Tallinn Old Town
After we got off the plane and threw our tiredness on the roof of Swiss hotel looking at the city from the top, we started to explore the old town. After 10 minutes walk, we entered the cobbledstoned old city through the Viru gate between the two towers. Just to the left of your hiking path is an area of colorful flowers. You can go on top of these towers by paying 3 euros. As you move forward, many buildings that have survived from the 1200s to the present, evoke a medieval feeling. This unspoiled city is under UNESCO protection.
Lower Old Town
After you enter the old city, when you go on the small courtyard at the end of the first street, the medieval restaurant Olde Hansa immediately draws your attention. We could not have meal here because it was very crowded inside, but you can walk in without hesitation, you can proceed from the inside towards the gift shop. Servers are wearing local clothes, restaurant has no electricity and internet inside. That’s why we could not take a nice picture inside. If you can find a place, we strongly suggest you to taste the flavors like; mushroom soup and bear meat. This restaurant, which still uses 500 years old recipes, is one of the most attractive places to visit even if it is very touristic.
2.Town Hall Square
After about 300 meters, the old town hall is located, where markets are established and surrounded by cafes and restaurants. The name of this square is Town Hall Square and the streets on 4 sides lead to beautiful places.
When you step on the stone in the middle of the square and heighten up from the corners of the pentagon shape, you can see the 5 most famous towers of Tallinn.
In this square, which is frequented by tourists, you can sit in any cafe and watch the surroundings.
The old town hall, Tallinna Raekoda, is said to be the oldest building in Europe with its 13th century gothic architecture. The building, which has the highest ceiling toilet, has been renovated after the bombing. On top, there is a lovely statue of Old Tomas, the founder and protector of Tallinn. If you have time you can visit the inside by paying 4 euro.
On one corner of the square, there is the oldest pharmacy in Europe and it still works. Some part of it serve as museums. You can visit there between 10.00-18.00 except Sunday and see prescription samples from 1400s.
The arched passage that you see when you turn left in front of the pharmacy is Katerina passage. You can go inside and pass through the stone buildings and examine the products made by hand craftsmanship, and you can buy souvenir jewelry made of amber stone.
6.Kohvik Maiasmokk Cafe
We recommend you to visit the Kohvik Maiasmokk café, Estonia’s oldest café since 1864, located in a back street of Town Hall Square. The little figurines named marzipan made with almonds and sugar are completely handmade and there are only 3 masters who can teach the production of these products. One part of this building serves as a museum and the café section has quite appetizing desserts.
7.Rataskaevu Apartment and Ghost Room
As you move up the square towards to the old town, you will see the popular Rataskaevu 16 restaurant with local delicacies. The apartmant above this restaurant, consists of rented rooms. When you look at this apartment, the upper left room’s glass is black and different from the others. This room was assumed to be haunted and was not rented out to anyone after an incident occured in old times.
The Ghost Story
The summary of the story is as follows; In the past, a traveler in Tallinn looks for accommodation and has difficulty find any room. Lastly he comes here, he asks the owner for a room. The owner says that he has only one room left, but that this room is haunted, so it would be dangerous to stay here. The traveler insists that there are no other alternatives and the owner of the hotel let him to stay this room with one precondition. Regardless anything, he should not open the door, look out and go out until morning.
The traveler settles into the room and falls asleep but wakes up at that night with the loud sounds of music and entertainment. He can’t sleep due to the voices and he wonder about what is going on the outside of the room. On one hand, he remembers his promise but couldn’t stand it. He looks outside through the keyhole and sees a community dancing and having fun. After he satisfies his curiosity, he tries to relax. When he wakes up in the morning he goes down to see the owner of the hotel. But the owner of the hotel is not there and his son says that his father is dead. People believes breaking the promise causes this bad incident and after that, the door of the room is locked and no one enters this room.
Upper Old Town
There is also upper part of the old town, where you can capture the beautiful views of Tallinn from the courtyards here. We chose to enter the upper old city from the freedom monument.
1.Estonian Freedom Square
As we mentioned earlier that Estonia accepts the year 1920 as its establishment. The years 1918-1920, when they fought for freedom against Russia, are written on the monument in the Freedom Square. The freedom manifest reaches the Tallinn on 24th of february and this day is accepted as public holiday. It is celebrated in this square every year. Also in this square, the independence days are celebrated with different music and performances in July-August every year.
2.Kiek in de Kok Tower and Underground Museum
Kiek in de Kok tower, which has 38 meters high and, is built in 1400s, opens to many underground passages. The name of the tower comes from German means ‘peek into the kitchen’. The kitchens of the surrounding houses can be seen through the windows of this tower. Long underground tunnels were used for different purposes such as weapons depot, shelter against bombs, even the homeless people of certain periods, and then these underground passages turned into a museum. Since we wondered these passages, which were used for centuries, we directly entered the museum by paying 8 euros :).
The inside was quite great, each compartment describes a different purpose of usage. Since there is no internet inside, you can listen to the necessary narratives by downloading the mobile application of the museum before entering. As you travel through these long tunnels, you better understand the traumas experienced by the Eston people. Even nowadays, lessons on what clothes should be worn and what should be done during the nuclear attack are taught in the primary school. As, we did not experience any nuclear attack before in Turkey and we do not know any prevention method, they seemed very interesting to us.
If you have time, we recommend you to visit this museum. You may experience problems if you have clostrophobia. We don’t like indoor areas, but it didn’t bother us because the inside was about 10 degrees.
3.Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
When you leave the museum and go uphill towards Toompea Hill, on the left sie you can see the Russian Orthodox cathedral built in the early 1900s. The architecture of the cathedral, which is different from other churches, stands out immediately. Although the Eston people do not look very warmly to this cathedral, which is made of the highest quality materials, it has not yet been destroyed. You can get inside, unlike other churches do not have seats and the interior is quite flashy. Before we knew it was forbidden to take pictures, we were able to capture one :).
4.Danish Garden and Ghosts
Opposite the cathedral is the garden of the Danish king and there are statues of three executioners. It is symbolized that the Danmark flag in the garden comes from the sky, with the iron soldier and the image of the Danmark flag on it. This courtyard was built by the king of Denmark and has a special story. The three hangman who took the lives of many innocent people at old times, approached the end of their lives. They were crushed under their sins and went to the church to be forgiven. However, the people here believe that the executioners’ sins are not forgiven and their souls wander here.
5.Toompea Hill, Charming streets and view of old Tallinn city
You can take pictures of the beautiful Tallinn city by walking towards the top of Toompea and passing through different courtyards. You can then walk down the charming streets into the lower old town. In the meantime, we recommend you to dive into gift shops and explore the original handmade products.
St. Mary’s Cathedral
Built in the 1230s, this cathedral is one of the oldest and simple structures. The cathedral, formerly Catholic, is now Lutheran. You have to pay to get to the top. We didn’t climb over here because we had planned to go to the St. Olaf church. This church has the graves of some prominent Admirals and wives of the king.
St. Olaf’s Church
Built in the 16th century with gothic architecture, this church was the tallest building of its time in Europe at a height of 159 meters. You have to pay 3 euros to get to the top of this church, which is further down the old town and closer to the harbor. We wanted to get to the top for adventure but we do not recommend to those with claustrophobia :). You need to climb 238 stairs, the area is very narrow and 2 people cannot pass together in some certain places. When you climb up the hill, the observation balcony is not also large, you can only watch around in a row for 1 person. It was a different experience for us, we recommend it to those who want to move and seek adventure.
TV tower is located outside of the old city and you can go there by public transport or by car. But, according to us it is more attractive to go to the bars on the roof of Raddisson Blue or Swiss Hotel in the city and watch the similar view :).
Tallinn Open Air Museum
The open-air museum, which is outside of the old city and has to be reached by public transportation, provides details about the Eston lifestyle. Since we did not have time, we could not go, if you have the opportunity, we recommend you to go.
Tallinn Sea Side
The city of Tallinn, which is on the coast of the Baltic Sea, has beaches and port. The names of the beaches near the city are Prita and linnahal. In nice weather, locals are mostly sunbathing or cycling. When the temperature rises above 25 degrees, they enter the sea. Although there is no active beach club, Tallinn’s sea and sand are beautiful. If you visit this part of the city as the sun sets, you can catch beautiful views.