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The oldest traces of the settlement of city of Rakvere originate from the current Teatrimäe where the oldest human culture layer has been dated to 3-5th centuries. For the protection of this settlement the wooden stronghold above the current stone stronghold was established in Vallimäe. The oldest currently known date of this stronghold with double wooden fence belongs to the 5-6th century.

The settlement in Teatrimäe as well as the stronghold in Vallimäe have probably preserved uninterrupted up to the Middle Age. The data of the construction of the stronghold of the end of the ancient time, 12-13th century are almost missing, as the culture layer has been lost with the construction of stone fortification.

Probably the fortifications were limited only to wooden fence, as the high and originally separate hill (Vallimäe profile has been greatly changed in establishing the later fortifications) offered already naturally excellent protection possibilities. For the first time the settlement is mentioned with the name of Tarvanpea in 1226 in the chronicle of Henry of Latvia, the new supporting place of the Danes is called Wesenbergh (Tarvanpea in Middle Low German) in 1252. The name Rakvere is related to Rägavere (1268 in the records of Rakovor Novgorod).

In 1302 the settlement erected near the stronghold got Lübeck's rights. In 1346 the Danish king sold Estonia, incl Rakvere to the German order who in its turn pledged it in 1347 to the Livonian Order. In the II quarter of the 15th century the stone church was built, in 1508 the Franciscan cloister was started to be built to Teatrimäe, later the cemetery was established at its eastern side.

In the Russian-Livonian war Rakvere was under the Russian power in the years 1558-1581 and was greatly damaged. Thereafter the city was in the hands of the Swedes. In 1602 Rakvere was passed to the Polish for three years who destroyed the stronghold in 1605.





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