The Walls of Tallinn are the medieval defensive walls constructed around the city of Tallinn in Estonia. The first wall around Tallinn was ordered to be constructed by Margaret Sambiria in 1265 and for that reason, it was known as the Margaret Wall. This wall was less than 5 metres (16 ft) tall and about 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) thick at its base. Since that time it has been enlarged and strengthened. The walls and the many gates are still largely extant today. This is one of the reasons that Tallinn’s old town became a World Heritage Site. The walls were enlarged in the fourteenth century, and citizens of Tallinn were required to turn out for guard duty, which meant to wear their armour and demonstrate their readiness to face off invaders.
The barbican of Viru Gate was part of the defence system of the Tallinn city wall built in the 14th century. A couple of centuries later, it already had 8 gates that consisted of several towers and curtain walls connecting them. The main tower of a gate was always square and the barbicans were equipped with one or two small round towers. As the entrances to the Old Town were widened, several gates were demolished. The Viru Gate had to pay its dues to a horse-drawn tram route that connected the Old Market with Kadriorg. However, the corner towers were preserved.
At one point in time, there were a total of 45 towers built into the walls that protected Tallinn. Twenty-six of those still remain. Two of the best preserved of the bunch are called Viru Gate. The gate dates from the 14th Century, as do most of the towers, and sits at the entrance way into the Old Town. . . . The towers used to be the fore gates to the city, and a larger set was built a little further in, which were held up by a set of square towers. Most of the gate was pulled down in 1880, in order to make room for more street traffic.