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the East Ambulatory

On the ground floor of the East Ambulatory there are exhibited ettic stones. A special view of Tallinn streets at the end of the 15th century was rich in ettic stones. These high stone slabs were placed at the entrance into a dwelling house of a citizen, on two sides of high strict upstairs - an ettic. House emblems, coats of arms or even some texts were inscribed on the ettic stones. Ettic stones replaced the number of house and name of its landlord.
The ground floor was located on the level of approximately one meter from the ground and it determined the necessity of high stairs. Street traffic of that time allowed that kind of standing far out to the street high stairs because only some lines of stones in the centre of the street (drittstein) were used for a pavement.
From the beginning of the 19th century, the street traffic caused big changes. New regulations adopted in 1825 that obliged all the landlords to establish correct pavements in front of their houses. Not only ettics were removed, but also contraforces and trade stands nearby the building. Regardless of that, there are lot of stairs and ettics standing out to the street in our town even nowadays. A new term for this removal was appointed in 1833. The stairs were allowed to stand out only for one foot.
Ageing of ettics was formerly several times discussed. Particularly on narrow streets where ettics hindered the street traffic. For example in the 17th century at Lühike Jalg street where the ettic was preserved thanks to the relevant application of the landlord.
It can be said for a summary, that ettics were removed at the end of the 18th century and finally at the beginning of the 19th century by the reason of their hindrance to street traffic and construction of pavements.
There is no sole ettic preserved in Tallinn Old City. Some ettic stones are available today. Most of them have lost their initial height. The upper parts of these ettic stones are preserved best of all. Several ettic stones that are exhibited here were transferred from Kalamaja cemetery. How did these stones appear to be at the cemetery? Renovated secondary texts at these ettic stones help us to settle this matter. It comes clear from these texts that Tallinn unskilled workers-Estonians have used the stones for memorial purposes. So one can see on the ettic stone “Rose” the text “Waghaus Kerl Johan Johanson 1816” and on Poorter stone “Arbeitsleute Aeltermann Johan Martenson” as well as on another Poorten stone “Rotmeister Michel Tõnisson”. There can be found some parallels of the same ettic types in some trade cities of North Germany (Lübeck, Hamburg, etc.) with which Tallinn had close trade connections in the 16th century.
The main type of Tallinn ettics was a ring-ettic. There can be found also ettic stones with finishing segment arches of volute gable form. Ring ettics were made of 13 cm thick stone. Width of the stones was 70-80 cm and height was depending on the height of the ettic, even up to three metres. Ring-ettics were some kind of sample stones, different from one another only by the depiction on the relief inside the ring.
A big opened rose motive - Mary’s Rose - Rose of Silence - that was usually depicted at the beginning of the 16th century, finally disappeared after the Reformation period.
Dates, texts and family emblems are depicted on older stones. Family emblems are placed on armoured coats or separately on the surface of the stone. Initials were added sometimes to the family emblems. Some changes can be followed on the design of ettic stones at the end of the 16th century. Landlord emblem was depicted more rarely. Some changes caused by assignment of a Nobel status to Tallinn citizens in the 17th century. Wealthy citizen allowed now to add his coat of arms to the ettic stones. Acanthus around his coat of arms became more dominate and developed into main decor of the relief.

The stonemasons
West ambulatory
the south ambulatory
the East Ambulatory