Tallinn for the Weekend – Day 2
The city of Tallinn is small enough to easily walk around, and these are some of the sights I would recommend. My itinerary was carried out in no particular order simply because I enjoy just wandering about – making my way to one of the sights and finding a totally different way back, seeing where that takes me.
ToompeaCastle is a bit of an uphill climb, but worth it for the view. The castle dominates the skyline, and has guarded Tallinn for centuries. It can only be entered as part of a guided tour, and I choose not to wait around for that. The view of the city from here is quite something.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is almost beside the castle, and its typical onion-domed Russian Orthodox architecture is quite incongruous amongst Tallinn’s medieval buildings. Inside it is amazing – full of religious icons, mostly glitteringly bright and lit, and is well worth a look.
There are a number of churches in the city – the Church of the Holy Ghost, apparently built in the 1300s, and still has its original exterior. It also has a church clock said to date back to 1680; St Mary’s Cathedral, built originally in 1229, but renovated and expanded many times since; and St Olaf’s church the spire of which was said at one time to be the tallest in Europe. It is possible to see the interiors of all of these, but I cannot report on these because I didn’t go in.
The ex KGB Headquarters is in the Old Town too, and is now a government building not open to the public. The lower ground floor windows have been bricked up, allegedly so that the sounds of interrogation and torture of suspected dissidents could not be heard. I am not usually fanciful but this building, to me, emanated a sense of evil and fear I have rarely experienced.
The walls of the OldTown, and various of the towers which are part of it, are in wonderful condition, and can be seen during a stroll around. Keik in de Kok and Fat Margaret’s Tower both now house museums.
About 1km from the town centre is KadriorgPark, a large public park containing the magnificent KadriorgPalace, the Presidential Palce, the House of Peter the Great and a number of other museums and galleries. I cannot comment on the interiors of any of these because they were closed the day I was there. Nonetheless, the Park was still well worth seeing, and even the exteriors of these buildings were impressive.
I ate that evening in Restoran Troika, a Russian restaurant in Raekoja Plats. The fare was typically Russian – borscht, blinis, pelmeni etc, and all accompanied by the apparently obligatory vodka, served freezing, and in great style! Enough said!