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53 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Welcome! This is the "official" Tartu Road in Tallinn picture thread. Please, feel free to join me for a little guided tour.

We are walking from the Liivalaia-Pronksi/Tartu Road junction at centre's Stockmann department store and Tornimäe Twin Towers (u/c) all the way to Tallinn Ülemiste Airport. And its beautiful spring weather on May 1st. Yippee.

First, here's a little map for us.

As you can see, we're starting at the near-centre If Insurance Building, passing several smaller crossing streets, then walking uphill towards railway, several new supermarkets and the Ülemiste Lake, which is the source of most tallinners daily drinking water.

The red arrows mark our path. A bigger blue arrow shows the direction, where my camera was pointed at most photos.

Why is Tartu Road a remarkable thing? It connects, of course, Estonian second largest city Tartu (ca 90 000 inhabitants) at Southern Estonia with the capital Tallinn (population 400 000) at north coast.

And in Tallinn it also is the way from the airport to the city.

Along this quite short (a few kilometres) path the style and condition of the buildings varies from best to the worst, from modern to old and semi-old. You'll see.

Also, a part of our walk, namely 1,1 km from the start to crossing of Masina street (where the road goes uphill) will be closed for the whole summer for renovation works. So now is the last chance for us to "enjoy" it at present condition.

As I live nearby, I got an official letter from the mayor of Tallinn. He apologizes for any inconvenience and says, that the renovated street will be two-lane road both ways. There shall be new streetlights and new tramway etc. Cost: ca 10 million euros.

But enough smalltalk. Let's start.

- This is at our starting point. We turn around and look back. As you see, Tornimäe is rising! And it is near us, maybe just a hundred meters across the street.

- And so it begins. The "If Eesti Kindlustus" (If Estonian Insurance Company) building, Pronksi 19.

The building looks very much like a ship. But when it was built around 1998, the ship sank with all hands and the captain. The building, back then one of a few modern office buildings in Tallinn, was paid by EVEA Bank. (EVEA=Estonian Small Enterprises Association). As soon as the new 5 260 m² headquarters were ready, EVEA Bank went bankrupt and was liquidated.

The building was sold to Finnish Sampo Bank, which should also be the owner of If Insurance company.

At left we see Pronksi street. This way to harbour please. But we need to go to airport.

Notice the small building next. Humana shop. Something like Salvation Army. But never been there.

So, whats next?

- An old wooden house!

Remember, we were just at a twin-tower-skyscraper u/c! But this is typical central Tallinn. Heavy contrasts.

There were some other smaller stone buildings also there until last year. But as the renovation of the road got planned, these were demolished, because the road will get wider.

- What is that? An Antique & Retro store.

Not quite my cup of tea.

Here we can see: an Autopesula (carwash), Tehase teksamüük (Factory jeans sale), Lilled (florist), CATALOG Mail Outlet (beats me), Dance Laboratory dance studio, Home Textiles, Exit Sports.

Never shopped there. The building is typical limestone.


- Just a 4storey brown residential building.

Looks OK to me. Theres too few of these in Tallinn, and too many commieblocks, if you ask me.

- A bit newer (?) building Tartu Road 43.

Signs: Euro-Textiles, Carpet Centre. Right corner: "Perfekta" :cheers:

- This should be Laulupeo (Song Festival) street.
Ahead is a casino. But we are going forward to airport. So no casino today.

A three-story residential.

Could be an OK building, but clearly needs some tidying up. Badly.

Next, please.

- Violet and white!

Relatively modern residential. I would say 80s? A bit better than an average commieblock.

There was a tool store in the first floor for as long as I can remember. During Soviet times. Now they are selling bodybuilding machinery there.

Now we're nearing a local Big Shopping Centre. But not just yet. It's:

-A 19th-century-style villa.

Would fit in Kadriorg (Katrinenthal) district. Actually, it's quite nearby.

And now, ladies and gentlemen:

it's the EHA KESKUS or "Dusk Centre"!

And greetings to all our friends from Lithuania. Your country has made a significant contribution here: namely T-Market which is a discount superstore chain. I myself have bought fabulous lithuanian smoked sausage and even lithuanian bottled water from this store.

And it really should be a heritage site! Soviet times the building housed a cinema named "Eha" (dusk). Maybe I went to see some Bollywood movie.

