During one of the first weekends in Helsinki I decided to go to Tallinn which is located right across Helsinki. It takes 1,5 hours to get there which is quite fast. For example, it takes almost 2 hours to get to Tampere or Turku, the closest big cities. In other words, you would expect lots of similarities between Tallinn and Helsinki but the two cities are totally different.
When I arrived at the pier and tried to get the tickets of a fast Linda Line boat I was told that one of its engines was not working thus it would take nearly 3 hours to get to Tallinn. I bought the tickets anyway as the day was nice and I thought I would rather enjoy the sea. Also, I upgraded the tickets to the Linda class which offers snacks and dinner for a low price as well as a glass of wine.
I purchased two additional things. One of them is Tallinn card which is available in a number of formats starting from 6 hours and up to 48 hours. It allows to get access to lots of museums and offers various kinds of discounts in shops. So I got a 6-hour card. Another thing was Estonian money but later I found out that Euros were widely accepted as well.
After arriving to Tallinn I had to walk through a factory to get to the Old Town wall. Once you enter the Old Town you find yourself in a totally different country. There are lots of very old buildings and they are well preserved. Tallinn’s main problem during medieval times was protecting itself from various kinds of enemies. This is why there are so many observation towers in the town. Almost every church has a tower. There are lots of churches of various religions. There is a Russian-Orthodox church in which Russian Patriarch Alexey II worked for a long time. I guess the unique atmosphere of Tallinn in which lots of cultures could co-exist shaped up his views on the direction in which he led Russian people. Tzar Nicholas II visited the church with his family.
A long wall surrounds the city. It is funny that people made living rooms inside the wall. There are lots of towers in this wall. In a typical Russian kremlin the distance between the towers is 100-200 meters. In Tallinn the distance between the towers is twice as short. It is nice that the wall and almost every tower are opened for the public. Each tower has a number of floors. Narrow staircases lead there. They are quite steep so that climbing a tower is like climbing a mountain. Everything is made of stone. This is an indication of the old age of the construction because during more recent times bricks were used. Indeed, the first towers were constructed in 1300s.
During my visit to Tallinn I was climbing various towers. Initially I wanted to visit museums but I got quite tired after a while and decided to have dinner. After that I decided to visit an old monastery but when I got there it turned out that it was closed. As it was already evening I went to the pier and got on a boat back to Helsinki. I enjoyed my trip to Tallinn a lot and I certainly want to visit it again because there are still lots of must-see attractions that I did not have time to visit, for example a house in which Peter the Great lived. Again, lots of Russian history in a European town.
On the streets of Tallinn it is possible to meet Russian people, not only tourists but native residents as well. During Soviet times lots of people were moved to Estonia. It is thus even more surprising how this country managed to preserve its unique gorgeous style.
The gallery is here.