On my way around the Baltic Sea with my family a couple of years ago, we stopped in the capital of Estonia: Tallinn. It was not a picture perfect June day weather-wise but, of course, we wanted to get off the ship and see the town. Tallinn is an old city in that part of Europe (think 13th century) and was known for most of these centuries as Reval (file under the “I’d never heard that name” category…). Nowadays is called more the Silicon Valley of the Baltic due to the presence of technology companies (Skype came from here!).
Estonia has a a strong cultural affinity to its northern neighbor, Finland (or is it the reverse?) and after Estonia broke the yoke of Soviet rule, it pulled towards its northern and quite successful neighbor. Tallinn itself is only 50 miles from Helsinki, Finland’s capital – a ferry ride away if you are ever in that part of the world or if you are lucky enough to fly Finnair to connect and go elsewhere (I flew that airline in 1997 and it is still one of my top 2 flying experiences!).
In any case the best thing for me about Tallinn was its charm. You truly see that it has been there since medieval times, yet you can tell that it has been through other periods too as its architecture well shows. From the city walls, to the 15th century Church of St. Olaf, to the 18th century Toompea Palace, to the late 19th century Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, to its very modern district, the city covers many centuries where it was spared destruction, unlike cities like Berlin, Warsaw, and others.
I hope the pictures I share here give you a feel for what I mean that there’s something about Tallinn. A one day visit clearly not enough to truly enjoy the town (wish I could have hung out at the cafés enjoying a few beers until sunset…) but I never complain about getting to sample a place, especially when it is as charming as Tallinn. It is no wonder it is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site! I hope to return and explore ALL that the city has to offer!
Click on the photos to enlarge!