Saturday, July 20, 2013

Raeapteek: One of the oldest running Pharmacies in the world

Trivia: Did you know that the oldest running pharmacy in the world is located in Florence, Italy? ‘Farmacia di Santa Maria Novella’ has been in business since 1221 established by Dominican monks.

I have been to Florence before but have never visited this pharmacy, although I have been to the train station with the same name, Santa Maria Novella. Now that doesn’t count obviously. In the near future when I visit Florence again, I will definitely check this place out.


In Tallinn, this is one of my interesting finds:

The ‘Town Hall Pharmacy’ (Raeapteek) in Tallin is a runner-up to the title!

Scholars believed that the old town hall pharmacy in Tallinn, Estonia started its business in 1415 although records in the city hall showed that in 1422 the pharmacy was sold to its third owner (already). So who knows, it could be older?

Website: Raeapteek - Town Hall Pharmacy of Tallinn
Wikipedia: Raeapteek


There is an interesting antique store beside the pharmacy.


The Raeapteek Museum

I initially thought that the pharmacy was just a museum but it really is a functioning pharmacy that sells medicines and even condoms up to now. Because of its centuries in operation the pharmacy managed to collect very interesting pharmaceutical concoctions and paraphernalia’s through the years. They have a little museum annexed to the store for public exposition.

Let's have a look at what they have!


Who would have thought that dried deer penises and a petrified echidna could be the answer to some human aches?


Here is much more closer to home: Sun bleached dog faeces. For the adventurous and those who fancy experimenting, this would be an easy one to duplicate. Start with your dog's and if you don't have one, perhaps your neighbour's?

Now let's move on to more conventional items developed through the years that made our lives easier, or maybe complexer, whichever it is here they are below. From mineral tablets to laxatives.


Raw materials... Sarsaparillae (sarsaparilla plant) which reminds me of a cola brand in the Philippines that was popular during my childhood days.


They are selling tinktuur! During my childhood days, tincture was used mainly in our household to disinfect wounds. We always have this in our first aid cabinet. I was a very hyperactive and clumsy child growing up. I climbed trees and scaled walls and did things my mom told me not to do so I always ended up having a cut or bruise here and there.


View to the main square of Tallinn, Raekoja.

Raeapteek is located on Raekoja Square and there is no entrance fee to the pharmacy and its little museum but you can always show your thank you by donating for the continual upkeep of the place. Or buy something! You can drop your donations on the large wooden trunk.

The pharmacy also offers bread baking, marzipan making and courses on how to make herbal-natural remedies medieval style.

Travel Period: May 2013
Destination: Tallinn, Estonia

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