Twisting cobblestone lanes and iron street lamps. Gothic spires and medieval markets. Cappuccino and Wi-Fi. This is the city's famous Old Town. If you're looking for that mix of historic ambience and cutting-edge culture that defines Tallinn, you'll find it here.
Built up from the 13th to 16th centuries, when Tallinn – or Reval as it was known then – was a thriving member of the Hanseatic trade league, this enclosed neighbourhood of colourful, gabled houses, half-hidden courtyards and grandiose churches is, quite rightly, the city's biggest tourist draw. And the fact that it's all neatly packaged within a mostly-intact city wall and dotted with guard towers gives it an extra dose of fairytale charm.
Tallinn Old Town is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The aim of the 3d.tallinn.ee is to allow anyone interested in this Medieval pearl to access the Old Town by using 3D computing technology. Read more and download the application from here.
The square in front of Tallinn’s Town Hall functioned as a marketplace for centuries, dating back to times even before the Town Hall itself was built. Through the years this served as a place of celebrations as well as executions.
Today the square remains a cultural focal point for the city. In summer, it’s filled with outdoor cafés and is home to countless open-air concerts, handicraft fairs and medieval markets. In winter, an annual Christmas Market enchants the crowds on the square, as does the town’s Christmas tree (a tradition whose roots stretch back to 1441), which stays up for a month or more.
The emergence and development of Kadriorg was influenced first and foremost by the high society of the tsar’s empire. The streets of Kadriorg are as good as a unique architectural museum, weaving together various centuries and cultures. Noble villas and summer estates, functionalist apartment buildings with stately flats are interspersed with cheaper Estonian rented wooden houses.
Kadriorg is one of the more dignified areas even today, and one of the best loved residential regions of Tallinn. The Estonian president’s residence and many foreign embassies are located here. The park is one of the favourite spots for walking of Tallinners young and old. But Kadriorg is famed mostly for its baroque palace and park ensemble, begun in 1718 as the summer palace for the family of Russian tsar Peter I. In February 2006 the Estonian Art Museum opened in Kadriorg. Kumu is the first purpose-built museum in Estonia – KUMU – where both classical and contemporary Estonian art are displayed and exhibitions on international contemporary art are held.
Peter I began building the palace in 1718, and it was called Ekaterinenthal, or Catherinenthal, in honour of Catherine.
The architect of the temporary summer residence palace and park was the Italian Niccolo Michetti, who was later involved with the famous Peterhof Palace. It is said that the tsar himself laid the first foundation stones for the palace.
In the 1930s, Kadriorg Palace became a residence for the head of state. On the same level as the palace, across the back flower garden, lies the president’s office building, built a few years before World War II, which today serves as the residence of the President of the Republic of Estonia.
Pirita, located 5-7 kilometers from Tallinn's city centre, borrowed its name from the Order of St. Bridget's Virgin Mary Cloisters. In the early 20th century, the seaside town of Pirita began to develop into a destination for Sunday rides and a bathing area.
Today Pirita is one of the favourite places in Tallinn for spending free time, with its bathing beaches, coastline, pine-forested parks, and picturesque Pirita River valley. The whole area offers a spectrum of possibilities for active holidays. Tallinn's Botanical Garden has lands on either side of the Pirita River, near the Forest Cemetery and Tallinn's TV Tower, where you can achieve a view from 170 meters high, over the city and its surroundings.
Sitting at the western edge of the city, Rocca al Mare is best known as the site of the sprawling Estonian Open Air Museum, where 19th-century village life is recreated. But the area also holds some other interesting attractions like the Tallinn Zoo, and the FK Keskus recreation center.