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Old September 12th, 2013, 04:38 PM   #1
Nightsky
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Tallinn - Nightsky’s first trip to the Baltics

ABOUT TALLINN

Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia, situated on the northern coast, next to the Gulf of Finland. The Old Town is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. It was the European Capital of Culture in 2011. It is the oldest capital in Northern Europe, it appeared on a map as early as in 1154 and got town right in 1248. It was known as Reval from the 13th century-1917 and 1941-44.

MY EXPERIENCES

I visited Tallinn in August 2013 for 2½ days, as part of a trip to the Baltic countries (I visited the Latvian capital Riga before, but missed Vilnius unfortunately). The weather was ok, it was sun and rained the same time the first day, and the second day it was grey and rained. The 3rd day it was sunny, but it was time to leave so it didn't matter.

Because of the fact that there are only old buildings in the Old Town, and that it is surrounded by a city wall, it gives the feeling of two different cities, where "reality" with its modern buildings and trafficated streets begins outside the city walls. With other words, Tallinn's city center is both the beautyful medieval city and the modern, almost futuristic city. In the area where my hostel was, on Kaupmehe street, there was no old buildings, nor modern skyscrapers, only boring grey apartment buildings, feeling a bit abandoned. But it was only a 10 minutes walk to the Old Town from there. My stay, Kaupmehe Guesthouse, was very cheap, but even considering that it was not worth the money, and not recomended.

Just next to the city center you can find the harbour where the large ferries to Finland and Sweden departs and arrives. Despite having such a large harbour for passengers, you never get the feeling of being really close to the sea while in the city center. But the views from Toompea Hill are outstanding, including the harbour, old town and newer parts! In some way I got the idea that Estonia (Tallinn) felt like a mix of Sweden, Russia and Finland.

In the outskirts you can find endless grey commie block apartments, brand new shopping malls, beaches, a tall TV tower and lots of wooden houses, many of them rundown but still beautiful. So Tallinn really feels like a divided city. But a really nice city to visit, highly recommended.
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Last edited by Nightsky; September 16th, 2013 at 12:38 AM.
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Old September 12th, 2013, 04:39 PM   #2
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OLD TOWN PART 1:
Vanalinn – Town Hall Square, Vana Turg, Pikk

The city center is called Keslinn district. It has a very well preserved, romantic and beautiful Old Town (Vanalinn) with large parts of the city wall intact, beautiful embassy buildings, nice restaurants and tall church towers. The Old Town is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. The center of the Old Town is the Raekoja Plats (Town Hall Square).

TOWN HALL SQUARE (RAEKOJA PLATS):























VENE STREET:









PIKK STREET:


















House of the Blackheads
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Old September 13th, 2013, 12:47 PM   #3
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FAT MARGARET CITY GATE:





LAI STREET:
















Toompea Hill seen from Lai.

See many more pictures from this part:
http://www.worldtravelimages.net/Tallinn_Old1.html
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Old September 13th, 2013, 04:15 PM   #4
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I will get back to the Old Town later, but right now I want to show that Tallinn also has modern skyscrapers, right in the city center.

KOMPASSI:
Hotels, skyscrapers, residential blocks and shopping malls



Kompassi is the modern neighbourhood and business area in Kesklinn (city center) that is situated right next to the Old Town. But once you get outside the wall, you will see modern highrise towers and skyscrapers in glass and steel, many of them constructed in recent years. Some of the tallest ones are hotel buildings, such as Radisson and Swissôtel, or banks, most of them Swedish. You can also find 4 large shopping centers and department stores in the area (Solaris, Stockmann, Kaubamaja and Viru). So this is basically the central area where the Tallinners live, work and shop while the old town is more concentrated for tourists, even though you can find the national opera, the concert hall, casinos and nightclubs there as well. The neighbourhood also borders the large ferry harbour and the modern Rotermann Quarter. Kompassi consists just of a couple of block, but the skyscrapers can be seen from afar. There is also a quiet neighbourhood in the area that is consisting mainly of grey lowrise residential buildings and a few old buildings, where my small hotel was.

KOMPASSI, CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT:


Rävala puiestee goes right through the cental business district in Kompassi. This photo was taken in the morning and it was a bit cloudy, but the sun started to shine just a few minutes later.


Swissôtel Tallinn (left) is Estonia's tallest highrise building (tough there is a church, a mast and a TV tower that is taller). The hotel building was completed in 2007, is 113m tall and has 27 floors. The building to the right is Tornimäe (only 113m, but 31 floors). They are both part of the Kaksitorn complex.


Radisson Blu Hotel Tallinn. This shiny postmodern hotel building was completed in 2001. It is the 3rd tallest building in Estonia.








SEB Pank. This glass building with diagonal shapes is actually hosting a Swedish bank, SEB. Actually most banks in the Baltics are Swedish. The building was completed in 1999 and was the first highrise built since 1980, starting a new era of tall buildings. Today it is only the 4th tallest (94m, 24 floors).










