Christmas in Tallinn
Tallinn is a great city to visit at any time of the year, but in December the thick, fluffy snow turns it into a winter wonderland that can be enjoyed by all ages. Allow us to take you on a trip through the Estonian capital, examining some of the most enjoyable things you can do with your Christmas break.
If you retain a hankering for the sounds of the seventies, there's really no music that speaks of the decade more than legendary disco vocal group Boney M. The band's original vocalist Maizie Williams has embarked on a European tour, including one night in Estonia, at the Nordea Concert Hall. Whether you were alive to hear ”Rivers of Babylon”, ”Daddy Cool” or ”Rasputin” when they were first hits, or you're someone who enjoys a retro party, Boney M have the tunes to make your evening light up. Williams and the band come to Tallinn on 20 December.
If you get your thrills from staring at the stars, or your children are always asking you about space, you might want to consider ”UFO: Circus From Another Planet”. The extraterrestrial show was nominated for Circus of the Year 2015, and gives you the chance to experience zero-gravity wonders from across the universe. In case any of your family is curious what might be found on Mars, this will surely pique the excitement. Taking place at Tondiraba Ice Arena on 19 December, this acrobatic tour de force comes recommended.
If theatre is more your thing, you need to take a look at the Estonian Drama Theatre, which, on various dates up to and including 23 December, is hosting the latest comedy from Graham Linehan, the writer of hit TV sitcoms Father Ted and The IT Crowd. ”Five O'Clock is Tea Time” is a heist comedy of the highest order, with Linehan's strong characterisation coming to the fore again, as a planned bank robbery only becomes apparent over the course of the play.
The Estonian Opera House and Ballet Theatre is a must at Christmas time. There's something about sitting in the opulence of the Tsarist-era auditorium that makes you appreciate all the more what you are there to watch. There are also various packages to suit all people, in all price ranges. On 20 December, the Estonian National Opera Christmas Concert takes place, and you get the opportunity to hear some of Estonia's greatest voices take on the wide-ranging festive songbook. Tickets are available, but will go quickly.
If ballet is more your preference, Tchaikovsky's ”Nutcracker”, probably the most famous dance production of all time, has another run at the Ballet Theatre, beginning on 25 November and ending on 19 December. Everything about this classic is magical, but to experience it with dancers of the calibre of the Estonian National Ballet is to see a treat. Ben Stevenson is the director as Clara travels to the world of sweets, the Mouse King, toy soldiers, and the giant Christmas tree.
Thinking about giant Christmas trees, there's one in the centre of Raekoja Plats, as every year – and this forms the focal point of Tallinn's captivating Christmas Market, where you can enjoy a mulled wine and warm your hands with hand-made woollen mittens while taking in a variety of different live performances. People come from around the world to enjoy the wonders of a Tallinn Christmas, and it's really no wonder they would, when you see it for yourself.
If you possibly can, you should support the Christmas Bazaar being held by the International Women's Club of Tallinn. Not only can you get yourself ready for the festive season with a full compliment of presents, but you can do so safe in the knowledge that all your cash goes to a great cause - all the money raised goes to local women's and children's charities. It's the event's 10th anniversary, so help the volunteers make it the best year ever! the sale is at the Radisson Blu Sky Hotel, on 22 November from 11.00-16.00. The ever-popular Tombola (raffle) and the Silent Auction will both take place as well.
TEXT STUART GARLICK & KRISTINA LUPP, PHOTOS ANDREI CHERTKOV