17 February 2012

Tallinn, Estonia

(1) Remains of the fortifications.

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(4) On the way to the main square (Raekoja plats).

(5) Raekoja plats and the town hall.

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(9) One could write a book with only photos of the many beautiful gates in Tallinn! Maybe someone has done it already?

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(12) The Occupation Museum. Much smaller than I had expected, and it didn't take too long to get through the exhibition. I have to say that the war museum in Riga was much more impressive.

(13) Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Beautiful!

(14) Danebrog Towers.

(15) As the legend goes, this was the place where the Danish flag, Dannebrog, fell down from heaven during the battle of Lyndanisse.

(16) Most of the inscription and the colours of the flag has unfortunately disappeared. But at least "1219" is still visable. Get some more paint, please!

(17) Lossi plats 7. Formerly the property of the Marshal of the Estonian Nobility, now the residence of the German Ambassador.

(18) Toompea 1. The Commander's House, built c. 1690. Both King Karl XII of Sweden and Emperor Peter I of Russia have been here. Abram Hannibal (c. 1696-1781) of Ethiopian origin, Russian General-in-Chief, was the garrison commander of Reval (Tallinn). He was the great-grandfather of the poet Alexander Pushkin.

(19) Toompea Palace, seat of the government.

(20) View of the city.

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(23) Memorial of the Estonian uprising and war of freedom 1918-1920.

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I visited Tallinn, the wonderful capital of Estonia, in early November 2011. My first article covering my visit was published in November (Kadriorg Palace and Park). I am planning another article (a cemetery visit) before I move on to other trips I have made.

I like to visit at least one "new" country every year, and in 2011 Estonia became the 54th foreign country I have visited. I didn't see anything but the capital, though. I hope one day to make a car trip around the Baltic Sea, starting in Helsinki and then travelling through Estonia, Latvia (which I visited in 2006, by the way) and Lithuania as well as Poland and Germany. Time will tell when I manage to make this trip. Really something to look forward too!

The highlight of Tallinn is certainly its old city, although the Kadriorg article proves that you will find many wonders outside the city wall as well. The old city is described as smaller than the one in Riga, but the way I remember it much more charming, especially with the hill of Toompea (called "Cathedral Hill"). With so many nations setting their mark on the city - Denmark, Sweden, Russia and Germany (German Knights) - it has become rich of architecture and history and has a lot to offer, with its fortifications, churches, palaces, mansions, museums, restaurants and shops. Something for everyone! After a short-lived independence between the world wars, the Estonians had to suffer Soviet Russian and German occupation and then Soviet Russian occupation before becoming independent again in 1991. The many years of occupation and the brave independence movement towards the end of the 1980s have made many Norwegians feel close to Estonia and the other Baltic countries, Latvia and Lithuania. Estonia is, as already mentioned, most certainly a country I would like to visit again and explore further some time in the future.

All the photos above are taken in the weekend 4-7 November 2011. As you can see, the weather varied a lot. I visited some of the places several times and took photos each time. When the weather was gray or I arrived too late in the afternoon, the photo quality could suffer a bit. But all in all I hope you will enjoy the few glimpses of what Tallinn can offer.

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