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TOP things to do in Tallinn – Visit Tallinn Estonia – Photo Gallery Old Town of Tallinn – City Views of Tallinn Estonia –

Tallinn Old Town Photo Gallery – City Views of Tallinn

Visitors from all over the world drop around to admire the beauty of Tallinn, the best preserved medieval city in Northern Europe boasting Gothic spires, winding cobblestone streets and enchanting architecture.

Once a home to wealthy merchants settling from Germany, Denmark and beyond, Tallinn Old Town today is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, with restaurants, bars, museums and galleries bringing much life to this historical city centre.

Spend a day in an authentic medieval milieu and you will soon realise why so many visitors have described Tallinn Old Town as mystical, mesmerising and addictive.

Unlike many other capital cities in Europe, Tallinn has managed to wholly preserve its structure of medieval and Hanseatic origin. Here you’ll find original cobblestone streets dotted with medieval churches and grandiose merchant houses, barns and warehouses many of which date back to the Middle Ages.

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Things to do in Tallinn in six hours

Short of time? You’re in luck. Tallinn is a compact city, in which you can cover multiple sights without the need to travel far.

There are many historic and fun sights in the Old Town, which are very easy to access on foot and that you cannot miss. Still, Tallinn has a lot more to be discovered besides the Old Town. You should definitely spare some time to visit one of the other cool areas of Tallinn, like the green and beautiful Kadriorg or the trendy up-and-coming hipster suburb Kalamaja. Plan which you’d like to see, as you probably won’t be able to make it to both in six hours.

Scale the City Wall

Many visitors of Tallinn arrive by ship. One of the first things you see coming from the sea are the towers of Tallinn’s Old Town – seeming like little red spikes lining the town. These landmarks are the remaining defensive towers and the city wall. They’re also some of the coolest things in our town.
So, like any visitor to Tallinn’s Old Town, you need to get past this wall first. There’s no need to state your business these days, but it is easy to imagine armed guards up on the walls, looking down at you. The wall, originally almost 2.4 km in length and made of limestone, came with 8 gates, 46 towers, and an impressive moat. Now what is left of the moat camouflages as a pond in a park, but amazingly 1.9 km of wall is still there, along with half of the towers.
Tallinn’s City Wall is one of the best preserved in the whole northern European region and thus a must-see. So get up on it! Walk up on the wall and imagine all the wars that have involved Tallinn. There are several sections of the wall where you can climb up, for example at Hellemann Tower on Müürivahe street, or you can also visit three towers in quick succession: Nunna, Sauna and Kuldjala are all connected. However the most famous sections of the wall is in the Danish King’s Garden and leads to the Maiden’s Tower. Don’t miss it!  Also visit some of the towers that have become museums like Kiek in de Kök, the aforementioned Maiden’s Tower, or Fat Margaret Tower, to learn about the history of this region. And following the narrow streets running behind the walls will bring a truly medieval feel to your walk. 

Estonian History

Estonian history extends across a long and winding road through time, telling the tales of many nations from Vikings to the kings, queens and medieval merchants of German, Swedish, Danish and Russian descent. Estonia’s deeply rooted pagan spirit and European mindset means that the country and its people bear close ties with nature while being a proudly independent EU and NATO member state with a growing reputation for innovation.

The history begins with ancient settlers

Shortly after the end of Ice Age in Europe, the first Estonian ancestors settled along the Baltic coast in 9000 B.C. By 800 A.D. traditional Estonian villages and village society had already formed. Many villages established in this era are still inhabited today.

The most striking example of the culture of ancient Estonians is the rhythmic verse, as well as the aural tradition of folk song where each line is repeated several times with thematic variations. These days you can explore the remains of this culture on the island of Kihnu and the Setu border region in southwestern Estonia. Estonians have one of the biggest collections of folk songs in the world, with written records of about 133,000 folk songs.
Nature spirituality is equally and deeply embedded in the cultural history of Estonian people, in which the trees and earth are cherished objects that possess power. Forest has always been the source of life in this region and it was believed to be a sacred place in Estonia’s primeval religion, with the ancestors of modern Estonians worshipping wood spirits.

Estonian Vikings

800-1200 A.D. was a period of raids and counter-raids by Vikings around the Baltic Sea, including by Estonian Vikings. By this time, the inhabitants of Estonia’s largest island of Saaremaa, known at the time as Oeselians, had formed considerable naval force. The most famous event of the time was when when Estonians kidnapped the Norwegian Queen Astrid and her son and future King, Olaf Trygvesson. At the beginning of 12th century they sacked and destroyed Sigtuna, then capital of Sweden. Even today, Saaremaa is rich of Viking-age treasures, mostly containing silver coins and bars.

Medieval heyday

By 13th century Estonia was confronted by, and subsequently converted to, Christianity and ruled by Teutonic Order and Danes. During this time is when the Germans became landed gentry and wielded huge influence over Estonia for the next 700 years. Territory known as Estonia and Latvia then became Medieval Livonia – a loosely tied group of small states included in the German ecclesiastical states of the Holy Roman Empire.

Tallinn, Estonia’s medieval pearl, was granted Lübeck city rights by the Danish king in 1248, under which Estonia’s capital and many other local towns were governed until the end of the 19th century. This was the time when Estonia’s main towns Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu and Viljandi were official members of the prosperous Hanseatic League, a commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and their market towns, dominating the Baltic maritime trade along Northern Europe. If today you were to take a walk in Tallinn Old Town and look up you will see what used to be salt, tea and flour warehouses equipped with attic doors and hooks once used to pull up the cargo.
Soon enough the country’s thriving medieval economy caught the attention of the neighbouring kingdoms looking to expand their geographical influence, and by the 18th century, Estonia had been governed by the king of Denmark, Sweden and the Russian tsar.
This time also saw the founding of University of Tartu by the Swedish king Gustav II Adolf, an institution that later played an important part in Estonia’s national awakening, as here is where the blue, black and white tricolour was consecrated, becoming the official flag of the independent Republic of Estonia in 1918.

Modern Estonia

The Republic of Estonia has been an independent state since 1918, shortly interrupted by the half a century long Soviet occupation following the World War II. Estonia restored its independence in 1991, known as The Singing Revolution that was inspired by the more than century-old song festival tradition.

Today’s Estonia is a thriving and forward-looking member state of EU and NATO, where you can vote online and start your own business in less than half an hour. Many have done so already, including the founders of Skype and TransferWise.


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