Rocca al Mare Village in Tallinn, Estonian Museum

Estonian open-air museum Rocca al Mare

Rocca al Mare is a famous ethnographic museum on the Kopli River. An irresistible magnet for every visitor whose goal is to learn about the history and culture of Tallinn.

The museum is a truly large-scale reconstruction of the village of the XVIII century. Here everyone will feel the unique atmosphere of those times, admire the rural architecture and beautiful landscapes.

History of the museum

The area received its name from a wealthy industrialist Arthur Girard de Susanton, who bought the land in the middle of the XIX century and built his summer residence there. The mansion was located near a high cliff on the seashore, and the entrepreneur (who was a well-known fan of all things Italian) named it Rocca al Mare, which means “coastal rock” in Italian. This naming approach became a tradition as people began to christen all the surrounding houses and virtually the entire neighborhood with Italian words. Unfortunately, the Swiss villa is the only surviving structure from that time. Today it is occupied by the main office of the Museum of Ethnography.

Interesting fact! As in other European countries, the inspiration for the creation of Rocky al-Mare in Tallinn was the Swedish “Skansen” – the first such open-air museum built on the island of Djurgården near Stockholm.

Ethnographic museum exposition

Tallinn Skansen occupies 79 hectares of land. It is a village complex with 70 authentic buildings that were brought to Rokku-al-Mare from all regions of the country. They are intended to describe the period between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries and are divided into four thematic sections: North, West, East and Islands. Each exhibit presents landscapes, rural architecture and indigenous life in different parts of Estonia. The exhibits are arranged around the main ring road, which is the meeting point for dozens of stylized country lanes that lead to the homestead.

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You’ll find 12 farmyards here, consisting of houses and barns with authentic fences. The museum houses about 45,000 exhibits and structures, including thatched huts, old mills, tool cabinets and racks, workshops, schools, blacksmith shops and chapels, fishing houses, fire sheds and taverns. The chapel from Sutlepah, built in 1699, is the oldest exhibit in the museum. It is worth mentioning that many of the houses have interiors with almost intact authentic objects and decorations.

Along with interesting ethnographic exhibits, the open-air museum offers a variety of handmade objects that are made on site by craftsmen and artisans. In addition, guests can enjoy horseback riding and taste delicious Estonian food. Throughout the year, the village hosts folklore festivals.

For whom is the museum

It is advisable to visit the ethnographic museum Rocca al Mare in the summer. It is the right place for those who are tired of the daily hustle and bustle of the city and want to have fun in the fresh air.

Contact info

Take bus number 21 or 21b, which go from the Baltic station to Rocky al-Mare. Please note that these buses leave every 30 minutes. Alternatively, before getting off at the zoo and walking the remaining distance, you can take trolleybus number 6 or 7. It usually takes 10-15 minutes to get to the village.

Tickets for the museum:

Summer: adult 7 EUR, children 3.5 EUR, family ticket 14 EUR Winter: adult 5 EUR, children 3 EUR, family ticket 10 EUR Annual pass: individual 25 EUR, family 50 EUR

Rocca al Mare – open air museum

Rocca al Mare - Open Air Museum

Unlike the vast majority of other museums located in or close to the center, this one is situated on the very outskirts of the city, in the Rocca al Mare neighborhood. The exhibits here are quite unusual for an ordinary museum; they are houses that were built on Estonian territory several centuries ago. Those who opened this place wanted to recreate in detail the atmosphere of the Estonian countryside of the XVII-XX centuries.

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Ethnographic Museum Rokka al Mare

The museum is located outdoors, and today its exposition is 72 old buildings, which are fully furnished with the furniture of those times. The total area of this not quite ordinary museum occupies 80 hectares. The size is quite impressive and tourists can spend half of their day here. The main purpose of such a museum is to acquaint modern man with ancient culture and show how the national architecture of Estonia developed.

Rocca al Mare in Tallinn

In the summer time of the year almost all buildings of the museum are open for internal visits. This means that the tourist can visit every house, near which the museum staff standing in the national clothes of Estonia. They tell all comers about the life of the people of that time, from the poorest population to the wealthy representatives.

In winter, most of the expositions are closed and all the buildings can be seen only from the outside. However, throughout the year there is an old school and a tavern, where you can always have a snack and a break from walking in the fresh air. The place also has its own entertainment program. In winter you can ride a sleigh, and in summer, everyone can not only see, but also ride a horse-drawn cart.

Rocca al Mare in Tallinn

On the territory of the open museum, each of its visitors can see a variety of old houses, fishermen’s huts, mills and farmhouses. It is worth noting that this place is right in front of the cliff, and everyone can see a beautiful view of the capital of Estonia. Moreover, a person can just take a walk in the open air and touch the history and at the end of the museum visit he will get a lot of unforgettable emotions and impressions.

Also the location of the museum is worth noting. If from his gate to head towards the city center, you can find yourself in the seaside area that leads to the popular Tallinn beach Strohomi. If the tourist is already in the open-air museum, he can visit the nearby Tallinn Zoo or the Rocca-al-Mare shopping center after completing the tour.

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Rocca-al-Mare shopping center in Tallinn

It is highly recommended to walk around the museum not alone, but to order a special tour. It is long enough (about 3 hours). However, for all this time the tourist will be able to walk around the entire territory of the museum and visit some of the houses, which are closed to individual visits. Therefore, if you want to know more about the culture of the XVII-XX centuries, it is best to book an excursion, which should be booked in advance.

Rocca-al-Mare: address on the map

The open-air museum is located on the outskirts of the city, in the western part of the city at the following address:

  • Vabaõhumuuseumi tee 12

How to get to the Rocca al Mare Open Air Museum

It is quite easy to get to the museum, even though it is located on the outskirts of the city. The buses No. 21 and No. 21B go to the destination from the center and stop right in front of the central gate of the museum. After visiting Rocca al Mare, it is also very easy to get back to the center by taking bus 41B or 4141.

For owners of private cars there is a free parking in front of the museum.

Opening hours Rocca al Mare

Opening hours vary depending on the time of year. From April 23 to September 28, the museum opens from 10 am to 8 pm. From September 29 to April 22, you can visit the open-air museum from 10:00 to 18:00.

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