Sunday, 10 June 2018

Tallinn sightseeing fun

Greetings! Last month I made a trip to visit Tallinn in Estonia, Riga in Latvia, Vilnius in Lithuania, and Warsaw in Poland. I showed a map of my itinerary here. After sorting through the many photos taken, I'm sharing some of my snaps of Tallinn in this post.

QUICK FACTS:
  • February 24, 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia
  • Estonia's official language is Estonian
  • Estonia's official currency is the Euro
  • Estonia's capital, Tallinn, is located in Northern Europe, in the north-eastern part of the Baltic Sea region, about 82 km (50 miles) from Helsinki, Finland
  • The population of Tallinn is about 450,000
  • Tallinn's Old Town is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site

TALLINN'S SIGHTS:

Pikk Hermann Tower at Toompea Castle - Each day at sunrise, the Estonian flag is raised above the 46 metre high tower to the tune of the national anthem. Toompea Castle has been in use since at least the 9th century. Today it houses the Parliament of Estonia.


Parliament of Estonia

Panoramic views of Tallinn - From a few excellent viewing platforms, I was able to see panoramas of Tallinn's Old Town and city centre, the roof tops, and Tallinn's shoreline where cruise ships and ferries dock.





Viru Gate - These two picturesque towers at the entrance to Viru Street are part of a much more complex gate system built in the 14th century. They are now a symbol of Tallinn's Old Town.



Artillery Tower (Kiek in de Kök) - This 38 metre high cannon tower was originally built in the 1470s with walls that are four metres thick. Today it houses a museum of Tallinn's fortifications, weapons, and medieval-era life. It's also a starting place to visit the fascinating Bastion Passages (hidden tunnels) that run underneath the old bastions of Toompea Hill.


Tallinn's Gothic Town Hall and Town Hall Square - Tallinn's Gothic Town Hall was built in 1402-1404. It is the only intact Gothic town hall in northern Europe. At the top of the spire, Tallinn's Old Thomas weather vane has been standing since 1530.



St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral - Built in 1900, this striking, onion-domed structure perched atop Toompea Hill is Estonia's main Russian Orthodox cathedral. The church towers hold Tallinn's most powerful church bell ensemble, consisting of 11 bells, including the largest in Tallinn, weighing 15 tonnes. The entire ensemble plays before each service.



Kadriorg Palace and its surrounding gardens - The grand, baroque Kadriorg Palace was built in 1718 for Peter the Great. It now houses the Art Museum of Estonia of foreign collection. The surrounding gardens were beautifully green with many horse-chestnut flowers during my visit.



Official Building - The Office of the President of Estonia with two guards at the entrance is shown below.


Monument to the War of Independence at Freedom Square - This large pillar with the cross that dominates Tallinn's Freedom Square is the Monument to the War of Independence, commemorating Estonia's hard fought struggle in 1918-1920 to free itself of foreign rule.


The Song Festival Grounds - It was here in 1988 that Estonia's massive, musical demonstration against Soviet rule set the nation on its road towards re-independence. I'd recommend the Singing Revolution documentary to learn more about the non-violent Singing Revolution in Estonia. The site is now home to the Estonian Song and Dance Celebration, an event that takes place every five years, drawing together up to 34,000 performers, and 200,000 spectators.


FLOWERS IN BLOOM: Horse-chestnut flowers and lilacs were common sights in Tallinn's parks and gardens during my visit.



DELICIOUS EATS: A three-course meal that I had in Tallinn looked and tasted delicious (potato soup, chicken with mushrooms, and cheesecake). The local guide recommended Tallinn's marzipan and chocolate so I bought them as gifts for my family.





This is a small insight into the wonderful weekend I had in Tallinn, Estonia. I hope it paints a picture of wonderful exploration. Tallinn's charming Old Town is perfect for wandering, viewing the historic landmarks, and browsing unique shops owned by local artisans.

Tallinn has a special place in my heart since it is the city where I met up with my long time Finnish friend for the second time. We had our first meeting in Helsinki many years ago. We're plotting plans to meet again soon...

MY NEXT STOP: Riga, Latvia.

40 comments:

  1. Great way to start my week, Natalie with one of my hidden gems discovered on a Baltic cruise. Looking at the photos brought back great memories and I remember climbing the circular stairs to get the fabulous view. It was a little claustrophobic but so worth it. I'm going to find my photos and reminisce today. Have a great week!
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

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    1. Agreed with you, Sue, that Tallinn is a gem although it's becoming more known to travelers. It's a lot less expensive than the Scandinavian countries so travelers get more out of their budget. Have a fabulous week!

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    2. Hi Natalie, thanks for linking up and sharing at #MLSTL, I love our group and I will be sharing on social media. Tallin is still one of my favourite places. Have a wonderful week!
      Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

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    3. Thank you, Sue, for hosting and sharing. Have a great week!

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  2. What a beautiful city! It's funny - I hadn't seen or heard much about this place, but you're the 3rd person to be posting photos from there over the last couple of weeks. That has to mean something...right? As an aside, the food looks great too...

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    1. Tallinn or Estonia is much less expensive than the Scandinavian countries and has all the charming European flair so it has become a destination. On days when the cruise ships arrive, Tallinn's Old Town is very busy. Thanks, Jo, for stopping by.

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  3. I really regret not having time to visit - looks so beautiful! Love your pictures - I grinned the minute I saw your thumbnail!

