Thursday, 10 September 2015

My 1 day Tallinn trip in 2009 - On the way to and around the old town area - The 2nd of November 2009

Being so close to Estonia we didn't hesitate venturing to its capital city, which was just a few hours away from where we were and if we were to leave on a fairly early ferry we would have the whole day to visit Tallin and some of its major attractions.
The ferry boat trip was quite uneventful though I realised that many approached the bar as the ferry set sail and started either drinking or buying alchool in all sorts of sized and shaped bottles, which we were told was quite normal taking into account the price of alcooholic drinks in Helsinki and Tallinn.

We left the ferry terminal by nine  and soon made our way towards the fat Margaret Tower, whose evocative name is said to be associated to the fact that it was the largest part of the city's fortifications with walls said to be 4 metres thick. Originally built to defend the harbour it was later turned into a prison and recently housing the Estonian Maritime Museum. Behind it we could see the spire of Sitn Olav's church which Tallinners are said to have wanted the be the tallest in the world to attract merchant ships.

Metal ship replica on the entrance wall of the Estonian Maritime Museum (left). The Great Coast Gate (right).

We then passed by  three adjoining medieval merchants' houses known as the Three Sisters said to have been built in 1362. 

 I couldn't help photographing some of the houses' façades along Pikk street, which I felt to be exquisitely beautiful.


One of them (to be seen underneath on the right) is a 15th century Renaissance building which used to be a meeting place of the Bortherhood of Blackheads, an association of unmarried merchants and ship owners who would then join the powerful Great Guild upon marriage. What is interesting is that the association is said to have survived until the Soviet invasion in 1940.



We managed to get into the 13th century Holy Spirit church (whose spire I couldn't photograph because of its height) said to have served as the Town Hall chapel before having been converted into church. It houses a sublime altar tryptic I tried to photograph but which didn't come out well due to the lack of light and the impossibility of using flash inside the church. I did photograph some other religious artefacts though. The church holds  a special place in the Estonian history, once the first Estonian sermons were held there in 1535 following the Reformation.


 We finally reached the Town Hall Square surrounded by a number of ellegantly designed Medieval buildings. We ended up visiting the Town Hall pharmacy believed to have existed since 1422, with a rather impressive interior filled with unique old curiosities, from medical instruments to spiced wine

Old Medieval carts were unexpectedly placed in the cobblestoned square and it was as if for a moment we had "gone back in time" ... such was the surrounding atmosphere.



Dating back to 1404 the Town Hall with its imposing Gothic building with the octagonal tower could be seen just a few metres away.


We continued walking towards the Viru Gate on the western section of the city wall with its pair of stone towers said to have been built in the 14th century as part of the larger gate system.

We soon came across the magnifient Tamsaare park, located beyond the walls, which had quite a few suggestive statues.

(To be continued)

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