The northernmost of the three Baltic States, Estonia has fared well since the break up of the Soviet Union. When in the capital Talinn you notice right away that people are doing well especially with their hosipitality towards visitors.
For the visitor Estonia offers some nice natural parks, a few old towns, some remains from the Middle Ages and a lot of Islands just off the coast.
Talllin is a beautiful medieval old city, comparable to Prague with it’s multitude of spires and orange-tiled roftops.
Talinn is the capital of Estonia and since the colapse of the Soviet Union the city has rapidly developed from a small town in a big empire to the biggest town of a small country.
The Old Town is a compact maze of cobblestone streets, historical buildings and greta views. The Old Town of Tallinn has a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Many of the old buildings have been renovated, but generally speaking in quite a good way. The Old Town is easy to cover on foot. Start near the Townhouse square (Raekoja Plats), head your way up to the Pikk Jalg, to the Castle Square. On Castle Hill you find Toompea Castle and the 19th-century symbol of the Tsar’s power in Estonia, the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. To fully get a grip on medieval Tallinn, you might consider walking around the walls and fortifications. The city used to have 66 towers (!) of which 19 remain. Some are restaurants or shops, others are offices. The three oldest towers, Nunna, Sauna and Kuldjala, can be visited in summer.
Tallinn is full of museums, covering a range of fields from history and nature to art and architecture. For art lovers, museums show a range of established artists, but the city’s art scene is also alive with constantly changing exhibits in galleries and halls. Paintings, sculpture, graphic art and applied art by lesser-known names and new talent from Estonia and abroad are shown in many venues throughout the city, giving a better taste of what’s happening now.
Tartu was closed to the outside world during the Soviet rule, because the biggest Baltic military aerodrome was situated here. Since the independance of Estonia the town has opened up; the citizens of Tartu are most hospitable towards the visitors of their city and every year more tourists come to visit this charming univesrity town.
Tartu is internationally known for its university – one of the oldest in Europe. Many international conferences and seminars are held here. It gave the city the reputation of being “Athens on the River Emajõgi”.
Over the recent years most of the sights have been restored, the number of high-level hotels, recreation sites, cafés and restaurants has increased fast and Tartu has become a good place to spend some time.
Haapsalu is a resort town on the West-Coast of Estonia. It has been well-known for centuries for its warm sea water, curative mud and peaceful atmosphere. The narrow streets with early XXth century wooden houses make the town centre a nice place to wander around.
The main sights in town are the Episcopal Palace, the Promenade (Promenaad) and the Assembly Hall (Kuursaal, built in 1898), where you can take a picturesque walk along the seaside.
The cultural life in Haapsalu becomes especially active in summer. The Old Music Festival, the strings festival Violin Plays (Viiulimängud) and the Pjotr Tchaikovsky Music Festival are great for lovers of classical music. For blues lovers there is the August Blues Festival. Haapsalu’s main festival however is are the White Lady Days, held at the time of the August full moon.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons.