Monday, July 25, 2011

Treasures of Tallinn

Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is a city of about 400 000 people. It's a modern city surrounding a working and well preserved medieval town. It is more westernised than Russia and is a major tourist destination for cruise ships. It's also popular with people from Finland who catch the ferry 80km to shop here more cheaply.

Estonia has been invaded many times in its turbulent history, and this castle, Narva Castle is just across from the Russian border.

We stopped for afternoon tea and some of the group couldn't help themselves and had to have a go on this traditional swing cum see saw.

Estonia has had singing festivals since 1869 and a "Singing Revolution " helped to achieve independence in the 1990s. They hold this festivals in this outdoor venue. There is a statue to Gustav Ernesaks, and Estonian composer and conductor.
Outdoor singing festival venue

Gustav Ernesaks

In 1980 the sailing events for the Moscow Olympics were held in Tallin, as it was then part of the Soviet Union. It is now a marina and the residences have been converted into a hotel.

Former Olympic Village
 As in Russia many people live in apartments, a large percentage of which are now privately owned. There are a few other Soviet period buildings in Tallin, like the one below.

Tallin's medieval town consists of Toompea Hill, which is inside the remains of the medieval walls and fortifications, and the Lower town below.

A few of the features are shown below.
Fat Margaret's Tower built in 1519 has walls 5 metres thick
Tall Hermann's tower is part of the city wall

Towers of the old city wall

Beware of pickpockets sign

Laneway leading to the Lower Town

The Town Hall, first built in 1322 and renovated in the 1500s

We also visited the Outdoor Etnographic Museum with old buildings representing rural lifestyles in the past. Roofs were made of thatched reeds. They had no chimney and were very smoky inside.

Tomorrow Riga, capital of Latvia.

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