Toompea's Patkuli stairs closed until June 27

Patkuli stairs.
Patkuli stairs. Source: Tallinn City Council.

Patkuli stairway, connecting the Lower Town of Tallinn with the northern side of the Toompea stronghold, will be closed from Monday, June 6 until June 27 due to the restoration works of the Toompea's lower retaining wall.

Until the end of the works in June, access to Toompea from Nunne Street will be limited to Pikk Jalg street.

The restoration will be carried out on a 130-metre-long and 14-metre-high section of the retaining wall from the Patkuli viewing platform to the Kitseaed park. The restoration works will start from the Patkuli stairway.

 "The current works continue the gradual restoration of Toompea's retaining wall, started in 2017 with the aim to make it safer for residents and visitors. We are also preparing a second public procurement this year to repair the wall below the Kohtuotsa viewing platform," said Madle Lippus, Deputy Mayor of Tallinn.

History of the staircase

The retaining wall of the Toompea stronghold was built between the 1860s and the early 20th century. After the Crimean War, the earth fortification zone of Tallinn was excluded from the Russian Empire's defences by the year 1860 and subsequently transformed into parks and green areas. The retaining wall supports the natural cliff of the Toompea hill, so that erosion wouldn't pose a threat to the Toompea buildings and the people walking in the park or on the Patkuli staircase. The masonry has large relief arches with pointed arches in the Neo-Gothic style of 19th century historicist architecture.

At the beginning of the Soviet period, the condition of the retaining wall rapidly deteriorated, resulting in major collapses. In 1956-1958, major restoration work was undertaken on Toompea's retaining wall and staircases, redesigning the lower part of the Patkuli staircase and extending the viewing platform. Toompea's retaining wall began to deteriorate again in the 1990s, so the Patkuli stairway was closed for a few years. Major renovations of the retaining wall and the Pilsticker and Patkul stairs were undertaken between 1993 and 1997.

Tallinn resumed the restoration of the Toompea retaining wall in 2017 due to its poor condition. On the surface of the retaining wall and on the rock juts projecting from it, there is an overgrowth of algae and mosses, as well as grasses and tree growths. The wall and its arches have a number of holes that need to be filled, and in some places mortar has been eroded from the joints in areas exposed to water. Some of the limestone tiles covering the retaining wall and its niches have also broken down.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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