Things You Need To Know Before You Travel To Tallinn, Estonia



Tallinn is the capital city of Estonia, a state in the Baltic Region of Northern Europe. Sitting idylly on the northern coast of the country it is strategically located on the shores of Gulf of Finland. It lies to the south of Helsinki, Finland, east of Stockholm and west of Saint Petersburg.






Small Town Like A Large Castle


The earliest mention of Tallinn is by Muhammad-al-Idrisi, an Arab cartographer in 1154 as a “small town like a large castle” and marked its existence on the world map. In 1219, it came under Danish rule who built their castle on Toompea.




Tallinn, Estonia


The name Tallinn is thought to be derived from Taani linn, Estonian for “Danish Town”. It was soon sold to the Teutonic Knights and prospered as an important member of the Hanseatic League, a German dominated military and mercantile alliance and developed as a major medieval port city.

Due to its German influence it came to be known as “Reval” from early 13th century till 1920s when it was also ruled by Swedish and Russian rulers. Today, the oldest capital city of Northern Europe is known among the top 10 digital cities in the world and was the European Capital of Culture for 2011.




Medieval Old Town, Tallinn


tallinn-estoniaThe Old Town was built between the 13th and 16th century, when Tallinn was known by the name Reval and was a thriving member of the Hanseatic League. It is listed in the World Unesco Heritage List.Relive fairytale of cobbled streets, coloured gabled houses, iron street lamps, Gothic spires and medieval markets neatly packaged within the almost 2 km intact walls running around Old Town dotted with guard towers. Enter the 18 century via the Viru gate (living symbol of town), the pair of picturesque ivy covered towers and get the first glimpse of historic Tallinn.




One can actually climb the guard towers and enjoy the red tiled roof view of Tallinn’s Old Town which still functions as a living city.


A visit to the Gothic Town Hall will leave you impressed, the only intact gothic town hall in Northern Europe.


The octagonal building functions as a centre for concerts to entertain kings and presidents.


At the same time doubles as a museum where a visitor can see its colourful meeting halls, vaulted ceilings, prizeless art treasures. Spot the Old Thomas (Estonian: Vana Toomas) vane standing as a guardian on top of spire of Tallinn Town hall since 1530 as an integral part of its rich history.



First Christmas Tree


Best time to visit is in winter when it takes on a magical quality. The first Christmas tree in Europe was erected in its Old Town Square in 1441, a tradition continued till date. The Square is the heart of all social activities, a venue for open air concerts, medieval age carnival and Christmas fairs.




Saint Olav’s Church and Tower



The church was built sometime during early 13th century and is dedicated to King Olaf II of Norway. Between 15th and 16th century this was the tallest building in the world.

Its gigantic 159 metre spire which served as a signpost for approaching ships was burnt down by lightening and replaced by a 124 metre spire. Till today it dominates the skyline of Tallinn. A visitor can climb on top of the stone portion of this church for a magnificent view of the city’s fabled landscape.





Kadriorg Palace, Tallinn, Estonia

Take a 15 minute walk on the outskirts of Tallinn to a large area of forested park with zig zag paths and numerous ponds. It is home to numerous villas and presidential palace.

The Kadriorg summer palace is the jewel in its crown. It was built by Peter, the Great, Tsar of Russia for his wife Catherine during early 18 century. It is a beautiful piece of Barouque architechure surrounded by fountains and well manicured gardens. It houses the famous Estonian Art Museum where one can see a medley of paintings belonging to 16th to 20th century by Western and Russian artists besides sculptures and other works of art.






Bohemian charm welcomes you when you enter Kalamaja. The name literally means “Fish House” in Estonian.Since 14th century it has been the home of fishermen, fishmongers, and boat wrights who built colorful melange of wooden houses to live here, forming a part of Tallinn’s unique architectural legacy.

Throughout Tallinn’s history, this town has served as a fishing harbour. This place is also the home of the biggest sea centre known as the Seaplane Harbour.



Estonian Open Air Museum



Turn back the clock by going back in time. Lying on the outskirts of the city is the Estonian Open Air Museum featuring rural architecture of 18 and 19 centuries.

This well preserved forested park is complete with its windmills, farmyards, net sheds, wooden chapel, village school and the staff demonstrates how people worked and lived in the past.

Traditional dances are performed by the folklore troupe and family-oriented theme fairs are held. Experience eating food cooked in a village tavern.




Toompea Castle



The first stone fortress came into existence here in 12th century by the German Knights of Sword on this limestone hill. Since then, every ruling dynasty has built its stronghold here.

Today, Toompea Castle is the home of Estonia’s Parliament. Do visit the Cathedral of St Mary and Tower, must see attraction while you are here. The view platforms on the Toompea Hill offer picture postcard views of the medieval city to take back home as precious memories.






Tallinn On Google Map



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