Kiek in de Kok was built in its initial form from 1473-1483 and was the most imposing guard tower in the Baltic Sea region. Six cannonballs from the Livonian War lodged in the bricks attest to the history of the fortification. The tower has had many names. The current one, adopted in 1696, means "Peek into the kitchen" in Low German; from the 45.5 m ramparts, one could indeed peer down the mantel chimneys of surrounding houses. The first floor was initially constructed as a warehouse and lacks slits for firing weapons through. Our hotel the Radisson SAS can be seen to the left of the tower.
Material was hoisted up through openings in each of the cupola ceilings or by external conveyance on the city side of the tower. The tower has been rebuilt many times over the years and currently stands 48.8 m tall. It was opened as a branch of the city museum in 1958. The exhibit spanning six stories covers Tallinn's history from its inception and landmark military history. On display: cannons, plate armour, model ships, stockade, the rack, and more. The sixth floor provides a good view of the town. Photographic exhibitions are the most frequent type of temporary exhibit. Concerts are held on the second floor on Saturdays and Sundays.