Kapoors Year 7: Europe/Ecuador/Peru travel blog

The Striking Estonian Flag Flutters Near The Ferry Terminal In Tallinn

We Arrived Early Enough To Be Able To Walk Into The Old...

There Is Such An Incredible Variety Of Turrets And Towers Here, Unforgettable

At One Time The Tower Was Even Higher, And Was The Tallest...

I Loved The Contrasting Shapes Of These Two Towers

The Modern Freedom Monument Looks Dramatic Against The Evening Sky

The Following Day The Owner Of Our Apartment Took Us Out Of...

Later He Took Us To The Small Cabin That He Uses As...

It Was Too Cold For The Beach, But Donna Just Had To...

Despite Cooler, Wet Weather We Set Off On A Self-Guided Walking Tour...

We Just Happened Upon A Service At The Orthodox Church

Souvenirs Were Plentiful There, Amber Jewellery Fills Many A Shop Window

Donna Was More Interested I Some Of The Local Estonian Products, Sold...

After Exploring The Small Lanes In The Upper Level Of The Old...

It's Easy To Imagine You're In A Medieval Town When There Is...

The Hundreds Of Buildings Are Very Interesting, No Two Are Alike

This Bright Red Door Cheers Up An Otherwise Dull-Sky Day

We Went To A High-End Restaurant For Thanksgiving, Great Low-End Prices For...

What A Change From The Exorbitant Prices For Dining In The Nordic...

We Enjoyed Our Meals To The Fullest, Thinking About The Fact That...

Anil Had Venison, I Had Veal And Donna Had 'Over-Cooked' Fish, Clearly...

After Dinner Donna Felt So Happy That She Had A Dance With...

We Carried On With The Self-Guided Walking Tour In Order To Burn...

The Tour Directed Us Out Through A Gate So That We Could...

There Are Only 26 Of The Original 45 Towers Still Standing, These...

A Little Further Along, We Came Upon 'Fat Margaret', The Broadest Tower...

The Headquarters Of The KGB During The Soviet Era, The Basement Windows...

We Stopped Into This Shop To Admire The Hand Knit Items For...

But Even More Unusual Was The Fact That Someone Knitted 'Socks And...

Here's A Better Look, My Friend Linda Will Love This Photo For...

One Of The Most Famous Buildings In Tallinn Is The Blackheads Guild...

It's Not Named For Their Acne, But For The African General In...

We Saved Our Visit To The Town Square For Late In The...

And So It Was, We Were Almost Alone, In The Summer Six...

The Town Hall Looks Like Yet Another Church, Sitting At The Edge...

I Really Don't Want To Know About The History Of This Neck...

Much More Interesting, And Amusing Is The Decorative Rain Spouts Below The...

A Green Dragon Wearing A Crown, What Is More Whimsical Than That?

It Had Been Raining Off And On All Afternoon, But The Clouds...

And To Our Delight, Another Rainbow, A Good Omen, No?

We Walked Through Atmospheric Streets And Then This Lane, Katherine's Walk

One Mustn't Forget To Look Up In The Narrow Lanes, There's Usually...

Katherine's Walk Emptied Out Onto This Street Running Inside The Old Town's...

And To The Right, Stalls With Women Selling Hand-Knit Warm Woollen Hats,...

The Viru Gates Reminded Me Of European Figurines

The Day Was Done, We Were Done Too, We Walked Back To...

On Our Last Day In Tallinn, We Walked The 4km To The...

It Was Dull And Chilly, What Better Place To Hang Out For...

The Old Hangar's Side Doors Were Closed Tight, But We Learned They...

True To The Museum's Name, There Is A Beautiful Seaplane Suspended From...

But It Was The British-Built Submarine That Was The Most Fascinating Artifact...

I Tried Taking Photos Inside, Of The Torpedo Bays, Captain's Quarters And...

Here's Anil Climbing Through One Of The Water-Proof Doors, Thankfully There Was...

The Freedom Monument Looks So Much Better Lit Up At Night

And Even Better When It's Reflected In The Rain Slicked Square, Goodbye...


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BACKGROUND

In the interest of expediency, here are some excerpts from the Lonely Planet Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania chapter on Estonia:

If you’re labouring under the misconception that ‘former Soviet’ means dull and grey and that all tourist traps are soulless, Tallinn will delight in proving you wrong. This city has charm by the bucket load, fusing the modern and medieval to come up with a vibrant vibe all of its own. It’s an intoxicating mix of ancient church spires, glass skyscrapers, baroque palaces, appealing eateries, brooding battlements, shiny shopping malls, run-down wooden houses, and cafes set on sunny squares – with a few Soviet throw- backs in the mix, for added spice.

Despite the boom of 21st-century development, Tallinn remains loyal to the fairy-tale charms of its two-tiered Old Town – one of Europe’s most beguiling walled cities.

The site of Tallinn is thought to have been settled by Finno-Ugric people around 2500 BC. There was probably an Estonian trading settlement here from around the 9th century AD and a wooden stronghold was built on Toompea (tawm-pe-ah; the hill dominating Tallinn) in the 11th century.

German traders arrived from Visby on the Baltic island of Gotland and founded a colony of about 200 people beneath the fortress. In 1285 it joined the German-dominated Hanseatic League as a channel for trade between Russia and the West. Furs, honey, leather and seal fat moved west; salt, cloth, herring and wine went east. Tallinn’s German name, Reval, coexisted with the local name until 1918.

Prosperity faded in the 16th century. The Hanseatic League had weakened, and Russians, Swedes, Danes, Poles and Lithuanians fought over the Baltic region. Tallinn survived a 29-week siege by Russia’s Ivan the Terrible between 1570 and 1571. It was held by Sweden from 1561 to 1710, when, decimated by plague, Tallinn surrendered to Russia’s Peter the Great.

In 1870 a railway was completed from St Petersburg, and Tallinn became a chief port of the Russian empire. Freed peasants converged on the city from the countryside, increasing the percentage of Estonians in its population from 52% to 89% in 1897. By WWI, Tallinn had big shipyards and a working class of over 100,000.

Tallinn suffered badly in WWII, with thousands of buildings destroyed during Soviet bombing in 1944. The 1990s saw the city transformed into a contemporary midsized city, with a restored Old Town and a modern business district. Tallinn shows a taste for all things new, extending to IT-driven business at the fore of the new economy and an e-savvy, WiFi-connected populace embracing a brighter future. Meanwhile, the outskirts of the city have yet to get the facelift that the centre has received. In those parts that few tourists see, poverty and unemployment is more evident.


KAPOORS ON THE ROAD

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