The Raeapteek (Town Hall Pharmacy) is the oldest pharmacy in Europe that has continuously been in business in the same building. The exact opening date is not known, but in 1422 the pharmacy already had its third owner.
During the long history of the Raeapteek many honourable men have been pharmacists here. However, a special honour belongs to Burchart family. During the years 1582-1911 the pharmacy belonged to the ten generations of the Burchart family. The tradition of the family was that the eldest son was named Johann and he studied to be a pharmacist.
Between the years 1911-1940 the Raeapteek belonged to the Lehbert and Schneider families. In 1907 Rudolph Lehbert started to produce an anti-anemia preparation „Ferratol“ in a corner of a laboratory. That can be considered as the pioneer product of Estonian pharmaceutical industry.
A price list TAXA of pharmacy goods of 1695 gives an idea of what was sold in the Raeapteek in the Middle Ages. The price list includes 54 different types of water, 25 fats, 32 balsams, 62 preseves, 128 different oils, 20 tinctures, 49 ointments and 71 medicinal teas. In addition there were such pecuilar goods as burnt bees, stallion hoofs, burnt hedgehogs, earthworm oil, blanched dog faeces and human fat. In the list there was also marzipan which is known to relieve heart ache and restore memory.
The Raeapteek is the oldest medical facility in Tallinn. There have been periods where the pharmacist was also a medical expert and a town doctor. The Raeapteek was not only a place to buy medicine, people went there to get advice about treatments and spiritual assistance.
The Raeapteek is the oldest commercial establishment in Tallinn which has operated in the same building. Paper, ink, sealing wax, dyes, tobacco, pipes, playing cards, torches, fabrics, gunpowder, salt, spices were also sold there.
The Raeapteek could be compared to a today´s cafe where people can have a cup of tea or glass of claret, hear the news and pass these on to others. The Raeapteek was the meeting place of town lords and important people. Here people drank claret and made agreements. Maybe this is the place where the life of Tallinn was significantly influenced.