real estate market. The biggest threats to Nõmme’s scenery are the reckless dividing of properties which, along with the increase in population density, will bring about the destruction of the forest city, as well as construction work that does not take into account the existing environment where unsuitably large buildings will reduce the quality of life in several surrounding blocks.


Pirita District has for the most part residential areas with a garden city atmosphere. Pirita’s functional zoning designates two scenic areas – the Merivälja garden city and Maarjamäe-Kose. Their complete scenery is protected because of its historic street network, landscaping, building structure and its unique uniform architecture.


Ernst Gustav Kühnert and Robert Natus won the Merivälja design competition in 1924. An American-style regular grid characterises the garden city, with a few curvy roads and the abundance of green areas making it more intimate.

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The seaside garden city of Merivälja is located between Pirita and Viimsi. In 1924, the Saku Garden City Association initiated the construction of the property of Viimsi Manor. During the war, the land on which the association had built the Saku garden city (1914) was taken away. The replacement land was located in Aruküla and Merivälja. Ernst Gustav Kühnert and Robert Natus won the Merivälja design competition in 1924. An American-style regular grid characterises the garden city, with a few curvy roads and the abundance of green areas making it more intimate. Most of the roads are directed towards the shoreline (Ranna Road) because of the area’s strong slope towards the sea. Two main roads – Viimsi and Väina – intersect in the middle of Merivälja. The latter is directed across the bay towards the Niguliste church tower in the Old Town. The plan was to build a centre with a marketplace, an administrative building, a church and a square around the intersection of the main roads. The area of the current Merivälja Park was supposed to have a play and sports area and an open-air theatre. The plan for the street network included the possibility of extending the planned Kadriorg to Pirita tramline from Viimsi Road to Lääne Road.

Estonian garden cities did not include local industries as was dictated by the English classical garden city (E. Howard) of the late 19th century.
The Merivälja neighbourhood has developed into an architecturally extremely colourful small-house residential area. Each decade has added its own tastes and needs to the area.

The first German Heimatschutz-inspired Traditionalist architectural houses in Merivälja were built in 1925. At the time, all building plans had to go through the building commission, which hoped to create a unified look with the buildings. Later decades have added their own examples. Here you can find the 1930s Functionalist building, post-war small houses and standard projects with high gable roofs. There is a lot of Finnish Modernist-inspired architecture with cornices that are suitable for a garden city while also blending into nature. There are playful castles created in a Post-modernist craze, eclectic villas of the rich and in recent times more and more minimalist new constructions. From the start, Merivälja has always been expanding. The popularity of suburban residential areas will help the area continue growing.
The text comes from a supplement in the magazine MAJA (2-2002), author Liina Jänes


The area is bordered by Saare Street, Paju Street (the even and odd numbers) and from there the properties by Kose Road all the way to Varsaalika Stream.

The residential area next to Kose Road, named after the Kose mansion (built in 1790 by J.C. Koch), was united with Tallinn in 1945 and it became an attractive district for single-family units. It mainly consists of houses that were built during Tallinn’s peak period of construction after the Second World War. Most of the buildings look similar and have influences from traditionalism (the scale, roofline, connection to the garden) as well as functionalism (round windows, some large glass surfaces and smooth plaster finish) and a characteristic high gable roof. In the context of Soviet building architecture, the heavily decorated facades (cantilever stones in the corners of the eaves, the framing of the windows/openings) and several buildings following custom projects deserve attention and to be preserved.

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The development of the Põhja-Tallinn and Kopli Peninsula was heavily influenced by powerful industrial companies that were created there after the fast development of the railway network. Industrial plants, factories and the military industry that had set itself up on the peninsula created the foundation for expansive and unique neighbourhoods and the necessary infrastructure. The scenic areas designated and specified in the Põhja-Tallinn District’s functional zoning are located in the Kalamaja, Pelgulinna, Kelmiküla and Pelguranna neighbourhoods and the Sirbi and Laevastiku blocks. The Kopli Lines scenic area has been designated in the Kopli Lines and surrounding area’s detailed zoning plan.


Kalamaja is the oldest suburb of Tallinn and its centuries-long development can be determined with great accuracy. Based on various archival data, we have proof that many of the current wood buildings are eighth-generation buildings.

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The first written records of Kalamaja are from the second half of the 14th century. The settlement had likely been there for much longer. Most researchers believe that the coastal areas have been home to fishermen from nearby villages since prehistoric times. Kalamaja’s location near the harbour made the district attractive even during the Middle Ages. For example, the location had 78 independent households in 1527. The most remarkable part of the district was the Gertrude Chapel. After the demolishing of the chapel in the 1540s, the new Kalamaja Church was built further away from the city walls. Kalamaja has always been closely associated with the sea because of its location. During the Middle Ages, wherrymen, fishermen and fishmongers lived in the district. Maps from the beginning of the 18th century show that almost all of Kalamaja had been populated. By today’s standards, the only densely populated areas were Suur-Partei and Väike-Partei Streets. Kalamaja really began to develop near the end of the 19th century when several factories popped up along with the construction of the railway. This means the number of people living in the city increased because of the workers who were looking for accommodations. The era of simple, cheap rental properties had begun.

Kalamaja’s current buildings are quite varied in appearance. The buildings on the streets with longer history are quite uneven. But the area between Salme-Graniidi Streets stands out for its complete and architecturally high-quality ensemble. In the 1930s, the land that had at the time been the Lausmann meadow (the area between Vabriku and Tööstuse Street) saw the construction of 2-3 apartment houses with stone stairwells. According to the design by A. Soans and E. Habermann, the central area of the block was to remain empty. This was supposed to be the location of a large shared-use green area. The huge building known today as the Salme Cultural Centre was constructed there during the Soviet era.

