The newly renovated Estonian Maritime Museum shows off a 700-year-old shipwreck

The newly renovated Estonian Maritime Museum is now housing a 700-year-old shipwreck that, according to the museum, is unique to all Europe.

The museum reopened on 29 November after a two-year renovation programme and is now housing a new permanent exhibition at the Great Coastal Gate and the Fat Margaret tower on the edge of the Tallinn Old Town. The building complex now houses a 700-year-old shipwreck, unique to all Europe, together with 70 ship models and 50 digital and hands-on solutions, the museum said in a statement.

The displays at the museum. Photo by Hendrik Osula.

“We are excited to reopen not only the artillery tower of Fat Margaret, well-known and loved by tourists, but also the passages on the Great Coastal Gate, and the new room, which we took into use under the tower and the former courtyard,” Urmas Dresen, the director of the museum, said.

“The creation of the new space was the biggest challenge for the construction works. But it also revealed archaeological findings that clarified the understanding of the city’s fortification before the Fat Margaret was built. These fragments are exposed to the visitors as well,” he added.

The story of the life on the ship

The star exhibit of the new exhibition is the wreck of a medieval cargo ship – the cog. “What makes it so unique are the nearly 700 items that were discovered together with the wreck in 2015 in Tallinn. No other wrecks of cog-typed ships found in Europe have been accompanied by such items, telling us the story of the life and the goods on the ship,” Dresen noted.

The cog was discovered in 2015 in Tallinn.

According to the museum, the “exhibition delivers a narrative about Estonian seafaring from the times of medieval sea trade up to the modern cruise shipping and has connections to the countries worldwide. Visitors may be surprised to see their regions as part of digital solutions, presenting the maritime traffic or trading; the towns where the ships were built; the home ports of the ships during Soviet occupation” and so on.

The Fat Margaret tower houses the museum. Photo by Olev Mihkelmaa.

The Estonian Maritime Museum is an institution for collecting, preserving, studying and presenting Estonian maritime culture and history. It was founded in Tallinn on the initiative of former captains and sailors in 1935. During its long history, the museum has moved on several occasions and since 1981, its main exhibition is located in the 500-year-old Fat Margaret tower.

Cover: The 700-year-old cog, discovered in Tallinn in 2015, is now displayed at the newly renovated Estonian Maritime Museum. Photo by Hendrik Osula.

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