If we could turn around, we would see a short street going to Tallinn Central Market. But we wo'nt.

So, let's continue our quest.

- Well, a house.

Quite beautiful stylish stone residential.

- Limestone.

- Limestone again.

It's a renovated office building. Used to be HQ for Alfastar security company. It moved to similar building back across the street.

Maybe it was a mistake? Because:

At last, we are going to see some action!

This residential has a Hansabank branch. Greetings to all our Swedish friends, it belongs to former Föreningssparbanken or Swedbank nowadays.

Would you believe if I told you this bank branch was robbed just this April 20th? The two crooks had wigs and sunglasses. They got 73 000 EEK (ca 4665 euros). Nobody was hurt. But then police got really lucky.

18yr old Indrek and 22yr Eno were caught right some 20 minutes after the robbery near Pirita river. One of them was waiting for the police in cold water. And their humiliating arrest was shown on national television. So this house should be famous.

- Quite plain. But not ugly.

-Now we're reaching somewhere!

Industrial district. It used to be an textile factory.

Note the banner Au tööle! This is definitely Soviet ost-algia. "Honor to work."

I've heard there will be some property renovation project going on here, but don't know the details.

- Actually the same complex.

A furniture store on the 1st floor.

Let's look ahead a bit, what is waiting for us:

- So we are getting near the Tallinn Bus Station.

- A great looking residential.

- And a plain pink residential.

- A bus stop with a wooden building.

This bus stop is called fittingly "Autobussijaam" or The Bus Station.

- An ordinary, but simply beautiful building. Me likes :) .

- One of my favourites on the street! :cheers: :cheers:

Just look at this limestone building. It's so totally camp! There's a wedding accessories shop called "Kupidon" on top floor.

This shopping window - just wow!

And "New York Pizza"! Yeah.

Not to mention the banner on this tram wagon. It' is an advertisement of porridge. The banner reads: "Porridge Lightning" ROTFL.

The second picture of the same building has a hunting goods shop.

This shop was robbed a few years ago by gang from St. Peterburg, Russia. One of two crooks is right now doing lifetime in Estonian prison and the other crook was killed by Latvian policeman at border town Valka.

Quite a lot of crime going on in a quiet town like this? Rest assured, it's a peaceful street. Nobody's gonna harm us on our walk towards Tallinn airport.

Right behind us is the Central Bus Station. I'm not showing it right now. It's nothing to see, quite sovietish ugly place. I would like to have Helsinki's Kamppi bus terminals moved to Tallinn. :)

A look ahead:

- Going uphill

Now we're starting to get near more modern districts. But still quite many interesting buildings are ahead.

I'm going to stop here right now (about halfway). I'll probably upload them on weekend. So don't go anywhere - stay with my tour.

And I promise: you'll get also one total bonus surprise picture if you do!

always on
4,947 Posts
glad to see someone documenting the street building by building, it will surely change ALOT in the coming decade, basically it will city"fy", the place where his trip started - the City, with its shiny skyscrapers was alot worse off that this street 5 years ago, alot can happen in Tallinn in a short duration! This street will certainly get 1 or 2 highrises...
On the plot to the right some japanese investors want to build a highrise, but they say
"Nothing higher than the already existing highrises" (sad they didnt say nothing higher than in Tokyo!).
this building should soon be reconstructed into a 5 storey residential(completion date sept 2006!), and the 4 storey building will get 1 extra floor:
heres a render ;)
Anyway ill say what i can as the thread progresses! Glad you did this! Huge work! And just in time! This will so drastically change... i cant wait!

edit: and oh looking at the map.... i just cant help noticing the phallic image of Sikupilli centre... pff!

53 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for great (informative) comments, Ch1le!

This building certainly looks like 30s, I suspect that there must be some others on that road (the ones I like mostly).

Overall there are so many contrasts on Tartu road. Pärnu Road for example has more consistent style. Older buildings until viaduct and modern after that.

53 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I have some spare time this evening, so I thought why not continue this fabulous walking tour along Tartu Road. Buckle your belts, here we go again.

Next we find:

- An empty house (really a ruins rather than a house).

But the frame seems largely intact. Maybe up to renovation?

