7.- 9. September 2018
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42,195 km

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SIGHTSEEINGS ON THE COURSE

 

Rotermann Quarter

 

For a true taste of 21st century Tallinn, take a stroll through this factory area turned bustling commercial/cultural centre.
 

Its avant-garde architecture stands as a powerful symbol of just how far the city has come in re-inventing itself in recent times. Until just a few years ago, the Rotermann factory area between Old Town and the Passenger Port was little more than a collection of dilapidated buildings, discarded leftovers of late 19th and early 20th-century industry. Now the area has been magnificently-restored and serves as home to a number of shops and restaurants, as well as an active cultural scene. The quarter's main square is often used for festivals and outdoor performances.

 

Great Coastal Gate and Fat Margaret Tower

 

Guarding the north end of Pikk street, these two defensive structures provide an eye-opening glimpse into Tallinn's maritime past.

 
The medieval-era Great Coastal Gate (Suur Rannavärav) and Fat Margaret tower (Paks Margareeta) were built not only to defend the city from the seaward side of town, but also to impress any visitors arriving via the harbour.
 
These days Fat Margaret’s cannon tower is home to the Estonian Maritime Museum, which provides a detailed look at the all-important sea-faring aspect of Estonia’s history, displaying such things as Neolithic fishing gear, antique diving equipment, and even the entire wheelhouse from a 1950s-era trawler. The extensive museum covers four floors of the historic tower.
 
From May until September, visitors can take the stairs to the rooftop for a picture-postcard view of the Tallinn harbour and Old Town while enjoying the cold treats from an ice cream café.
 
The Great Coastal Gate, along with the Viru Gates, are the last of six gates that controlled access to the town in medieval times. The gate system here on Pikk street originated in the 1300s, but it was during reconstruction in the early 16th century that the Fat Margaret cannon tower was added. Built from 1511 to 1530, this hefty, round tower has a diameter of 25 metres, a height of about 20 metres, and walls up to 5 metres thick.
 
The origins of Fat Margaret's name are a mystery. Some theories insist it was named for one of its larger cannons, while others hint at a cook called Margaret who once worked here.
 
In any case, the tower has served a number of different functions throughout its history. It has been used a storehouse for gunpowder and weapons, and as a prison.
 
Tallinn Town Wall

 

Visit this portion of the wall connecting Nunna, Sauna and Kuldjala towers to imagine guarding the town against medieval invaders.

 

With 1.9km of its original city wall and 20 defensive towers wall still standing, Tallinn boasts one of Europe’s best preserved medieval fortifications. In fact, a large part of what gives Old Town its fairytale charm is the system of walls and towers that surrounds it.

 

To get a look at the wall from the inside, head to these three towers at the northwest corner of Old Town. Here visitors can climb up and explore the towers and wall, as well as enjoy a picturesque view of the red-tiled roofs of Old Town.

Work on the town's defences first began in 1265, but the current outline of the wall dates to the 14th century. By its heyday in the 16th century, the wall was 2.4 km long, 14 to 16 metres high, up to three metres thick, and included 46 towers. 

Today roughly half of the original towers still loom over Old Town, evoking images of heroic knights and damsels in distress. Many of the Town Wall’s towers serve as museums, while a few others provide opportunities for adventure for kids and teen visitors.

 

The best places to see the wall from the outside are the Patkuli viewing platform on Toompea and Tornide väljak (Towers’ Square), a park area near the train station.

 

Estonian Open Air Museum

 

Travel back to the rural Estonia of old in this vast, living museum filled with recreated, 18-20th century villages.

The forested park comprises numerous thatched farm buildings as well as historic windmills, a wooden chapel and a village school. Staff is period costume demonstrate how people lived and worked in times past. Visitors can buy handicrafts and try out the traditional foods served in the village tavern.

The museum is located in the quiet, seaside Rocca al Mare area, an ideal place for families to take a picnic and escape from city life. Fun, family-oriented theme fairs take place where traditions are passed on to the younger generation through games, songs and dances.

Free entrance to the museum and audio guide rental with Tallinn Card. Please return the audio guide before museum’s closing time.

 

Rocca al Mare Promenade

 

This 2.5-kilometre promenade runs through a peaceful, forest-like residential area in north Tallinn. The wood and steel walkway connects two popular suburban beaches – Stroomi and Kakumäe – going past the famous Estonian Open Air Museum.

 

Stroomi Beach Park

 

In 1935-1938 a two storey beach building was completed on the Stroomi beach and a 100 metres long bridge to the sea, music pavilion, changing rooms, kiosks, swings etc. In 1950 the beach building was destroyed in a fire, but today a new building is open. The green area has been renewed, walking paths created along with bicycle roads and grass pits, benches and grilling areas are also available. There are many playgrounds for children of different age and fitness areas for adults. On the beach park area is also a lifeguard post with kiosks renting beach equipments, snacks or refreshments.