Tallink Hotel and Spa. A huge female sculpture is placed in front of the glass facade.






A.Laikmaa street with Coca-Cola Plaza theater complex, Hotel Tallink (right) and the beginning of Rotermann Quarter.
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Old September 13th, 2013, 08:58 PM   #5
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Great, very nice photos from Tallinn especially from the old part of the city
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Old September 14th, 2013, 09:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightsky View Post
ABOUT TALLINN

Tallinn is the capital in the EU that is situated closest to Asia.
This of course is definitely wrong.

Thanks for the pictures of this nice town.
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Old September 15th, 2013, 05:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coihaique View Post
This of course is definitely wrong.

Thanks for the pictures of this nice town.
Yes, you are right, there are many capitals that are located more to the east! I just read that and didn't check it, have to update that. More pics will come soon!
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Old September 15th, 2013, 05:50 PM   #8
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LIIVALAIA STREET:


Nordea Maja, Stockmann and Maakri Maja




Radisson Hotel Olümpia. This modern skyscraper hotel in glass, steele and concrete was built in 1980 in what then was Soviet. It has 28 floors and was Tallinn's tallest highrise upon completion (today 5th). The building was a landmark for me when looking for direction of my, much smaller hotel.






Sunset skyline and the busy Liivalaia street, right outside Hotel Olümpia upon arrival.

ESTONIAN PUIESTEE:


The Estonian National Opera, a opera house and concert hall, is situated between the old and the new part, between Viru Square and Freedom Square, at Estonia puiestee. Since it was heavily damaged in 1944, the exterior was changed from jugend to Stalinist classical style, it reopened in 1947.


Sokos Hotel Viru. 60 of the rooms and the restaurant in the hotel was bugged during the Soviet period. There was also a KGB centre on the 23rd floor, today a museum.


This ICA truck is a funny thing to discover for a Swede: it has Swedish text on the sides, but Estonian license plates.


Hotel Olümpia and a futuristic Statoil gas station


Kaupmehe, the quiet street where my hotel was. Close to both the old town and the modern business district.


See many more pictures from this part:
http://www.worldtravelimages.net/Tallinn_Kompassi.html
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Old September 15th, 2013, 06:34 PM   #9
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Great pictures; interesting editing and perspectives.

The newer town looks so lacking in character compared to the old, which is beautiful.
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Old September 15th, 2013, 06:44 PM   #10
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Talinn is very pretty, thanks for the pics

Shame about this new town tho, looks so cold, so 'russian'.
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Old September 16th, 2013, 02:26 PM   #11
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As someone who considers Tallinn my home town, I'd even go so far as to say that for Tallinners the Old Town has less character than the rest of the city. The reason being that the Old Town has turned into an amusement park for (mostly) tourists. Pretty much the only reason to go to the Old Town for locals is for entertainment: clubs, bars, pubs, restaurants etc. Nobody even shops there any more, let alone lives or works there.
At the same time, small local communities (in the actual sense of the word, not in that US commercialised sense) have arisen in areas around the city centre, in what were the suburbs of Tallinn in the 20s and 30s: Kassisaba, Uus Maailm, Kalamaja etc. All of these have pretty much become "hip" neighbourhoods with young couples and families. Their mentality and behaviour is certainly not everyone's cup of tea but it's still something catered to the locals not the visitors. That's, of course, just one example.

I think I'd bring out 5 different sides of Tallinn (excluding industrial areas):
1)the Old Town within the city walls
2)the mostly wooden-house suburbs of (mainly) the 20s and 30s
3)the "modern" centre of Tallinn that's a mix of everything from the late IX century to the present day and it's still evolving
4)the endless commieblock districts
5)the private house subrubs that range in age from the 20s and 30s to the present moment.
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Old September 17th, 2013, 12:54 AM   #12
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I noticed that the old town, that is very nice, was mostly crowded by tourists, while the locals tend to go to other areas. It is the same with many European cities nowadays, for example my city (Malmö), not many stores in the old parts, only restaurants. So it's a bit sad that the locals don't use the most beautiful areas that much.

The modern part of the city center might have some grey and lifeless apartment blocks, but I like the area where they have been brave enough to build tall buildings with different shapes instead of just boring lowrise boxes. I also visited the Kadriorg area, saw some of the wooden houses, and Rotermann Quarter, that will be presented later.

But next to post will be about the old town.
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Old September 17th, 2013, 05:32 AM   #13
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lovely old quarter and I'm stunned with the sleek highrises....I'm seeing a big stride to modernism from the old soviet republic.
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Old September 17th, 2013, 01:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexander2000 View Post
lovely old quarter and I'm stunned with the sleek highrises....I'm seeing a big stride to modernism from the old soviet republic.

