Ancient Pharmacy Celebrates Anniversary

09. April 2012

One of Europe's oldest continuously operating pharmacies is on Saturday celebrating 590 years since it was first mentioned in written records.

The Raeapteek, or Aldermen's Pharmacy, situated in the center of Old Town, was first noted in 1422, but at least two owners ran the pharmacy prior to that, so no one knows how old it actually is. Raeapteek is also the oldest continuously operating business in Estonia.

The museum-pharmacy was once an important center for town dwellers. In addition to drugs, it sold alcohol, ink, jewelry, gunpowder, and other goods. To this day, the store has marzipan and spiced wine recipes dating back to the 15th century.

The pharmacy was also once a popular gathering place, where citizens could hear the latest news.

“The owners of Raeapteek have always belonged to the most honored class of Tallinn's citizenry. In addition to their role as pharmacists, they actively participated in governing the city, as well as in cultural and social circles,” a press release from the pharmacy said.