Rocca al Mare

The perfect sunset

View on the Old Town from Rocca al Mare, photo: Tallinn Environment Department
In the 19th century, the current Rocca al Mare area became a popular holiday destination with a beautiful sandstone beach, romantic views, and fairytale-like large boulders. Many small summer manors were built in the area. The most famous of them are Liberty and Rocca al Mare, which were built by local barons in 1784 and 1863 respectively. The region got its name after the latter (‘cliff by the sea’ in Italian).

John Girard de Soucanton, an engineer who owned the Rocca al Mare summer manor, built a path called Via Appia in the forest park surrounding the manor. Eighteen limestone gravestones from Saint Catherine’s Monastery were placed next to the path, which was 1.5 km long. After World War II, factory employees used the summer manor buildings as a place of residence. A pioneer camp was also opened in Liberty. In 1959, the few remaining gravestones were taken back to the Dominican convent, where they can still be seen in Catherine’s Alley in Tallinn Old Town.

In 1957, the Estonian Open Air Museum was opened in the areas of the former summer manors. The sea promenade, which is 2.5 km long, was opened in 2009.