Outside of the Old Town
Kalamaja & Kopli
Kalamaja (Fish house) is a historic suburb filled with wooden houses and old factories. From the 14th century, Kalamaja has served as Tallinn’s main fishing port and was home to fishermen and fishmongers. When the railroad connected Tallinn with St. Petersburg in 1870, many factories opened. The colourful wooden houses you still see today were built in the 1920s and 1930s to house the growing working population.
Kalamaja has seen a revival over the last few years as artists and other bohemian types moved in for the large spaces and cheap rent. Restaurants and cafés began to open, and the area continues to grow .￼
Seaplane Harbour (Lennusadam)
Have you ever seen the hull of a real submarine from below? Or better still, crawled through the narrow living and working quarters of a fully refurbished sub from the 1930s?
The submarine Lembit was one of two Estonian submarines built in the UK in the mid 1930s. Another sight is an authentic replica of the Short Admiralty Type 184 seaplane, a British two-seat reconnaissance, bombing, and torpedo carrying folding-wing seaplane used in the Estonian war of Independence in the early 1920s and later for mail service. The museum is located in the former seaplane hangars built during WWI by the Russian tsar. The construction is architecturally unique since it was the largest armoured concrete ceiling in the world at the time of construction.
By tram: No. 1 or 2 from the city centre to the Linnahall stop. From there, by foot along the Cultural Kilometre trail.
￼Patarei Prison (Patarei Vangla)
Patarei Prison gives an eerie glimpse into gloomy Soviet era prison life. For a small entrance fee you can take a self-guided tour through the dark halls of this old sea fortress that has served as barracks, and then as a prison during Soviet times.
By tram: No. 1 or 2 from the city cen- tre to the Linnahall stop. From there, by foot along the Cultural Kilometre trail, just before the Seaplane Harbour.
Kadriorg Park is the area that houses the Presidential Palace (Presidendi kantselei) and the Kadriorg Palace (Kadrioru loss), and the KUMU Art Museum. (All located on Weizenbergi). Kadriorg means Catherine’s Valley in Estonian, and dates back to the 18th century. The park and the palace were built by Peter the Great, who apparently helped in its building. As was customary at the time, the main house was named after his wife. There are plenty of other things to see in this beautiful and prestigious park. From the Kadriorg Palace, head straight along the park trail to the Russalka monument, located at the shore of the Gulf of Finland. The famous Song Festival Grounds (Lauluväljak) are only a short walk from the park as well.
Pirita is an area located a short distance to the east of the city centre and offers a variety of things to see and do. Start by visiting the ruins of St Birgitta’s Convent ruins (Pirita klooster) whose colourful history dates back to the 15th century. A stroll through the ruins and the surrounds, including the small cemetery, is a moving reminder of the past. Its proximity to the Pirita River and the beach makes it perfect as part of a day excursion. The 2km long beach can attract up to 30,000 visitors a day in summer. Also located a short distance from the beach is the city’s Botanical Gardens (Botaanikaaed) and the famous Tallinn TV Tower (Teletorn), which is a must see as it not only provides a number of interactive exhibits but also offers one of the best views of the city and the district.
A starting point for information on these can be found at:
Estonian Open Museum (Eesti Vabaõhumuuseum)
Visitors can catch a glimpse of the Estonian countryside and village life from the past. The venue has a distinctive rural atmosphere that includes various farm buildings as well as its own church, tavern, and schoolhouse. Several mills, a fire station, fishing net sheds, a dancing area, and a village swing add to the character of the place. Some of the country’s iconic windmills can also be seen. Various demonstrations, displays and interactive activities help bring the past to life and provide visitors with a fun and educational experience.
TEXT KRISTINA LUPP, PHOTOS ANDREI CHERTKOV