Tallinn is the capital of Estonia. The Old Town is located in the scenic haven. Tourist love Tallinn mostly for its medieval atmosphere. Here preserved fragments of city wall with towers, old churches and classic cobbled medieval streets. A lot of interesting sights are located in other Tallinn parts and its suburbs.
Tourist information center: Niguliste 2 / Kullasepa 4 Phone: +372 645 7777, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hotels, guest houses, apartments and other accommodation options in Tallinn.
How to reach Tallinn:
By plane. Travel time – 1 h 40 min.
By train. Travel time – one night(15 hours).
By bus. Travel time – one night.
By car – 12 hours (not including time on the border).
From St. Petersburg:
By plane. Travel time – 1 hour.
By train. Travel time – 7 hours.
By bus. Travel time – 7 hours.
Also by car. Travel time – 4 hours 40 minutes (not including time on the border).
There's no train from Riga to Tallinn.
By bus. Travel time – 4 h 20 min.
By car – 3 h 50 min.
The Old Town
Unlike others Northern capitals, the historical part of Tallinn survived destructions and avoided modern mass construction. That made the Old Town one of the most interesting places for tourists and allowed it in 1997 to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
As the majority of medieval towns, Old Tallinn was divided into two parts – Upper City for authority and nobility and Lower City for merchants and artisans.
To explore the Old Town you can join the organized excursions or make a self-walking tour. Today the Old Town is only 0.7% of Tallinn territory, so the walk wouldn’t take a lot of time.
City Wall, towers and the gate
The tower and the gate were built to defend city from attacks from the sea. Today in the tower is situated Marine Museum where you can learn about seafaring and fishery in Estonia. On the top of the Tower is a viewing platform, from which you can get a magnificent view on the Old Town.
In certain towers of the City Wall are situated museums. In Assauva (Müürivahe 12) – Theatre and Music Museum. In the tower Kiek in de Kok (Komandandi tee 2) – Museum of the city's defense. Also in it by prior appointment are made guided tours by underground passages of Tallinn bastions.
Town Hall Square
The Town Hall building is the only well-preserved gothic Town Hall in North Europe. The tower steeple is decorated with weather vane "Old Thomas" – the symbol of the city. On the opposite side of the Town Hall is the oldest working pharmacy in the world – Town Hall Pharmacy, which has been working since 1422. In the back room is an exhibition of medicines and medical equipment of XVII – XX centuries (dried frogs, powder from unicorn horn, extract from sheep's wool, etc.).
One of Tallinn sights are viewing platforms. You can find them on the North wall of the Toompea castle, in front of the Dome Cathedral Bell Tower with a great view on the Toompark and on the stairway Patkuli, from which you can get a breathtaking view on the Tallinn bay and port.
Oleviste church (Lai 50 )
The church was named after St. Olaf – the Norway king and Baptist, who was canonized as a saint. In XVI this gothic church was the highest building in the world (159 m). Twice it was destructed by fires, in 1625 and 1820. On top of the tower is a viewing platform, which is opened from April 1 to October 31.
Dome cathedral (Toom-Kooli 6)
ЭThis is one of the oldest Tallinn churches, that was built in XIII century in place of the previous wooden church. During XIII – XVII centuries the Cathedral was rebuilt several times and therefore different parts of the church belong to the different ages. In the medieval the Cathedral was the main tomb of the Tallinn nobility. Here is buried famous Russian seafarer, member of the first Russian expedition around the world – Ivan Fyodorovich Kruzenshtern. Also the Dome Cathedral is famous for its Organ, built in 1878 and rebuilt in 1913 by famous German organ builder – Wilhelm Sauer. In present time it’s a valid Evangelical Church.Dome cathedral website
The church was built in 1230 – 1270 by German merchants and named after St. Nicolas – the patron of sailors and fishermans. After the restoration church appearance was restored and in it opened a Historical Museum of religious art. Here is a fragment of Lubeck artist Berndt Notke painting “Danse Macabre” (Dance of Death XV century). It is considered to be the only work in the world in this genre that preserved up to present days. On Saturdays and Sundays in the church is held a half-hour concert of organ music.
Toompea castle (Lossi plats 1)
The castle ensemble was built in XIII – XIV centuries on the Toompea hill, at a height of 50 m above sea level. Since medieval times survived only north and west walls with three towers. In the late XIV in South-East castle part was built a tower “Tall Herman” that became symbol of Estonian independence. Today here is situated Estonian Parliament.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral (Lossi plats 10)
Orthodox Cathedral was built in 1900 and dedicated to Alexander Nevsky, the Prince of Novgorod. Several times the Cathedral could be demolished or transformed. Cathedral Bell tower contains 11 bells, and the interior is decorated with gilded wooden iconostasis. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral belongs to the Moscow Patriarchate and services are held in Russian.Alexander Nevsky Cathedral website
Danish King's Garden (Lühike jalg 9A)
This small stone platform is located on the top of the Upper city hill, near the city wall and Toompea castle. The garden was named because of a legend that exactly here in July 15, 1219 the Danes have found their flag.
St. Catherine's Passage (Vene 12)
St. Catherine's Passage joins Vene and Muurivahe streets. The name came from the St. Catherine's church, which once stand here. Near is Masters' Courtyard where you can see the work of glassblowers and other masters, as well as buy interesting souvenirs.
