This morning your Tallinn guide will meet you at the pier. First you will be transferred to the Old Town for a walking tour. The Upper Old City, or Toompea Hill, is the oldest part of Tallinn, inhabited since pre-history. Note the defensive wall and towers ringing the old city, which are the town’s most striking feature. Unlike Vilnius and Riga whose walls were destroyed, eighty percent of the original wall around Tallinn in the 1500’s is still intact today. In addition to having Tallinn’s oldest buildings, the upper old town has good viewing platforms to view the entire old town. Toompea Castle is one of Estonia’s most treasured landmarks, built by Danes and Germans after they defeated the Estonians in the early 1200’s. The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is an Orthodox church built in 1900 in the Moscow style of the 17th century. This church is topped with 11 bells, including the largest (15 tons) in all of Estonia.
Also on Toompea Hill, you may make a brief stop at the Cathedral of St. Mary, also called the Dome Cathedral. Originally built by the Danes in the 13th century, it is the oldest church in Tallinn and the only building in Toompea which survived a 17th-century fire; most of the furniture inside dates to the 17th and 18th centuries. The altar, chandeliers, and the numerous coats-of-arms are from the 17th to 20th centuries.
At the foot of the hill, you will see the St. Nicholas Church, which was originally built in the 13th century by German merchants and dedicated to the patron saint of sailors and merchants. It was partially destroyed when the Soviet air force bombed the city in World War II. After extensive restorations it is now used as an art museum and concert hall.
If you are interested, step into the museum in the imposing Great Guild Hall. The building itself was built in the early 15th century and housed Tallinn’s merchant guild. The permanent exhibition “Spirit of Survival” offers an insight into Estonian History.
In the afternoon you have a choice of visiting the beautiful Kadriorg Park and the KUMU art museum. The cutting-edge facility was built into a limestone cliff in Kadriorg. The museum houses works from Estonian artists dating from the 18th century through the end of World War II, as well as a permanent exhibition of Estonian contemporary art dating from 1945 to 1991. This last collection, located on the third floor, portrays the interesting relationship that existed between the art in Estonia and the Soviet State. Please note that KUMU is closed on Mondays.