Yes the design of the highrises and much else has really changed since the fall of Soviet. Perhaps the best example is this pic:



The city center has been Americanised: Coca-Cola Plaza, yellow cabs, international hotel chains, large shopping centers, skyscrapers
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Old September 17th, 2013, 11:52 PM   #15
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OLD TOWN PART 2:
Vanalinn – Freedom Square, Kaarli Blvd, Toonismägi

In the southeast end of the Old Town you can find Freedom Square with the Freedom Monument and Kaarli Boulevard, and close to it St Nicholas Church, St John's Church, Toompea Hill and the Municipal Library.

FREEDOM SQUARE (VABADUSE VÄLJAK):


Freedom Square (Vabaduse Väljak), is situated between the Old Town, Toompea Hill and the modern city center. It is dominated by the St John's Church and the Monument of Freedom. Since the transformation in 2009 there is an underground shopping center underneath it, and colourful large TV displays next to Kaarli Boulevard. During the Soviet period it was called the Victory Square. In the background you can see the modern skyline.








The top of the Victory Column is resembling the "cross of liberty". These stairs lead from the Freedom Square to all the sight on Toompea Hill.


St John's Church, Jaani Kirik

ESTONIA BOULEVARD:



KAARLI BOULEVARD:





AROUND NIGULISTE KIRIK (ST NICHOLAS CHURCH), WEST PART OF OLD TOWN, NEXT TO TOOMPEA HILL:


Niguliste Kirik (St Nicholas Church) is a medieval former church, now housing the Niguliste Museum (a branch of the Esonian art museum including the work Dance Macabre among others). It was originally built in the 13th century. In 1944 and 1982 the church was heavily damaged in fires and bombings.













See many more pictures from this part:
http://www.worldtravelimages.net/Tallinn_Old2.html
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Old September 17th, 2013, 11:53 PM   #16
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TONISMÄGI NEIGHBOURHOOD:


National Library of Estonia (Eesti Rahvusraamatukogu). It was constructed between 1985-93 (that means partly in Soviet). Raine Karp was the architect. It has 8 floors, of which 2 underground, 20 reading rooms, a large conference hall, a theatre hall and several exhibition areas.






Kaarli Kirik (St Charles the XI's Church) seen from Kaarli Boulevard was completee in 1870, in pseudo-romanesque limestone. Despite it is quite majestic, it is not as famous as many of the other large church, because it is situated some blocks off the tourist paths, despite it has Estonia's largest church organ.

See many more pictures from this part:
http://www.worldtravelimages.net/Tallinn_Old2.html
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Old September 18th, 2013, 12:15 AM   #17
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Tallinn improved a lot. Like the photos
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Old September 20th, 2013, 05:49 AM   #18
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lovely traditional architectural style.
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Old September 23rd, 2013, 02:27 AM   #19
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TOOMPEA HILL:

Toompea Hill (means Cathedral Hill) is the west part of the beautiful Old Town (Vanalinn). It is situated on a hill bordered by the west part of the city wall. The Russian orthodox Nevski Cathedral, Kiek in de Kök/Bastion Tunnels (part of the city wall), Toompea Castle and the Dome Church can all be found around the historical square Lossi plats. The Estonian government and the parliament are also situated on Toompea Hill. Most of the streets of Toompea Hill are very old and well preserved, mostly pedestrian, and there are very few cars. It is about 20-30 m higher then the surrounding areas. In folklore the hill is known as the tumulus mound over the grave of Kalev, erected by his grieving wife.The West side of the hill, Patkuli, but even more the East side of Toompea Hill, Kohtuosa, also offers great views of Tallinn, that you can see in the skylines and views section (click here).


Alexander Nevski Cathedral seen from Lossi plats. This Russian orthodox cathedral was built between 1894 and 1900 in Russian Revival style, when Estonia was part of the Russian empire. So the Estonians today have mixed feelings about it, but the tourists love it. The interior is very beautiful, but unfortunately it wasn't allowed to take pictures inside.




Toompea Castle Parliament Building






St Mary's Cathedral, The Dome Church (Toomkirik) of Tallinn is a major landmark of Toompea Hill and the oldest church in the mainland Estonia. It was founded in the 13th century by the Danes. Since 1561 it is a Lutheran church and the seat of the Archbishop of Tallinn.


Old Town and modern skyline. Example of the views from Kohtuosaatkuli.


Stenbock House is the seat of the government and the prime minister of Estonia's office. This neo-classical building is situated on the northwest part of Toompea Hill, high above the city. It was built by the Russians in 1792.




Kiek in de Kök and the Bastion Tunnels, seen from Toompea Hill. Click here to visit the extensive tour of this part of the city wall. The Dome Church is in the background.


Kiek in de Kök and Neitsi Torn
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Old September 23rd, 2013, 02:28 AM   #20
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PIKK JALG, PART OF THE CITY WALL:









HARJUMÄGI - PARK ABOVE FREEDOM SQUARE, SOUTH END OF TOOMPEA HILL:






Freedom Square and modern skyline.

See many more pictures from this part:
http://www.worldtravelimages.net/Tallinn_Toompea.html
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