The minute we pulled into port, I envisioned Tallinn as a fairy tale city. From our balcony, you could see the more modern city architecture to the left; and to the right, Old Town, looking as if it was lifted out of the pages of an old story book.
Tallinn is the capital city of Estonia and an important seaport. The established city has been dated back to 1154 AD with artifacts having been dated back to 3000 BC. Tallin was known as Reval, from the 1200s to 1917, before assuming its current name. It reverted back to Reval during the Nazi occupation and then the name Tallinn was again restored in 1944.
Our tour of the day was “Upper Town and Rocca al Mare and Folk Show“. We started in Toompea (Upper Town), touring the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and then continuing on foot through the quaint streets of Old Town Tallinn.
The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral was build at the end of the 1800s while under the Russian Empire, as an orthodox cathedral. The inspiration is immediately recognized by the prominent onion domes. It was almost demolished in the 1920s because the people of Estonia viewed it as a reminder of Soviet oppression. Luckily, it was saved and has been restored.
We wandered the narrow cobble stone streets until we reached the medieval Cathedral of Saint Mary the Virgin known as Dome Church.
It was established before 1233 AD and has been repeatedly rebuilt (restored) ever since. The Baroque tower was added in the late 1700s.
Michael and I had some time to explore the streets while others on our tour visited some local shops and I really enjoyed just casually strolling through history.
We had a beautiful view of the city and rooftops from Toompea, before making our way back to the bus for the second part of our tour. We didn’t spend time visiting Al-linn (Lower Town) but I would have liked to. I’d definitely consider returning to Tallinn for an extended stay and a chance to fully explore and experience all the history and ambience it has to offer.
Next, we went to the Estonian Open Air Museum in the Rocca al Mare subdistrict of Tallinn. The park featured many examples of dwellings over the years and costumed performers that treated us to folk songs and dance while we snacked on meat pies and coffee. Michael was grabbed by one of the performers to participate in one of the dances. (Better him than me!)
I’m not a huge fan of reenactment parks but I do think they are important historically. The park is beautiful and very well maintained. I found myself most interested in the low moss covered walls and animals (chickens and pigs) than the thatched roof dwellings themselves. I got left behind at point, talking to a pig and trying to get him to raise his head while I was taking pictures.
I loved that we were able to combine the old city with some of the more natural surroundings of Tallinn. It was sunny and warm– a beautiful way to end the day.