Photos: Cellars unearthed by archaeological dig in Haapsalu

An archaeological dig adjacent to the intersection of Rüütli and Linda Streets in Haapsalu's old town unearthed spectacular stone cellars, providing confirmation regarding how buildings have historically changed in the Western Estonian coastal town.

Unearthed this week were spacious cellars as well as two wells. The last time archaeologists dug any properties with stone buildings in Haapsalu's old town was nearly 30 years ago. Archaeologist Anton Pärn said that it is becoming increasingly clear that the 15th century was when Haapsalu saw the construction of many stone buildings and when the layout of the town's streets became more permanent.

"In the cellars along Rüütli Street we can speak rather of the shifting of the street line, and this has largely been in connection with the construction of the town wall in the first half of the 15th century," Pärn told ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera." "In other words, the town wall has dictated the shifting of buildings along Rüütli Street somewhat further away."

Some finds date back even further, to the second half of the 13th century, when Haapsalu was first built. Located nearby was one of the town's main arteries at the time — Pime Street, which ran from Haapsalu Castle to the harbor and which thus far has been studied very little.

"This is because this is the only street in Haapsalu that is gone now," Pärn explained. "We can track it along historical plans, but now we have the opportunity again to examine street layers as well as determine the age of this street."

The building located at this property was rebuilt several times over a period of centuries. According to written sources, this site was home to one of the town's three most expensive buildings in the 18th century. Soviet powers demolished the run-down building in the mid-20th century.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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