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.
In 2022, 600 years passed since the first written mentioning in the town council book.
During the long history of the Raeapteek many honorable men have been pharmacists here.
However, a special honor belongs to Burchart family. In the years 1582-1911 the pharmacy was ten generations in the possession 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 1908 C.R. 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 preserves, 128 different oils, 20 tinctures, 49 ointments and 71 medicinal teas. In addition there were such peculiar goods as burnt bees, stallion hoofs, burnt hedgehogs, earthworm oil, blanched dog faces and human fat. In the list there was also marzipan which is known to relieve heart ache and restore memory.
The Raeapteek is considered to be the oldest health institution still operating in Estonia. 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 company in Tallinn still operating in the same premises. Paper, ink, sealing wax, dyes, tobacco, pipes, playing cards, torches, fabrics, gunpowder, salt, spices and sweets were also sold there.
The Raeapteek could be compared to a today´s cafe where people could have a cup of tea or a glass of claret, hear the news and pass these on to others. The Raeapteek was the meeting place of the town lords and other important people. Here people drank claret and made agreements. Maybe this is the place where the life of Tallinn was significantly influenced.
Today, the pharmacy operates hand in hand with the museum, whose activities are supported by the city of Tallinn. Guided tours and workshops are organized for both children and adults. Raeapteek takes part in Medieval Days and organizes events as part of Tallinn Old Town Days and is open on Museum Night and Culture Night.