Picture the scene: it’s 2009 and a pair of fresh-faced students had ventured to Tallinn for their first back-packing experience. more “A Beginners’ Guide to the Estonian Craft Beer Revolution”
There is no better way to explore Tallinn than on two wheels. Cycling offers the kind of flexibility, freedom and fun that motorised transport simply cannot. Hidden side-streets, secret forest paths and enticing neighbourhoods all become accessible when you venture out on a bicycle. more “Cycling in Tallinn: The 5 best rides in the Estonian capital”
Dynamic, yet peaceful.
Modern, yet traditional.
Nordic future, Soviet past.
Fiercely patriotic; yet outward-facing. more “A Brief Introduction to Tallinn”
Did you now that Tallinn Old Town is absolutely teeming with myths and legends?
It was the last day of our London to Tallinn bike ride and – by sheer coincidence – my birthday. Such days deserve celebration and I cannot think of a finer way to mark the occasion than a visit to an abandoned submarine base, hidden deep in the peaceful forest ambience of Laahemaa National Park. more “Hara: Abandoned Soviet Submarine Base”
Adventure, exploration and freedom are the guiding principles of any great trip. Here at Hidden Tallinn, we try to delve beyond the everyday sights and sounds of the cities and towns to bring you the hidden stories and cool places that make Estonia such a rich and fascinating country to explore. more “Cycling from London to Estonia: Summer Adventure”
The Old Town rewards the eagle-eyed traveller. From the Devil’s Wedding to the ‘L’ in the Old Town Square, hidden stories permeate this town. For those in the know (or, to be more accurate, those who read this blog), the sheer volume of Myths and Legends in the Old Town alone add a rich layer of intrigue and charm to this already beautiful city. more “The Old Town Pervert”
A word of warning; should you be out wandering through the Old Town after dark on a cold autumn night and a strange old man approaches you, be wary, for he has a question for you…
“Is the city finished yet?” more “Why the construction of Tallinn will never be complete: The Old Man of Lake Ülemiste”
The Soviet obsession with statues is clear. From Berlin to Bishkek, the former Iron Curtain cities are littered with these grand images of strength and unity – propaganda and personality cult – like the scattered wreckage strewn across the landscape in the wake of a mighty storm. more “Soviet Statues – Abandoned and Unloved”
“I remember being terrified by the egg”.
While reminiscing with Estonians about the melancholy days of childhood – the long summer days spent cycling through pristine forests, the heady scent of pine filling the nostrils and the hazy summer sunshine flooding the landscapes with a rich, warming glow more “Estonian Animation is Utterly Terrifying”
“Empty your mind. Be formless. Be shapeless. Like water, my friend.”
Information on this beautiful abandoned water tower is pretty limited.
Standing on the abandoned rail tracks more “Abandoned Water Tower, Telliskivi”
“This place is not fit for humans and never has been”
Still utterly fascinating and darkly captivating, Patarei Prison sits ominously on the Baltic coast; more “Re-visiting Patarei: Abandoned Prison”
During my first visit to Tallinn in 2009 I was privileged enough to witness a magnificent spectacle…
25,000 Estonians – young and old – all wearing national dress, standing on a magnificent semi-circular stage in front of a crowd well in excess of 100,000, all singing patriot, historic, emotional songs of freedom more “The National Song Festival”
RMK is an organisation responsible for the upkeep and general preservation of Estonian state-owned forests. With over 2.2 million hectares of forest covering the land (40% of which is owned by the state) this is no small task. more “Keila-Joa Waterfall”
Approximately 30km to the East of Tallinn – along the Tallinn-Narva highway – lies Estonia’s tallest natural waterfall, Jägala. Measuring 8m in height and 50m in width she may be small compared to some of her cousins across the globe but nonetheless, up close, the power more “Jägala Waterfall (Jägala Juga)”
Across the mirror-like lake in Schnelli Park, a small orchestra play a selection of Baroque pieces to a crowd of over a hundred hushed Estonians. A pleasant surprise-ending to another spontaneous evening bike ride. Rule One when exploring Tallinn: always carry a camera. more “Free Evening Concert in Shnelli Park”
Pirita Health Track – Pirita Terviserajad – is a 7.2km track slicing through the picture-perfect forest which characterises this beautiful district to the east of The Old Town. more “Pirita Health Track: A Beautiful Place To Cycle, Walk or Run”
Ever wondered what The Old Town would look like from 50 storeys high? Well, now you don’t have to. This photo was taken from the top of the TV Tower, the tallest building in Estonia, proud member of the World Federation of Great Towers (yeah, I had no idea that existed either) and my favourite building in Tallinn. more “Tallinn Old Town – From 175m In The Air”
The steps of Linnahall were originally built to signify Tallinn’s status as hosts of the sailing events for the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. As part of a larger regeneration project – which included the building of a brand new highway, the sailing club in Pirita, the famous TV Tower and even the airport – the I.V. Lenin Palace of Culture and Sport, as it was originally known, is perhaps the only structure which has failed to live up to its billing. more “Linnahall: Abandoned Soviet-Era Concert Hall”
There are many remnants of the Soviet era still present in and around Tallinn. All of them provide a tantalising but incomplete glimpse into Estonia’s very recent and repressive past but few instil the same level of fear and intimidation as the former KGB Headquarters. more “Former KGB Headquarters”
Find a hill. Grab a sledge. Hold on for dear life. Repeat. One of the great joys of the Tallinn winter. more “Sledging in The Old Town”
The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, with its famous ‘onion domes’, is certainly one of The Old Town’s most famous ‘postcard pictures’. Its association with the Estonian capital is very ironic, however, considering it was built during the reign of Alexander III (1845–1894) and is actually a symbol of the Russian Tsar’s attempt to phase-out Estonian culture through Russification.
Estonian folklore states that while the Russians were digging in Toompea to lay the foundations for this iconic cathedral, they stumbled across the tomb of Kalev – a mythological king in ancient Estonia, father of Kalevipoeg. The workers dug so deep into Toompea Hill that they struck an iron door, upon which was inscribed: more “The Tomb of Kalev”