Today’s Kalamaja provides an interesting overview of the development of workers’ dwellings from the cheap rental shacks of the 19th century to typical Soviet housing. Even though it may appear quite chaotic, it is a living museum that has real potential to become a tourist attraction.


Kelmiküla is a neighbourhood in the Põhja-Tallinn District of Tallinn. The neighbourhood is bordered by the Kalamaja, Vanalinna, Kassisaba and Pelgulinna neighbourhoods. During the Middle Ages, Kelmiküla was a typical suburb and belonged to Toompea. At the beginning of the 19th century, a forest tree nursery was built between Tehnika and Sügise Street that was the city’s most diverse and largest garden centre in the second half of the century. The most common building type was a two- or three-storey wood building with a central stone staircase called the Tallinn House.



The Kopli-Niidi scenic area is located between Kopli and Niidi Streets in Põhja-Tallinn. The former textile industry and infrastructure of the area have had the most impact on its architecture.

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The Laevastiku Street block on the Paljassaare Peninsula is a complete circular street of Stalinist buildings that were built for the harbour workers in 1949. The buildings form a comprehensive ensemble around the triangle landscape. The Laevastiku block on the Paljassaare Peninsula has a strange mix of newer design principles combined with elements of the pre-war culture of life. Although these modest two-storey houses with their pronounced central staircase are stone houses, they clearly resemble the Tallinn House. The overall impression of the subdistrict is small and intimate, reminiscent of the spacious environment of the suburbs of the era of the First Republic. There is a lack of the pompousness common in other Stalinist residential areas. The placement of the buildings around a central square that was supposed to be a shared recreational area is a clear Soviet move. At first, there were no fences, emphasising the equality of this new society. One of the central buildings in the green area in the middle of the block is Laevastiku 1a. The regional zoning shows it was planned to be a kindergarten.

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In the 19th century, Pelgulinn’s area was covered with bogs alternating with ericaceous hills and pine forests. The few meadows were used as pasturelands. Buildings first arose near Paldiski Road, where the earliest data on housing comes from the middle of the 18th century. The construction of the Tallinn-St.Petersburg railway, which began in 1869, accelerated the development of the city district.

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Workers connected to the railway were glad to live in the nearest suburb. This is why Telliskivi, Härjapea, Heina and Õle Street, in addition to the prior Paldiski Road, were created. At the beginning of the First World War, the area between Kolde and Roo Streets had been populated. The area with predominantly Tsarist wooden buildings is one of the most exciting but also problematic areas in Pelgulinn.

At the start of the 1920s, the pasturelands were put into use as residential areas. Because of affordable building loans, the area was quickly filled with new high-quality houses. The most remarkable buildings are the ‘Oma Kolle’ cooperative on Kolde Boulevard and the civil servant houses on Maisi Street. These dated German garden city movement ideas from the turn of the century were quite unusual in our cultural space and did not find a wider audience. During the 1920s-30s, there was a huge number of Tallinn houses with stone stairwells and several paired houses built next to the odd house complexes with a clearly more elitist style. The houses built during the end of the 1940s and the start of the 1950s at the end of Ristiku Street and around Rukki Street blend organically with the scenery of Pelgulinn. Unfortunately, the later buildings do not take into account the existing environment.


One of the first largest residential projects was the urbanisation of the free area in Pelguranna. In 1948, the Estonian SSR Institute of Construction Projects created the ‘Pelgurand’ project. The head designer of the project was G. Šumovski.

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The residential area was built for the workers and staff of the Tallinn Shipyard no. 890 (formerly the Russian-Baltic Shipyard) and their families. The project was designed according to the 1945-46 Tallinn general zoning. According to the project, it was supposed to be a block with a collection of 12 houses. The project had 3-4-storey houses by the streets and two-story residences inside the block. The idea was to have community and service spaces on the ground floor of the houses on the main street. There were separate buildings for a cinema and shops. The school and kindergarten were placed in the centre of the block. The north-west section of the planned keel-shaped area had a rectangular main square that was the beginning of the central main street boulevard. The main street headed south-east towards the cultural centre and park. The park ended with the Pelgurand beach and jetty that had been constructed in the sea.

The area was planned to house 350 people per hectare. In 1949-51, the residential buildings, kindergarten, school, street network and utilities were finished. Nearly half of the planned houses and the huge cultural centre with a park and beach were not constructed. The reason was the change of political direction in 1954. The finished buildings don’t exactly match the design, with the placement and dimensions of some of the buildings not quite right. However, the original design principles remained. During the 1960s, new residential districts for mass housing were built around Pelguranna and its Stalinist architecture. During the 2000s, the buildings began to be renovated and the facades cleaned up.

The Pelguranna area is a clear example of Russian Stalinist design and architecture in the decade following the Second World War. The basis for the grand designs and building projects was the standard project used across the USSR. The plaster-covered facades of the building have loose interpretations of historic architectural styles shown in the varied stucco reliefs, pilasters, cornices and arch openings. The area has remained in good condition and buildings are currently being renovated.

The historical overview is from ‘An Inventory of the Põhja-Tallinn Scenic Area’ (2006) compiled by Eensalu ja Pihel OÜ

Last modified 14.05.2024