A Taste Of Estonia – the magic of Tallinn.

If you believe Estonian folklore then Toompea Hill was the creation of a woman in mourning, a tribute to her one great love.

The legend goes that Linda, wife of Kalev (a mythological king in ancient Estonia) tirelessly carried huge limestone rocks piling them over 25 metres high. Those rocks would later form the mound we know as Toompea hill today.

The story continues that afterwards she sat atop it crying endless tears of sorrow. Tears that flowed down to form Lake Ulemiste the largest lake surrounding Tallinn.

Whatever its origin, today, Toompea Hill is the place to be if you want to enjoy the most splendid views of Tallinn. Home to Toompea Castle as well as the iconic Alexander Nevsky cathedral it’s a fitting starting point for any trek into the old town.

A jewel of Estonia, Tallinn is an enchanting, beautifully preserved example of medieval architecture. With its ancient buildings and cobbled streets, it hints at a rich and chequered past. It was a thrill to finally strike it off my bucket list on what proved to be too brief a visit. Here are a few impressions in pictures of a truly magical place.

Toompea Castle

Now a baroque structure, the original stone fortress was built over a three year period starting in 1227. The castle has always been the seat of power as every empire that has ruled Estonia has used it as a base.

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A view from the front.

A distinctive pink building, today Toompea Castle is home to Estonia’s parliament.

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A side view of Toompea Castle shows its medieval origins.

St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Across from Toompea Castle is the imposing Alexander Nevsky Cathedral built between 1894 and 1900 while Estonia was under Russian rule. It is Tallinn’s most extravagant orthodox church. 

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A view of Alexander Nevsky Cathedral with its distinctive onion domes.

 

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Inside Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.

Walking around Toompea Hill

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Descending into the old town.

In the Old Town

 

 

Old town scenes

 

 

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They say chimney sweeps are lucky in Estonia and when you see one you must rub one of those brass buttons.
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Cross of liberty in Tallinn’s Freedom Square.

Beyond the Old Town.

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Kadriorg Palace and Gardens. Peter the Great’s Baroque palace is now home to Estonia’s art museum.
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‘Hall of Heads’ inside Kumu Art Museum.
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Gustav Ernesaks (1908-1993) was an Estonian composer and choir leader. His monument sits at Tallinn’s Song Festival Grounds.

 

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Gustav overseeing proceedings.
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A final post-dawn view from my hotel window and it’s goodbye Tallinn until we meet again.

 

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