In terms of history, the area at the end of Olevimägi Street represents one of the most mysterious places associated with the formation of the city of Tallinn. The first Novgorod Chronicle from 1032 mentions that the army of Yaroslav the Wise reached the sea and established a church here. If we refer to ancient city plans, we can see that the location of the modest modern typography building was once an ancient tower of the defensive wall, which in the past century was known as «Behind the old Russian church.»
From documents, it is known that the Orthodox Nicholas Church on Vene Street has been in its current location since 1405. However, there was another church in this territory mentioned in documents and closed in 1380. In later documents, this area is referred to as Mountain-Tabor, which is associated with the times of Jan Hus and the Hussites.
Mountain-Tabor was a stopping point for Russian merchants from Pskov and Novgorod on their way to the Gulf of Finland. It was one of the earliest elements of the Old Town’s development, along with the settlement of Scandinavian merchants.
The church dedicated to Saint Olaf, a Norwegian king, was one of the main structures in this merchant settlement and today stands as one of the most monumental landmarks in the city.
During the time when the maritime route from the Vikings and Scandinavians reached the Black Sea and the Greeks of Byzantium, the Gulf of Finland was a crucial route used in the second half of the 9th century and beyond. Over time, the coastline shifted, and the sea moved, bringing Mountain-Tabor closer to the city. The harbor was approximately located where the modern Kalev swimming pool on Aia Street stands today.
So, the role of Russian merchants had an impact on the formation of the city of Tallinn, even though in the Middle Ages they were not allowed to settle here permanently due to religious differences with Catholics. Later, after 1710, with the annexation of Estonia to Russia, the situation changed.