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8.4.2013 | Culture

Tallinn with a view

Tallinn with a view

Tallinn The old town Kohtu Platform Pühavaimu Church harbour St Olaf ChurchToompea Castle and Pikk Hermann Tower

The old town of Tallinn is divided into a lower and upper part. The lower town was inhabited by hanseatic traders and the upper town, or Toompea was inhabited by nobility. The lower part of Tallinn’s Old Town can be seen from viewing platforms at Toompea. The best view of Toompea is from the tower of St. Olaf’s Church.

1 Kohtu Platform

The Kohtu street platform offers the best view of the Old Town and is a must-see. After a visit to the platform, the likelihood of getting lost in the labyrinth-like streets of the lower town is smaller. The impressive tower of the Niguliste Church seems at arms length. The gracious spire of the medieval City Hall has an Oriental touch and resembles that of the Pühavaimu Church (Church of Holy Spirit). The red tiled roofs with white edges are characteristic of Tallinn.

2 Patkul Platform

The Patkul platform shows both a view of St Olaf’s Church, and part of the city wall. The church used to be even taller in medieval times and was actually the tallest building in the world in its time. Nowhere else can you see the city wall from a better angel. The harbour and the sea are lying just in front. The Patkul stairs take you more or less to the city centre, and to the Tallinn railway station. Take a look to the left, and parallel with the platform you will see the pillars of Stenbock Palace, the seat of the Estonian government. Tallinn

3 Kiriku Platform

The platform at the end of Kiriku Street faces west and offers a view of splendid and romantic sunsets. The area is more genuine, calm, and bohemian than around other platforms.

4 Best of both worlds

Climb the stairs of the St Olaf Church and you will discover not only the lower town beneath but also the magnificent palaces facing the slopes of the Toompea Hill, and the upper town. ?

5 Toompea Castle and Pikk Hermann Tower.

The Toompea Tower (15th century) and the blue, black, and white Estonian flag signify independence and freedom for Estonians. The 46-meter tower is best seen if you walk downhill from Lossi plats square along Falgi Street. Now, turn around, look up and the impressive wall of the medieval fortification with the Pikk Hermann (Tall Hermann) will greet you!

A quick history of the city of Tallinn

The name Tallinn originates from the Danish occupation (1219–).

1285 Tallinn joins the Hanseatic League.

1346 The Danish sell Tallinn to the German Order. Toompea was divided amongst princes and bourgeoisie in the uppertown and craftsmen in the lowertown.

1561 Tallinn goes to the Swedish. 1721 The Russians conquer Estonia and Tallinn.

1918 Estonia declares independence and Tallinn becomes its capital.

1939–44 Russians and Germans occupy Tallinn. 1944 The Soviet Army bombs Tallinn in March and causes extensive damage.1400 people are killed.

1944–1991 Tallinn becomes a Soviet capital and hosts the sailing competitions of the 1980 Moscow Olympics. 

1991 Tallinn becomes the Estonian capital. In 1997, it is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2011 Tallinn is the European Capital of Culture along with Turu. Its population is estimated at 411,000: 53% Estonians, 38% Russians, 9% Other.

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