Blackheads, Tallinn

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Pikk 26

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  • House of the Brotherhood of Blackheads
    House of the Brotherhood of Blackheads
    by Airpunk
  • House of the Brotherhood of Blackheads
    House of the Brotherhood of Blackheads
    by Airpunk
  • House of the Brotherhood of Blackheads
    House of the Brotherhood of Blackheads
    by Airpunk
  • call_me_rhia's Profile Photo

    The Brotherhood of Black Heads

    by call_me_rhia Updated Sep 21, 2010

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    The most photographed door in Tallinn is a 1640 bright red, green and gold door which is located at Pikk 26; it’s the door belonging to the historic home of the Brotherhood of Black Heads. But who were the Black Heads? It was a guild of unmarried (mostly German) merchants and ship captains who chose St. Maurice as their patron, and St. Maurice was a black African moor – hence the name Black Heads. A profile of his head is pictured on the Brotherhood's coat of arms, and you can see it on top of the door as well.

    The Brotherhood of Black Heads guild must have been quite popular in Estonia and Latvia, as they used to possess buildings in more than 20 towns, including Tartu, Pärnu and Riga (right on the main square!!!). The house can be visited every day 10-19 except during concerts and other events.

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    Dance in the House of Brotherhood of Blackheads

    by ranger49 Updated Aug 4, 2010

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    What a strange name you may well ask.
    Founded by perhaps the medieval equivalent to Rotary or Round Tablers, this Guild consisted of young unmarried, merchants already successful, or up and coming, in their various activities.
    At this time Guilds played an important part in the city life of the northern European trading nations and were ultimately involved in the Hanseatic League.
    So their involvement encompassed social, political and business but their influence was felt equally in charitable and recreational activities. They chose St. Mauritius as their patron saint - he was a Moor whose dark skin led to the naming of the Brotherhood.

    The headquarters are in a city house dating from 1597. As we approached it looked in need of some stonework cleaning and I certainly did not see the beautiful entrance doors that I have since seen on so many photographs. The coat of arms over the entrance was pointed out but I did not bother to take photographs.
    Inside the dingy-ness continued but there seemed to be a lot of cleaning activity.
    We were then told by our young Guide told that the building was not fully open today as preparations were still being made for the State visit of HRH Queen Elizabeth 11 in only 6 weeks time.
    We went up a few stairs and with a flourish she flung open double doors into a gorgeous, light ballroom, that seemed all white and gold.
    Here we were entertained by a group of traditional dancers and musicians while we were served wonderful cakes and coffee. We spoke later to some of the entertainers; they were a group of young profesionals who danced and made music as a hobby but performed to keep the traditional culture alive and for charity.

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    Brotherhood of the Blackheads

    by a5floor Written Oct 18, 2009

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    The Brotherhood of the Blackheads dates from 1399. Back in those days the Blackheads were unmarried merchants who took thier name not from poor hygiene, but from their patron saint, Mauritius. Mauritius is a legendary African warrior whose likeness is found between two lions on the building facade (dating from 1597).

    Today concerts are held here most nights during the summer en less frequently the rest of the year.

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    Brotherhood of the Blackheads

    by pure1942 Written Sep 21, 2008

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    Tallinn's Old Town has many beautiful carved wooden doorways but the most famous is undoubtably the door of the Brotherhood of the Blackheads building on Pikk St. The Blackheads were unmarried merchants who formed a guild in Tallinn in 1399 and moved into the building on Pikk in 1517. As well as the beautifully painted carved door the building also displays impressive stone carvings on its' facade. The carvings on the door and facade represent Tallinn's partners in the Hanseatic League, King Sigismund III and Queen Anna and the the Blackheads coat of arms bearing a picture of St. Mauritius, The patron saint of the brotherhood.
    The Brotherhood Building is closed to the public except for occasional public concerts.

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    Mustpeade maja

    by leics Written Jul 20, 2008

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    Wonderfully elaborate door
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    The 'House of the Blackheads', on Pikk tanav ('long street') is a rather lovely Medieval building with a beautiful door (1640).

    The Brotherhood of the Blackheads was formed for visiting bachelor merchants. It's patron saint was St Maurice (hence the 'black head' bit). The Blackheads also had a military function, giving parades and suchlike.

    The guild moved into the building in 1531, and stayed there until the 1940s.

    I didn't notice the building being open, but apparently it is (if there are no concerts of meetings on). It would be worth having a look inside, if you can.

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    St. Kanut's Guild

    by Raimix Updated Aug 21, 2007

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    Kanut's Guild is known from 13th century. It is like an organisation that takes into religiuos craftsmen (they were mostly Germans). Some of merchants come here already from the House of the Brotherhood of Blackheads. If I am right, on colourful building fasade there is statues of St. Kanut and Martin Luther.

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  • Raimix's Profile Photo

    House of the Brotherhood of Blackheads

    by Raimix Updated Aug 21, 2007

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    This house is one of the best preserved Renaissance building in Tallinn. The house is known from 14th century, but in 16th century it was purchased by Brotherhood of Blackheads and renewed to Renaissance style by Dutch style.

    The most beautiful element of house is a door that was made in 1640.

    The Brotherhood of Blackheads is known from 1399. They were young and single merchants, who wanted to be accepted to Great Guild later and foreign merchants, staying in Tallinn for longer time. It is interesting enough that Brotherhood was active only in Estonia and Latvia.

