Avaleht > Exhibitions > Open exhibitions > MEDIEVAL PLEASURES

The Estonian History Museum exhibition “Medieval pleasures. Festivals of the Great Guild in the 15th and 16th centuries” at the Great Guild Hall will be open until 4 June 2017.

The Great Guild Hall located in Tallinn’s Old Town (17 Pikk St) has for hundreds of years been the site of festivities for members of the largest and most important merchant guild – the Great Guild – and their guests. The latest exhibition by the Estonian History Museum presents the colourful festivals and festival rituals of the upper classes in the 15th and 16th centuries. Wine and beer flowed at the Guild festivals, where guests could also enjoy the finest of dishes and sample exquisite eastern spices, whose aroma pervades the exhibition hall even today. 


As a guest of Tallinn’s mint master, Urban Dene, the richest townsman of his day, you can admire original artefacts and find out how the May Count was chosen and why the popinjay was shot. You can also find out which dishes found their way onto the guild dining tables and why one could end up being guarded by the ‘maiden’. On show are artefacts associated with the festivities and customs of the dining table, such as a ceramic jug made in Seigburg, which was found in the cellar of the Guild Hall. It probably broke when it fell to the floor and someone may have been fined because the breaking of dishes during festivities was punishable with a fine. Among the rarities is a Bartmann jug made in Cologne. We can also find out how much a good horse cost and what the shaffron that protected the prized animal’s head in the knights’ tournaments looked like. 

He who is cheerful of nature, no one can change. These are the words of the steward of the Great Guild, the organiser of the Great Guild festivities. Come and take part!

Photograph: Urban Dene, Tallinn’s richest man awaits visitors at the Great Guild Hall. Photographer: Vahur Lõhmus.


The exhibition is open at the Great Guild Hall until 4 June 2017. See HERE for opening times and ticket prices!


Curators: Ivar Leimus and Krista Sarv (Estonian History Museum), Anu Mänd (Tallinn University)

Team: Ehti Järv, Kristi Paatsi, Inge Laurik-Teder (Estonian History Museum)

Education programs: Kristi Paatsi (Estonian History Museum)

Architectural design: Jan&Ken (Jan Graps, Ken Ruut, Anne Määrmann)

Graphic design: Velvet OÜ

Audio program: Taavi Tulev

Replicas of clothing: Katrin Koch-Maasing (Tige Tikker) and Just4U dressmaking studio

Language editor: Hille Saluäär

Translation into English: Refiner Translations OÜ


We thank: Art Museum of Estonia, Niguliste Museum, Estonian National Museum, Estonian Theatre and Music Museum, Tallinn City Archives, Tallinn City Museum, Tartu City Museum, Tallinn University Academic Library, Tallinn University Archaeological Research Collection


Exhibition supported by: