Today we stopped in the lovely Medieval town of Tallinn, Estonia. Once a part of the Soviet Union, Estonia is now a proud and free nation, joining the European Union recently. The delightfully small and compact Old Town of Tallinn is made for walking. We entered the Old Town through the Fat Margaret Gate, only about a 15-minute walk from the cruise ship dock and headed straight up Pikk Street, the Lower Town’s main thoroughfare. With a few detours to see St Olaf Church (once the tallest building in the world), the Blackheads Guild Hall (made up of unmarried merchants), and Holy Spirit Church (with its lovely Triptych Wooden Altarpiece), we eventually reached the Main Square, a beautiful and lively space, filled with market stalls, restaurants, and shops.
We ambled down St Catherine Passage, a tiny alley where many artisans ply their trade, and stopped at St Nicholas Church on our way to the Upper Town (Toompea). Here is where the ruling class and the town’s government buildings are located, far above the ordinary citizens below. The Pink Palace (Parliament) sits opposite a reminder of the Russian occupation, the striking Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.
The other church in Toompea is St Mary the Virgin, the city’s Lutheran cathedral. From here we stopped at the major viewpoint over the Lower Town and then descended again, via Long Street, where the side wall is known as the Wall of Animosity, referring to the rivalry between Upper nd Lower Town.
After a refreshing beer and salad on Old Town Square, we headed back to the ship, although we took a short detour just outside the City Walls to see the Flower Festival. We absolutely loved Tallinn, quite a change from the big cities that we have visited so far.