Attractions & museums
Photo: Estonian Maritime Museum
Photo: Toomas Tuul

    Great Coastal Gate and Fat Margaret Tower

    Guarding the north end of Pikk street, these two defensive structures provide an eye-opening glimpse into Tallinn's maritime past.

    The medieval-era Great Coastal Gate (Suur Rannavärav) and Fat Margaret tower (Paks Margareeta) were built not only to defend the city from the seaward side of town, but also to impress any visitors arriving via the harbour.

    These days Fat Margaret’s cannon tower is home to the Estonian Maritime Museum, which provides a detailed look at the all-important sea-faring aspect of Estonia’s history, displaying such things as Neolithic fishing gear, antique diving equipment, and even the entire wheelhouse from a 1950s-era trawler. The extensive museum covers four floors of the historic tower.

    You can also access the tower's rooftop for a picture-postcard view of the Tallinn harbour and Old Town.

    The Great Coastal Gate, along with the Viru Gates, are the last of six gates that controlled access to the town in medieval times. The gate system here on Pikk street originated in the 1300s, but it was during reconstruction in the early 16th century that the Fat Margaret cannon tower was added. Built from 1511 to 1530, this hefty, round tower has a diameter of 25 metres, a height of about 20 metres, and walls up to 5 metres thick.

    The origins of Fat Margaret's name are a mystery. Some theories insist it was named for one of its larger cannons, while others hint at a cook called Margaret who once worked here.

    In any case, the tower has served a number of different functions throughout its history. It has been used a storehouse for gunpowder and weapons, and as a prison.

    Free entry with Tallinn Card!
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    TripAdvisor® Traveler Reviews

    TripAdvisor logo tripadvisor rating 4.0 of 5

    based on 402 reviews

    • Fascintaing exhibition in a wonderful location

      tripadvisor rating 4 of 5
      June 25, 2022 By richardmP1661JV

      The tower contains the maritime museum which is very good with a lot of interactive displays that always make a museum more interesting. You can also see the interior of the tower and get access to... Read more comments

    • Maritime Museum - worth a visit

      tripadvisor rating 4 of 5
      June 13, 2022 By Roslyn138

      Walking around Tallinn on our cruise ship port stop , we were hoping to visit the KGB jail ( closed on Monday. However we were very close to Fat Margaret, and went inside to inspect. Its an unique... Read more comments

    • Very interesting and modern museum

      tripadvisor rating 5 of 5
      September 29, 2021 By Fudgemellow

      This museum is one of the two locations of the Maritime Museum. We had already visited the Sea Plane Harbour before visiting the Fat Margaret location. The museum has a very interesting layout... Read more comments