Then again, maybe not.

- Twin Towers!

Heh. This old wooden house seems to me like a typical example from some Marxist book, which teaches how the ruling capitalist classes opress the workers, who must live in such houses.

Some activity going on in the frontyard, so I guess somebody actually must be dwelling there. Hope that someday soon they can find a better accommodation, and something modern will be built instead.

- A stone residential.

The building might be OK. But really! Some new paint and renovation of the facade are urgently needed. The current shape of this house needs to be nominated for the honorary prize of The Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic.

Is there a house there?

Nothing to say really. This building needs to go ASAP. You see it, and after 0,5 seconds you have forgotten something even was there.

-The Famous Lubja Street Police Building!

Ugliest of ugly, if you ask me. It really used to be an important building housing our great law enforcement institution. I have visited this building during that time (don't ask).

It still belongs to the state real estate company. There is a project of renovation.

- This way to Lasnamäe

Here we bid farewell to our friend the tramway. It turns from Tartu Road and goes to direction of St. Peterburg Road, and district of Lasnamäe. It is the largest commieblock district in Tallinn, population about 200 000. (Correction, a bit less, maybe around 140 000. Still big.)

- Just some local form of art,

fitting the general style of immediate neighbourhood.

- The Big Yellow

This building has its charm. I think some governmental institution is housed there. But - shame on me - don't know which one exactly.

- Up we go.

You can make out the next one already. It's a Prisma supermarket and a big Sikupilli shopping center. Here the older buildings make way to modern Tallinn again.

Sikupilli Center

This was probably one of the biggest in Tallinn, and certainly THE biggest in this district, until a Norwegian company found a place right next to it and built even bigger shopping center (which we will see soon).

A lot of people say that these box-like supermarkets are ugly. Of course, by comparison some malls in USA are like fairytale castles. But I think the purpose of a supermarket is that people can go shopping there. And they do not need a Guggenheim museum to house their milk cartons. It would add to the prices. Maybe in 10 years somebody says: lets tear it down and build something better. For now, even this kind of supermarket is a great improvement, if you remember all the soviet-time rubble there used to be.

- Sikupilli Pillar

I could not let you off without showing you this fine example of Tallinn's landscape.

I think I owe you also one glimpse of the other side of the street. Looking back the way we came, there is:

- Fahle maja (U/C)

Part of an old cellulose factory, the debated renovation project is going on here. But I will not go into details, because we should move on towards our goal the airport.

Now turning forward again:

- Peugeot

Greetings go to our French friends here. Merci beaucoup! I hope this fine car retail establishment fulfills all the demands of our mutual European acquis communautaire.

And next:

- Chevrolet

Bright yellow always makes my day.

Looking forward now:

Railroad crossing.

On the right, we can see the sign that shows us the directions from here. Forward: Tartu and a little pic of a plane. So we are on the right track to airport.

Pointing the camera to the other side of the road again:

- Brand new!

Right in front of us, car sales outlets again. Kia to the right.

But I quite like the brand new grey office block on the background. Stylish. Although I'm not so big fan of all those tilted walls. But here it fits somehow. A great modern building.

And before we reach the railroad:

- Statoil!

Zooming the gas station. The liquid life from the pipelines. This is my tribute to all our Norwegian friends who came along with our guided tour.

- Now we cross over. Under the railway tracks.

You can see what's coming. More retail.

- Ülemiste Center.

If I am not mistaken, this is the largest super-hypermarket in Estonia this moment. 150 different shops. The developer was Norwegian company Linstow. Again greetings go to Scandinavia. If you want more info about the center, visit the website

- The "mandatory" pic of the Ülemiste Center pillar.

Now some pics looking back towards direction of the city center. Mainly because of

- the train.

And it's moving to the right.

- ...and the train.

New office block visible here too. Nice combination.

What's next?

Well, ladies and gentlemen. Maybe you have noticed that I crossed to the other side of the road? It's because there's no walkway anymore on the previous side.

But this crossing was lucky. How else could I catch with my camera the

Biiiiiiig BONUS SURPRISE! :clown:

I promised you earlier! Remember? :wave: :wave: :wave:

and here it comes right now!

So look carefully.

- Who is on the picture?

