Tallinn

Cat's Well

  Old Town         04 Aug 2021
Before you complain about the chalky taste of Tallinn's tap water, you might want to stop to consider what the town's Medieval residents had to put up with. This wheel well on the corner of Rataskaevu and Dunkri in the Old Town was once one of the main sources of water for the Tallinn. According to legend, some of the locals got it into their heads that an evil water spirit lived in the well and threatened to make all the town's wells run dry if it wasn't given regular animal sacrifices. To keep the spirit happy, some cattle and sheep carcasses were thrown down the well, but the main victims were stray cats, who were rounded up and tossed, sometimes live, down the shaft. This practice was so common that the locals started calling this watering hole 'Cat's Well.' In a sense, the sacrifices worked - the town's wells never ran dry. But the practice of throwing animals down the well didn't do much for the water quality, and the Cat's Well had fallen into disuse by the mid 19th century. Rest assured that nowadays Tallinn's water is much safer to drink, and the cats of Old Town no longer live in fear.

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