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    House of the Brotherhood of Blackheads

    by Airpunk Written Jun 22, 2007

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    The brotherhood of blackheads, founded in 1399, was a kind of lower division to the Great Guild. That was the place where all the people were organized who did not fulfill the criterias to enter the great guild. Those were young, unmarried merchants, foreigners who were only for a limited period in Tallinn and others. Their name comes from the patron saint, Saint Maurice, who was from Northern Africa. He is depicted above the entrance door. The building is from the 14th century, but the brotherhood moved in in the early 16th century. In 1597, larger changes took place and it was during this time that the façade was changed. Here, the transistion from late gothic to renaissance style is visible. The famous door comes from 1640 and is said to be the most photographed door in Tallinn. A larger restoration took place in 1908, but this one is not visible from outside. Today, the house is used for cultural events such as classic concerts.

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  • Inguuna's Profile Photo

    House of Brotherhood of Blackheads

    by Inguuna Written Feb 3, 2007

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    Facade of the building
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    This building is almost the one from Renaissance style architecture in Tallinn. The brotherhood of blackheads united together young and single merchants later to be accepted to the Great Guild. Also here gathered the foreign merchants who weren’t staying in Tallinn for long time.
    The name of the organization closely connected with its patron Saint Mauritius, whose head also is on coat of arms. The Brotherhood was active in Latvia and Estonia.
    The building is renovated more times, but has saved it beautiful façade during many years. It’s worth to see its doors.
    We also here in Riga have House of Blackheads.

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    Door Portals

    by frockland Updated Jul 7, 2006

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    House of the Brotherhood of Black Heads
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    Most of the guild buildings are on Pikk Street. They have nice portals, like the House of the Brotherhood of Black Heads. Their portal is one of the most eye-catching doors in Old Town. Its dates back to 1640. The Blackheads were a society of unmarried young merchants who were living here for a longer period but not permanently.
    The name is associated with the patron St. Mauritius, an early Christian martyr.The Brotherhood was active only in Estonia and Latvia, unknown in the rest of Europe. The last Members of the Brotherhood left Tallinn in the 1940s.

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    Brotherhood of the Blackhead

    by mightywease Updated May 13, 2006

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    Door at the Brotherhood of the Blackheads' house

    Along Pikk tanav at number 26 you come to this rather eye-catching door. It belongs to the house of the wonderfully named Brotherhood of the Blackhead. The brotherhood was founded in 1399 and was a guild of unmarried merchants and others, they took part in many of Tallinn's activities helping to organise the towns defences, arranging celebrations, patronising the arts and, it is said, staging some of the city's wildest parties! Their unusual name is explained by their patron saint, the Moorish St. Mauritius whose image can be seen above the door.

    The door itself dates from 1640 but the carvings on the building are older, dating from the late 16th Century and representing the only Renaissance facade in Tallinn.

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    Lai and Pikk street

    by King_Golo Updated Apr 19, 2006

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    Hansa time houses in Tallinn's Old Town

    Lai and Pikk street in the lower town show some great examples of traders' houses from the Hansa times. There are several guild houses, such as the Blackheads House. The members of this guild all were unmarried male German traders and very influential in that time. Most of them eventually started a career in municipal politics.
    Even today, the guild still exists, although now only in Germany. The Blackheads House is easily recognizable because of its colourful door (red, green and gold) over which the picture of Mauritius, their patron saint, is seen. Just next to it, there's the building of the Kanuti Guild.
    Apart from that, some interesting art nouveau buildings are also found on these streets.

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  • fabikt's Profile Photo

    House of the Brotherhood of Black Heads

    by fabikt Written Aug 21, 2005

    The House of the Brotherhood of Blackheads is nearly the only preserved Renaissance building in Tallinn.
    The Brotherhood of Blackheads emerged in 1399. The Brotherhood united the young, single merchants before they could be accepted into the Great Guild, as well as foreign merchants who were residing in Tallinn for longer periods but not permanently.
    The name of the Brotherhood is associated with their patron, the black St. Mauritius, an early Christian martyr who died in Switzerland around 280-300 A.D. His head is the mascot on the Brotherhood’s coat of arms. The Brotherhood was active only in Estonia and Latvia, unknown in the rest of Europe.

    Open: 10.00-19.00
    Closed during contcerts and other events

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  • brazwhazz's Profile Photo

    House of the Blackheads

    by brazwhazz Written Jul 4, 2005

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    The door and its

    Mustpeade maja (House of the Blackheads) is home to the best-known door in Tallinn (and that's saying something, given the large number of wonderfully preserved doors in the Old Town): the elaborate entrance to the House of the Blackheads -- a merchant guild that took its name from the North African Saint Maurice, whose profile can be seen over the door -- is sure to make you stop for a closer look when you pass it.

    Unfortunately, it is not possible to visit inside the house. The only way you can get in is by buying tickets to one of the chamber concerts that are held there.

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    House of the Brotherhood of Blackheads

    by Leipzig Written Sep 11, 2003

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    House of the Brotherhood of Blackheads

    The Brotherhood of Blackheads had united young, single merchants before they could enter the Great Guild since 1399.
    The seat of the Brotherhood was this beautiful Renaissance building. The richly decorated door dates back to 1640.

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