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Discover the exhibition

Ahoy, sea-lover!

The Estonian Maritime Museum would like to invite you to discover the history of Estonian seafaring in the Museum and Visitor Centre of Fat Margaret. 

This is not a regular museum building but was built almost 500 years ago. Back then, the building was used for fortification to make sure that no invaders could make their way into the city. The tower has been reconstructed several times. You get to see the ruins of the old walls in the museum. The Great Coastal Gate (Suur Rannavärav) next to Fat Margaret was used for bringing the goods which had been shipped to the port into the city.

The oldest cargo ship

The museum exhibits the wreck of the oldest ship found in Estonia which is approximately 700 years old. A vessel of this shape is called a cog. Such cogs used to sail the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. The exhibition also includes various items which were found near the shipwreck and which show us, for example, how people used to cook on board a ship at sea back in the day.

In the cog hall, you can:

  • discover how a cog was built;

  • learn about the differences between the medieval and the current Port of Tallinn; which goods were shipped then; how did they measure the amounts and how much the goods might have cost;

  • hear merchants’ tales;

  • try your hand at managing the operations of a mediaeval port.


  • Download a free app and watch the curators of the exhibition introduce six items from the hall of the cog and sailboats. Download the app here

Sailing ships had to wait for windy weather

Moving on from the cog, you will find yourself on the floor of sailing ships. You will recognise this room immediately, as there is a real ship mast with a large sail set up here. It used to belong to a vessel called Triin which was built in Saaremaa more than 80 years ago.

In the hall of sailing ships, you can:

  • study small ship models which are accurate copies of real ships. Among others, you get to see the model of a sailing ship which was used by the explorer Bellingshausen when he discovered the continent of Antarctica. You will also learn about the journeys of other explorers originating from Estonia;

  • stand behind a ship’s wheel and heave the anchor;

  • make knots and put together a small sailboat.

The era of steam-powered vessels

Ships which are powered by hot steam were invented roughly 200 years ago. It was no longer necessary to wait for the wind to blow and make the sails push the vessel on its way. Steamers were used to carry cargo as well as passengers. As the technology developed, metal vessels with even stronger hulls were built which were able to break sea ice in winter. This allowed other ships to sail in winter as well. Before that, ships were left in ports when the sea froze.

In the hall of steam-powered vessels, you can:

  • see regular ship models as well as those which have been ‘cut in half’ to show the interior of the ship;

  • put together a funnel mark of a vessel;

  • load and unload goods at a port.

Modern motor vessels

Today, the large passenger and cargo ships as well as the smaller ferries running between islands are powered by engines. On the top floor of the museum, you will find the hall of motor vessels where you can get acquainted with the largest cargo, fishing, and passenger vessels of Estonia.

In the hall of motor vessels, you can:

  • learn the traffic rules and signs applicable at sea;

  • hear the tales of seamen of the life on a motor vessel;

  • try your hand at loading goods at a container port;

  • see the captain’s bridge of a large passenger ship and learn how the vessel is controlled from the bridge.

To make finding your way in the big museum easier, ask for a free map for children from the ticket booth!

On your next journey on a ship, you will know quite well how seafaring has changed in time. But perhaps you will become a shipbuilder or a famous captain?

Meie veebilehe kasutamise jätkamisega nõustute veebilehe põhifunktsioonide toimimiseks ja kasutaja eelistuste salvestamiseks vajalike küpsiste kasutamisega.

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