History of the building
Rataskaevu 16 is a late-gothic styled building from the end of 14th century, built after 1370 when German merchants had to move from Gotland to Tallinn. The style of the building is the one of a dwelling house of a merchant – a big room called diele with „mantelchimney” at the street-side and a living-room in the side of court-yard called dornse, which was heated by calorifier (hot-air heater). Upper floors and cellar was initially used as storage space. During the construction works was found on the 2nd floor sealing with paintings of acanthus motives, and many constructions and details (ashlars’ portals, wall stairs, ironworks, ashlars’ consoles, doors, stucco decoration), which are valuable in the history of architecture. Most probably the sealing painting is from the period before Baroque (17th century). As the fragments of the paintings are too small, it was not possible to analyze it more exactly.
The owners of this building have been since the very beginning rich handicraftsmen, goldsmiths or people who were on high positions in the city hall. After 1521 the building belonged to Gert Koningk, who was one of the most preeminent builder and sculptor. During 17th and 18th century the building belonged to the most famous habitants of Tallinn (Verner Duding, Hans Rotert, Hans Hothus, Henricus Tunder, Ernst Reck, Jobst von Husen, Erasmus Gottschild – secreaty of city hall, Caspar Johan Nottbeck – main secretary of city, Justus Johan Nottbeck - protonotarius). All those people left their prints and their influence in the architecture of the building on different centuries. As one example would be different ceilings of the ground floor rooms, which have been restored in the way they were found. The last major changes were made in the 1st part of the 19th century.
Nowadays the building is renovated and belongs to the National Heritage of Tallinn. In year 2003, the building got an award as the best restored building. During the restoration many special features have been found, restored and kept like they were originally.
The building is also well known as a famous ghost house. There is a story about the owner of building who was a gambler, spent all his money, but became suddenly in a mysterious way rich again. Since that time stairs of the house creak under invisible steps, music is heard behind the walls.