Tag Archives: Tallinn

Wind Vanes of Tallinn

One delightful aspect of Tallinn is the relative abundance of wind vanes (or weather vanes) atop the buildings in the city. One traditional wind vane is that of Vana Toomas (Old Thomas), based on a legend of a medeival archery tournament in which members of the aristocracy would compete to see who could shoot a wooden parrot off the top of a pole. All those who tried failed this endeavor until finally a young boy named Thomas succeeded. Thomas was from a poor family but, because of his skills, he was made an apprentice guard and later became a soldier and guard loved by all. When he died, a metal statue of Thomas was placed atop city hall so he could watch over Tallinn for all time. Continue reading

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Toompea Castle and Tallinn Fortifications

Toompea Castle is the seat of the Parliament of the Republic of Estonia (the Riigikogu). Immediately to the south and adjacent to Toompea Castle is the Kuberneriaed (Governor’s Garden). Toompea Castle includes both older and newer construction. The older structure on the west side was part of the medieval fortress of the Order of the Brothers of the Sword and includes the Tall Hermann Tower (Pikka Hermanni Torn). The Estonian flag flies above the Tall Hermann Tower, with blue for the sky, black for the soil, and white for hard work and a bright future. Newer additions to Toompea Castle include the east wing which was built on order of Russian Empress Catherine the Great and completed in 1773. The south wing was completed in 1935. Other fortifications, 60% of them original, can also be seen in Tallinn. Continue reading

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Monuments and Public Art in Tallinn

Like any reasonably large city, Tallinn, Estonia has a wealth of monuments and public art. Among the most beloved figures is Gustav Ernesaks, one of the founders of the Singling Revolution and the Tallinn Music Festival. Voldemar Panso was the first leader of the drama school of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theater. The Rusalka monument commemorates the sinking of a Russian battleship of the same name in 1893. Finally, some Estonian graffitti: art in art itself, professing “Retro-Futurism”. Continue reading

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The Churches of Old Tallinn

When approaching Tallinn, Estonia, one cannot help but be awed by the sight of this old fortified city, with church steeples towering overhead. The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is Tallinn’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral. St. Nicholas’s Church was built by merchants from the island of Gotland in the 13th century and is used today as a museum and concert hall. St. Olav’s Church was, from 1549 to 1625, the tallest building in the world and is currently used as a Baptist church. Continue reading

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