The city wall was started in the 13th century and several bastions were built as late as the 17th century, but the Northern War (1700-1721) which closed out Swedish rule (1561-1700) in Estonia, also spelled an end to Swedish plans for a grand enlargement of the city fortifications. Of a maximum 2.35 km of wall (up to 15.9 m high in places) and 46 towers, 1.85 km is left with 20 towers and several gates.
The longest sections of intact wall with towers are in the NW, by Tornide valjak (Tower Square).The parapet between Nunne, Sauna and Kuldjala towers has been restored.The towers are open to visitors in summer. The parapets between Neitsi and Tallitorn in the South and on MuurivaheStreet between Viruand Hellemanntowers have also been restored.
Of the gates, perhaps the most symbolic is suur Rannavarav (Great Coast Gate) and the Viru gate on the main commercial street in the Old Town, Viru.