Estonia | EUNewsletter

Address: House No. 11, Tallinn, Estonia

EstoniaIn the heart of Estonia, in Tallinn’s central Town Hall square, the doors of a 600-year old pharmacy, located at House No. 11 and believed to be the longest continuously operating pharmacy in Europe, are still open for visitors. The first written account of the pharmacy dates back to 1422, although historians believe that it might be older still.

Over time, the exterior of this respectable house has changed little. The same, though, does not apply to the types of the drugs sold therein. In the late Middle Ages, the pharmacy sold not only medicine and infusions, but also other essential goods, including paper, ink, sealing wax, spices, candles, among other items.

This pharmacy also proffered claretta, a red wine with a mixture of herbs and essential oils, which the aristocracy in Tallinn preferred to all other liquids and elixirs for ailments, and which has been used from before written records began. Today, this ancient tradition has been preserved alongside the sale of modern medicines.

Since 1999, a new restaurant called “Balthasar” has opened its doors on the second floor of the pharmacy where all meals are made of another ancient and effective medicine, garlic.

The pharmacy also hosts a museum which displays medicines and pharmaceutical instruments used between the 17th and 20th century.