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”
50km west of Tallinn, perched on the precarious coastal limestone cliffs that characterise the coastline, lies the former Soviet military town of Paldiski. more “Paldiski: Abandoned Lighthouse and Crumbling Industry”
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)”
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”
News hot off the press: after lengthy refurbishments Tallinn’s iconic TV Tower has finally re-opened its doors to the public. This is very exciting news for a number of reasons more “Tallinn TV Tower Re-Opens”
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”
Cycling is undoubtedly the most liberating and efficient way to explore Tallinn. With numerous cycle paths and amazing natural scenery, a bike is almost as essential as a camera… maps are optional.
This gorgeous forest is located on Rummu tee (near Pirita), a short ride from the TV Tower. Notice the quaint, yet slightly eerie, cemetary on the right hand side of the path. Very Interesting. more “Summer Cycling: Reminiscing”
About 4km away from the Old Town, down the coast towards Pirita sits a very touching monument to the Russian and German soldiers who lost their lives in the second Great War. The striking gateway and sporadic scattering of crosses generate both a sombre and slightly eerie atmosphere while the large list of names creates a very poignant reminder of the price of conflict.
more “World War II Memorial”
Originally built to provide better communications for the 1980 Moscow Olympics, the TV Tower is a fascinating example of Soviet delusions of grandeur. Famously, this huge structure is the site where, in 1991, a handful of radio operators risked their lives to protect the free media of Estonia.
As Estonian independence loomed large on the horizon the order was given for Soviet assault troops to seize the TV Tower, a key pillar of communication to the outside world. Upon hearing this, ordinary Estonians turned out to protect the tower as a small group of brave armed locals barricaded themselves inside, standing their ground against the odds until the tanks were forced to turn back. more “Tallinn TV Tower”
About 50km from Tallinn lies the small town of Riisipere. After a lengthy bike ride we came face to face with this magnificent yet eerie mansion. Dating back to the 1800’s, the building and its grounds have been completely abandoned and left to the mercy of the elements for many years, giving this once grand structure a far more imposing aura.
I have often heard the phrase ‘a wall of silence’ used to describe a stillness so profound that it feels all-consuming. The grounds of Riisipere Mansion were engulfed by silence. No birdsong. No breeze. No rustling of the leaves. No life could be heard. Gardens were overgrown and a solitary rusting bench lay forgotten next to a vast lake that stretched out into the void. more “Stalked through the Abandoned Mansion, Riisipere”
Tallinn boasts many clean, shiny and sterile shopping centres packed with the typical array of vastly over-priced clothing stores, chain restaurants and miserable faces but for a truly unique experience nowhere compares to the Russian market.
From second hand socks to chunks of raw meat, antique cameras, stuffed eagles and a staggering array of old Soviet knives and Nazi uniforms, the Russian market is the place to find almost anything your heart desires. So, step into the time machine and travel back to the Soviet times with a visit to this fascinating cultural locale. more “The Russian Market”
The imposing abandoned structure of Patarei Prison, just a stones throw from the main harbour, serves as a stark reminder of the brutality of the Soviet regime and offers a tantalising glimpse into the grim nature of prison life in Estonia during the late twentieth century.
Originally built as a sea fortress in 1840, this formidable compound housed inmates right up until 2004 and has remained almost completely untouched since its closure in 2006. With dead plants still on the tables, beds still made and bars of soap decaying in the showers, this eerie, uncomfortable and dirty place remains one of the most ubiquitous remnants of Tallinn’s dark past. Poignant, thought-provoking and utterly immersive. more “Patarei Vangla: Abandoned Soviet Prison not fit for Humans”