Tallinn (1)

Between our two organized tours we spent two days in Tallinn, Estonia on our own.  We had a wonderful time.  Tallinn is fascinating, especially the Old Town—which is the only part we saw.  We happened to arrive during Old Town Days which are held every year at the beginning of June and celebrate the city’s cultural heritage.  In addition, this year they are also celebrating 100 years of being a Republic.  There were lots of street stalls with foods and crafts, many street musicians along with a number of stages set up for musical events, and other activities, such as medieval sword fighting, bow & arrow shooting, etc.  We didn’t see all the activities. Long ankle-length dresses seemed to be favored by many women. We don’t know if that is just current fashion or related to tradition.

Tallinn is a medieval walled city with much of the wall still intact and many corner towers.  And cobble-stoned streets.

We searched out several less-touristy streets and courtyards and many churches.  We also saw of the major sites.  There is the lower town and the upper town.  The Alexander Nesky Cathedral in the upper town dominates many scenes.  It is an orthodox cathedral building in the late 1800’s.  (And all tourists visit!)

Dome Church nearby dates from the 13th century.  (Most likely, we will have more photos of this church when we return with our tour.)

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was fascinating with all the icons.  It serves more as a museum than a worship center.

St Olaf’s Church was lovely.  It is believed to have been built in the 12th century.  It was Roman Catholic, then Lutheran, and now Baptist.

Freedom Square is in memory of the 1991 fight for freedom from Russia.  In August 0f 1989 there was a human chain of 2 million people peacefully holding hands across the countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania (about 420 miles).  There was an interesting photo exhibition on the square with photos from the bombings of 1940’s and what the present-day site looks like.

The Short Leg Gate was to keep the lower town and upper town separate.  The gate was locked at night to keep the common people from bothering the nobility.  It is supposed to be one of the most haunted places in Tallinn.

We stayed in the heart of Old Town in a small apartment.  (Carried our suitcases up–and then down–four flights of stairs.)  Because we stayed in area we could visit key spots in the evening after most tourists had returned to their cruise ships.

We will return to Tallinn during our next tour so may have more to say about the city and country.

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