Exploring Tallinn: Pirita Convent

Tallinn is so much more than its Old Town. There are several cool places to go to and Autumn is the perfect time to do so: it isn’t too cold yet, there aren’t too many tourists anymore and final exams are nowhere to be seen yet. In the series Exploring Tallinn we will show you some of the places you shouldn’t miss!

Pirita is an area of town famous for its beaches and promenade, but it is also where the ruins of Pirita Convent are located.

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The convent was built in the 15th century during a period of prosperity in Tallinn when it became an important port for trade between Russia and the western kingdoms (it was also during this time that the Old Town walls and the City Hall were built).

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Pirita was a convent of the Bridgettine Order; actually, the name “Pirita” is a deformation of the name “Bridget” (Birgitta in Swedish), as it was the Order founded by Saint Bridget of Sweden who commissioned the construction of this place.

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The lifestyle of the nuns and monks that lived here for the 150 years that the convent was active was tough: they lived in strict enclosure dedicated to their studies and monks and nuns were not allowed to see each other: their living quarters were separated by the church itself.

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During the Livonian War (a.k.a. the war of everyone against everyone in Northern Europe), the forces of Ivan The Terrible attacked the convent in 1557, sacked it and burned it down. The Order couldn’t recover from that attack and the place was abandoned.

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And so that leaves us with these gorgeous ruins we can see today. Little is left from the living quarters, but it is still so interesting to see what’s there and try to imagine what it must have looked like when people were wandering around those rooms and hallways.

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But my favorite thing about this place is the church. How awesome is that massive triangular facade?

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The entrance fee is only 2 euros so get your camera head over there when you get a chance!

-Fabiola

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