Dominican Convent (Müürivahe 33)
Dominicans have founded their abbey in 1246. Lutheran Reformation and the city authorities forced monks to leave Tallinn in 1525 and after the fire of 1531 the abbey was ruined. To the present day have remained only separate fragments. Today here is situated City museum and are exhibited works of medieval Tallinn stonecutters. The former abbey is famous for its “wish fulfillment” well and “energy pillar”, leaning against which you can get physical and spiritual strength. In summer in courtyard are held concerts and theatrical performances. Also in abbey are organized thematic tours for groups.
One of the few Renaissance buildings, preserved up to modern days. The brotherhood was founded in 1399 and named after dark-skinned Moor St. Mauritius. Brotherhood members became unmarried merchants, awaited their turn to be taken to the "Big workshop". Front door of the Brotherhood of Blackheads House dates back to 1640.
Kanut guild (Pikk 20). The guild was founded in XIV century, originally as a religious brotherhood and later reorganized into a secular association of “noble” artisans of German descent (jewelers, bakers, hatters, shoemakers, painters). The guild had ceased to exist in 1920. Day in the building is situated theatre of modern dance.
Olav guild (Pikk 24). The first mention of the guild dates back to 1341. Its members were artisans (butchers, tanners, gravediggers), representatives of national minorities, mostly Swedes, Finns and Estonians. The guild was named after its patron St Olav. In 1919 the building passed to the Brotherhood of Blackheads.
The Big guild (Pikk 17). The Big guild was founded in 1325 and united married merchants of German descent who had their own house and ship. The guild building was the second largest (after the Town Hall) secular building in the medieval Tallinn. The Big guild had ceased to exist in 1920. Today here is situated Estonian History Museum.The Big guild website
Photo by: Elena Lipatova (LenaRu)
Other places in Tallinn
To learn Tallinn better it’s advised to travel outside the Old Town. On the west and east Tallinn are places which will be interesting to visit. You can reach them by car or public transport.
Park and Kadriorg palace (A. Weizenbergi 37)
The Baroque style palace and the surrounding park with fountains were built by the order of Peter the Great as a present to his wife Ekaterina I. The architect of this palace and park ensemble – Niccolo Michetti, later he took part in the construction of the palace in Petergof. In the palace since 1946 is situated museum of Foreign Art.
To the monument leads an alley from Kadriorg palace to sea. The figure of angel which holds an orthodox cross was established in memory of the Russian battleship “Rusalka” that perished during a storm September 7, 1893 f September. The author of the sculpture – Estonian sculptor Amandus Adamson.
Maarjamjagi castle. Histroical museum (Pirita tee 56)
The former summer residence of duke Orlove-Davidov family. Since 1975 in castle is situated Estonian History Museum. In the park adjoining the museum are collected communist era monuments. Near the castle on the Maaryamyagi hill is an obelisk dedicated to the ice hike in 1918 the Baltic Fleet ships.Historical museum website
St. Brigitte abbey (Kloostri tee 9)
The abbey was founded in 1407 and was the largest abbey in Livonia. The peculiarity of this nunnery was that here was allowed to live and conduct worship to male priests. The complex was destroyed in XVI century and today remained only western gable and side walls. In 2001 near to ancient ruins was built a new building of St. Brigitte Order monastery. In august is celebrated the Day of the convent and are held music festival and fairs.St. Brigitte abbey website
Tallinn Botanical garden (Kloostrimetsa tee 52)
On 123 hectares of Botanical Garden grows 2400 plant species. Along with the permanent exhibition every month here are held new exhibitions.Tallinn Botanical garden website
Tallinn TV tower (Kloostrimetsa tee 58a)
TV Tower is the highest building in Tallinn and the whole Estonia. Its height – 314 meters. From May to September the tower is opened from 10:00 to 19:00. Visitors could climb the 170-meter height (21 floor) where is a glazed viewing platform. In tower is a restaurant as well with souvenir shop, mini TV studio, a lot of attractions for children etc.
Sea museum "Lennusadam" (Küti 17)
Here is exhibited the whole history of Baltic region seafaring of Russian Empire and USSR period. The exposition is situated in big hangars of 20th century, which were built for hydroplanes. Among exhibits – copy of "Short Type 184" hydroplane, legendary submarine "Lembit" and medieval sailing ship from Sonneburg castle. Inside the hangars is created an illusion of being in the water – on the floor and walls are projected pictures of the underwater world. To museum visitors is offered to fly over Tallinn on a Flight Simulator, dive into the deep sea on a submarine simulator and try yourself at navigating through the Gulf of Tallinn.
Estonian Open Air Museum in Rokka-al-Mare (Vabaõhumuuseumi tee 12)
This museum is a great place to learn history of Estonia. On the 72 ha territory are situated farms, Fishermen houses, church, school, wind mills. All buildings are of the sample XVII-XIX centuries.Open air museum website
Tallinn zoo (Paldiski maantee 145)
Is opened since 1939. In the zoo live more than 350 animal and bird species. For children is opened mini-zoo.Tallinn zoo website
Foto: Elena Lipatova (LenaRu)
St. Catherine’s Dominican Monastery
The building is situated in Tallinn’s Old Town and relates to the 18th century. It was build for the Dominican order’s monastery, which was functional in the years of 1246-1525. The order specialized in church science and theology and became famous for its scholars.