It's hard to make out, so I zoomed the important part a bit. Look at the number plate of this car? Do you see any number there? Nope. This is because:

It's the president of Estonia mr. Arnold Rüütel!

Yes, there's no mistake. The prez came with the cavalcade, sirens blaring from the direction of Tartu. I managed to catch his car on the camera, thou the pic is not so clear.

The thing on the number plate, of course, is the official coat of arms of Estonia.

And now, we have already reached the last part of our journey today.

First, some nice renovation.

- The Ülemiste hotel.

If my memory does not fail me, this hotel was called the Aeroflot hotel during Soviet times. And it looked like a piece of s***.

Really nice and modern now.

Another view of the hotel.

A bit further:

-What's this?

Like we are suddenly in the middle of nowhere. But this is already the outskirts of Tallinn really.

But still there are some buildings:

An "abandoned" office.

It used to be the HQ for Estonian national air carrier, Estonian Air. But they moved their stuff to another building, which is inside the airport perimeter. So the former headquarters is now on available for rent.

Are you tired, people? A long walk this far. But now, the destination is right here. Please let me give to you

-The Tallinn Airport main building.

-Here's the full view.

The airport will undergo a major renovation during next two years. New terminal will be built, so the current building will obtain T-like shape. There will be 200 m long new gallery. Right now the airport building takes 14 500 m2, the new part will be 13 000 m2. Most of the costs will be paid by European Union cohesion fund.

But I have one more picture for you:

-The Ülemiste Lake and the water processing plant.

It's straight at the other side of the road from the Airport main terminal building.

As you see, the location for the airport is not ideal. But right now there are no plans to move it elsewhere. It's convenient, close to city. And water is - hopefully -still drinkable after the cleaning process. Majority of the stake of the Tallinn municipal water company belongs to the British companies.

I thank everyone who joined me on this great walking tour from the center of Tallinn to the airport.

Now, lets compete, who of us runs fastest back to the city : :hahaha:

(The end)

always on
4,947 Posts

971 Posts
Nice to see this thread (really not only because of T-market :D). This thread shows many unseen places of Tallinn and these are not one of those usual photos where only most beautiful central parts of the city are visible (typically old town and that high-rise area). I liked limestone buildings very much.

Thanks for these unusual photos and detailed descriptions. :eek:kay:

Stas Stolfat
618 Posts
To the thread starter: First of all I love your new avatar...looks really cool. Secondly, well done for taking such a long walk and making all those pics, I really appreciate that*. Thirdly, I know that area so well these days, cause I've visited it couple of times, as you mentioned before, it is the main route from the airport...I have to say it's one of my favourite streets in the capital.
Thic pic I love, the ruins of the wall plays such a beautiful contrast with the upcoming office highrise!

*When I was in Tallinn after the Christmas Day, on the 26...I actually went along Tartu road, up to the Bus Station. The weather was about -15 and since I do not know Tallinn that well, I thought it's gonna be a 10 minute walk by foot.Turns out it was something like 40 minutes. When I got to the bus station I couldn't feel my chicks, they just became numb. So this thread, brought all those memories back!!!Good memories, though!

53 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Found this

Some details about Lubja str. former police building reconstruction project.

State Real Estate Company (Riigi Kinnisvara) plans to build it a bit higher (6 floors). There will be both apartments and office space.

Apparently it's new name will be "Fonne Maja" (Fonne House). Don't know why such name. After some googling, I found out that there has been a Tallinn mayor named Hinrich Fonne-Rosencron on 17th century.


commieblock enthusiast
452 Posts
Pretty nice thread. I also thought that perhaps should I make a tour before this week when the road was closed, but... to lazy or busy. One thing what was missing: the views along the streets -- in parts, which will get new face. I think many houses will survive, but the view to the street not.
My favourite picture is certainly the violet-white building. I think one of my relatives lives in that house so I can go there one day...

always on
4,947 Posts
oh, and for the non-estonians here, this road is now closed and is under total overhaul... its one of the main streets (if not THE), and has very very heavy traffic, the city is in chaos at rush hour now :p But its well worth it!

1,075 Posts
Thanks for these amazing pics... those areas are very familiar to me from my visits to the estonian capital !! Looks very nice, please post more pics from Tallinn soon !!! Very much appreciated !! :cheers:
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