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    1. Glad to share my snaps of Tallinn with you. There is so much to see in the world. Thanks, Lydia, for dropping by.

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  4. I love my virtual travels with you Natalie. Thank you for sharing this trip with us. The three-course meal that you had in Tallinn looks amazing...and has made me very hungry!

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    1. My pleasure to share my trip, Donna. I was pleasantly surprised about the food quality I had in the Baltics. Potatoes are the main staple and the local people sure know how to make multiple courses out of them. Thank you for stopping by.

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  5. This is a part of the world I have always wanted to visit. It looks so beautiful.

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    1. At this time, the Baltic countries are much less expensive than the Scandinavian countries and Western Europe. I'd encourage travelers to visit the Baltics sooner rather than later. Thanks, Emma, for stopping by.

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  6. Ooh I remember Tallinn from watching Eurovision a few years ago, when they were hosting. I don't think I'd heard of it before, it looks absolutely gorgeous!

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    1. Tallinn is picturesque and less expensive than the Scandinavian capitals. I'd recommend it to travelers. Thanks, Katherine, for stopping by.

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  7. Hi Natalie. Like many others, I'd never heard of Tallinn until you mentioned it and your pen pal many posts ago. It does look quite beautiful and very clean and well maintained. Does it have a strong arts culture? More of a business feel? A focus on history?

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    1. Hi Karen - Tallinn's Old Town is rich in history and very picturesque in medieval style. There are good museums with inexpensive entry fees (a few euros plus senior discount). When I was at the Old Town square, sitting down at a cafe for a break, and looked around, the setting was a beautiful living art museum. I didn't want to go indoor! I had 17 daylight hours when I was there in late May so a day felt like two days. One thing to avoid is when multiple cruise ships arrive, the visitor traffic in the Old Town spikes significantly. I was lucky that there was only one cruise ship arrival during my stay. Many Finnish people also take the ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn since alcohol and most things are a lot cheaper in Tallinn than in Helsinki.

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  8. Wonderful photos, Natalie. Thanks for sharing. I initially thought these destinations were off the beaten track, but apparently cruise ships stop in Estonia. Tallinn seems fascinating, quiet, attractive and walk-able.

    St. Alexander Nevsky must have been important to the Russians, since they named sites after him in Budapest as well. I don't know much about these Baltic capitals, so I'm looking forward to your next posts.

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    1. Thank you, Liesbet, for your comment. The Baltics are less well-known than Western European destinations but words will get out and seasoned travelers will look for less known and less expensive destinations.

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  9. Beautiful photos, I love following people's travels to places I may not of thought to visit. Thank you for sharing

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    1. Thank you, Becky, for your visit and comment. It's my pleasure to share my travels.

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  10. Thank you for sharing your wonderful stories and the places you visit. In Australia our land has been occupied for many tens of thousands of years by the Aboriginal people but there are no buildings associated with that. There are of course, rock paintings and more. But as we were only settled by white people in the late 1700s our buildings are young...by comparison to much of the Northern Hemisphere.

    Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek. Next week's optional prompt is Share Your Snaps 5. A 'show off your photos' post! Denyse

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    1. Thanks, Denyse, for hosting. My pleasure to share my travel stories and photos. My home city is relatively young, too so I really appreciate when I visit more ancient places.

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  11. It's so beautiful! Imagine just going about your everyday life in a place like that. Magical.

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    1. I love the architecture in all the Old Towns in Europe and Tallinn Old Town is one of them. Like you said, it's a magical setting. Thanks, Melissa, for stopping by.

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  12. Thanks for bringing back some wonderful memories for me today as I sit in a small South West Australian rural town far far away from Europe! We visisited Tallinn on a cruise, and absolutely loved it. Your photos are fabulous too :)

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    1. Glad to bring back fond memories of Tallinn for you. Now I imagine a small rural town in SW Australia. Thanks, Jo, for stopping by.

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  13. What a gorgeous place Natalie - it's funny when I read "Estonia" I heard it in my head with the accent because it's one of the Eurovision countries and when they give their scores at the end they always say "Hello from Estooooonia!"

    Thanks for linking up with us at #MLSTL and I've shared this on my SM xx
    Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au

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    1. Thanks, Leanne, for hosting and sharing. I know what you mean how certain announcements stick in our mind. Have a beautiful week!

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  14. I don't believe I have ever heard of this part of the world but I am geographically challenged. Beautiful pictures.

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    1. Thank you, Victoria, for stopping by. I listed some quick facts as I know the Baltic countries are less well-known.

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  15. This is an a country that I don’t know much about, and it looks extremely interesting. Thanks for the photos and the tour.

    Jude

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    1. Hi Jude - My pleasure to share Tallinn. It's a charming capital to visit.

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  16. Less known place for me.Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you for your visit and comment.

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  17. How exciting! So much history. They certainly knew how to build structures that last. I like how the buildings from different eras blend well together.

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    1. Thank you, Su-sieee, for your visit and comment. Tallinn is a visually attractive place and yes, with years of history.

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    1. Thank you, Lady Fi, for your visit and comment. I'll be off to see your blog.

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  19. Lovely photos, Natalie. They brought back happy memories of my trip to Tallinn.
    Thank you for taking part in the "Travel Tuesday" meme.

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    1. Thank you, Nicholas, for hosting the Travel Tuesday meme, and your kind comments.

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