 

Kalamaja - Wooden houses & Bohemian charm

 

This quiet neighbourhood has long been known for its colourful hodgepodge of old fashioned, working class houses. Throughout most of Tallinn’s history Kalamaja served as the town’s main fishing harbour.

In fact, 'Kalamaja' literally means 'fish house' in Estonian, and starting from the 14th century the area was traditionally dominated by fishermen, fishmongers and boat wrights. Everything changed in 1870, however, when Tallinn was connected to St. Petersburg by railroad. Suddenly enormous factories started to sprout up in this part of town, bringing with them an influx of thousands of new workers.

 

Baltic Station Market

 

This newly-restored market complex is the most modern of its kind in Estonia, bringing an extraordinary range of items together under one roof, with everything from children’s clothes to tasty street food. There’s also a supermarket, sports club, hair salon, fresh fruit and vegetable stalls, the widest range of meat and fish in the country, and a variety of cafés. 

 

The new market is something of a community centre, too, drawing in locals for their everyday shopping, but its unique atmosphere, its fascinating selection of antiques and its brewery also make it a great place for tourists to explore.

 

Kalamaja park

 

This former burial ground is now a park featuring tall trees, pathways, children’s play areas and a historic bell tower.
 
The first written records of the Kalamaja Cemetery date back to 1561, during the Livonian War, when 2,000 Swedish soldiers were buried here. In the 18th century, the cemetery served as the burial place for the Holy Ghost Church and Swedish St. Michael’s Church congregations. The gate tower, added in 1780, is still in place today. The cemetery was closed at the beginning of 1950 and redesigned into a park in 1964. Since 1993 the park has been a nature protection area.
 

Seaplane Harbour

 

The unforgettable Seaplane Harbour is home to a super-modern maritime and military museum, complete with historic ships to tour.
 
Located in Tallinn's famed, wooden-house district of Kalamaja, the harbour is best known for its architecturally unique Seaplane Hangars. Built almost a century ago, in 1916 and 1917, as a part of Peter the Great sea fortress, these hangars are the world’s first reinforced concrete shell structures of such a great size. Charles Lindbergh, the man who performed the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, landed here in the 1930s.
 
Now the vast hangars house an extensive, high-tech museum telling exciting stories of Estonia's maritime and military history and promising a 'sea full of excitement' for the whole family.  The museum comprises more than two hundred large exhibits in an area equivalent to nearly 2 million A4 paper sheets laid down side by side. 
 
The British-built Lembit submarine, weighing 600 tones, is the centrepiece of the museum. Built in 1936 for the Estonian navy, Lembit served in World War II under the Soviet flag. It remained in service for 75 years and was the oldest submarine in the world still in use until it was hauled ashore in 2011. Despite its long history, Lembit is still in excellent condition, and climbing inside offers an interesting glimpse of 1930s technology.
 
Another exciting attraction is a full-scale replica of a Short Type 184, a British pre-World War II seaplane that was also used by the Estonian armed forces. The Short Type 184 earned its place in military history by being the first aircraft ever to attack an enemy’s ship with an air-launched torpedo. None of the originals have survived. The replica in the Seaplane Harbour is the only full-size representation of the aircraft in the entire world.
 
More excitement for adults and kids alike is provided by the museum's simulators, which mimic a flight above Tallinn, an around-the-world journey in a yellow submarine and navigating on Tallinn Bay.
 
In the museum's outdoor area, visitors can tour a collection of historic ships, including the Suur Tõll, Europe's largest steam-powered icebreaker.
 

Patarei Sea Fortress

 

Patarei fortress in Tallinn, part of European architectural heritage, is a Classical defensive structure that has retained its stylistic purity. This is a memorial to the victims of communism and fascism, as well as a meaningful symbol of resistance on the part of martyrs of the Republic of Estonia.

The construction of Patarei sea fortress started under the orders of Nicholas I in 1828. After completion, it began operating as an artillery battery. The premises covering 4 hectares have had different functions – barracks and a prison.

Patarei belongs to the Republic of Estonia. Currently, discussions on developing the complex are under way, and the entrance to the fortress is closed.

Beeta promenade remains open; you can take walk along the promenade and look at the exterior of the prison on your own.

 

Russian Cultural Centre

 

The Russian Cultural Centre is located in a former house of Navy Officers and is home to various creative groups from theatre and choirs to painting. 

 

This Neo-classicist building is the venue for various events, theatre performances and music shows. Creative groups for children as well as adults meet in the Cultural Centre.

 

Viru gate

 

This pair of picturesque, ivy-covered towers at the entrance to Viru Street is often the first glimpse visitors get of Old Town. 

Anyone passing between them couldn't be blamed for thinking they've left the 21st century behind and landed smack in the middle of the 18th.

The towers are actually only the foregates of what was a much more complex gate system built in the 14th century. It included a large, square tower that stood father back along the street, close to where the city wall can be seen.

Most of the gate was pulled down in the 1880s to make room for traffic, but these two towers remained and have since become a symbol of the town.

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