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.
Despite its recent role as a 4,200-seater concert hall, playing host to an illustrious list of Estonian and international concerts, this imposing structure cuts a forlorn figure overlooking the Baltic Sea. One of the more impressive inclusions to our Abandoned Estonia series.
Architecturally, Linnahall is a perfect example of the rigid, rectangular and concrete style so closely associated with Soviet structures, providing a further illustration of Communist delusions of grandeur. The last concert was held here in 2009 and shortly afterwards, Linahall went into hibernation, waiting for a handsome prince (or rich foreign investor) to come and give her the kiss of life so she may once again. Sadly, covered in graffiti and considered by many locals an eyesore, she is not the sexiest of Soviet structures so she may be slumbering for quite a while.
Fortunately, us travellers are not so shallow. We love Linnahall just the way she is. Her sweeping steps provide an excellent vantage point upon which to sit and gaze over the north Estonian coastline, contemplating life as the ferries from Finland glide silently into port. Clearly we are not the only ones who appreciate the crumbling concrete glory of this ‘eyesore’ as Linnahall recently made an appearance in the music video for Faded. Maybe there’s life in the old girl yet!
During the summer months, the steps of Linnahall become a popular place to drink a few casual beers (a practice which is technically illegal in case any law enforcement officials are reading this blog), skate, take photos and generally relax but during the winter, the harsh wind from the sea deters all but the most foolhardy visitors.[The photos photographs were taken in -27°C winds. I’d stick to the summer months if I were you.]