The capital and former Hanseatic city of Tallinn, which was European Capital of Culture in 2011, is rich in historically and architecturally interesting buildings. The town hall (14th-15th centuries) in the Gothic Old Town is the oldest in Northern Europe. The old city walls with their 26 towers have been almost completely preserved. Toompea Cathedral and Toompea Castle stand on Toompea Hill, which drops steeply down to the sea, and offers a magnificent view of the narrow streets and winding alleys, the gables and towers of the historic old town. The Cathedral of the Virgin Maryfrom the 13th century is one of the oldest churches in Estonia. Over the centuries, parts of the church have been repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt or modified. The Gothic façade dates from the 14th century, but the interior was completely destroyed in a devastating fire in 1684. The restoration work was only completed in the 18th century.
- Searchforpublicschools: Offers schooling information of Estonia in each level – compulsory, technical and higher education programs.
The Kadriorg Palace and Park is a beautiful Baroque palace designed by the Italian master architect Nicolo Michetti on the orders of Peter the Great in 1718. The Museum of Foreign Art is also located here. The palace is surrounded by one of the most beautiful parks in Tallinn and is a popular tourist destination. The Dominican Monastery was founded in 1246 and is the oldest existing monastery in all of Estonia. The walls are adorned with beautiful stone carvings from the 15th and 16th centuries. Also worth seeing is the botanical garden, where you can admire over 8000 different plants. There are also several greenhouses with tropical and subtropical plants and flowers.
The many museums in the city are great places to while away the time. Those interested in the country’s history should go to the Estonian History Museum at Pikk 17 (Long Street). The Museum of Decorative Arts and the Maritime and Maritime Museum are also worth a visit. You can see old masters in the Nikolaikircheadmire in the Nigulistestrasse. Slightly more macabre is the Museum of Firefighting, which features melted telephones, wrecked televisions, and grisly images of burned corpses as well as firefighting materials from across the centuries – from medieval leather water buckets to cosmonaut-like Soviet-era firefighter gear.
In Pirita, a suburb of Tallinn, are the ruins of the medieval St. Bridget’s Monastery. This monastery was founded in 1407 and once housed monks and nuns in one building. There is also a sailing center in Pirita, which was opened for the 1980 Olympics. About a two-hour drive from Tallinn is Pärnu, a small town on the river of the same name, which flows into the Bay of Riga there. This picturesque old town (13th century) is known as a port and spa at the same time. The interesting theater and the approx. 3 km long, beautiful sandy beach are worth seeing.
Tartu is the second largest city in Estonia and is located about 177 km
from Tallinn on the Emajõgi. A visit to this city, the
oldest in Estonia, should be on every itinerary. The old
university with the botanical garden, the cathedral (13th to
15th centuries) and the town hall (18th century) are particularly recommended. Tartus
University was founded in 1632 when the Swedish King Gustav Adolf
II decided that Tartu (then called Dorpat) was the ideal location
for the second university of the Swedish Empire. In the
centuries that followed, the history of the university continued in a similarly
turbulent manner, depending on the nationality of Estonia’s foreign occupations
the languages of instruction changed from German to Russian, then back
to Estonian. The history of the university is documented in the university history museum.
Nice souvenirs are amber and arts and crafts of all kinds. Shop opening times: Mon-Fri 9am/10am-6pm/7pm (department stores until 8pm/9pm), Sat 10am-4pm.
Tallinn offers a wide range of restaurants, cafes and bars. Operas and ballets are also staged in the theatre.
A lot of meat, poultry and sausages are eaten in Estonia. National dishes are Sult (veal in aspic), Taidetud Basikarind (stuffed roast veal) and Rossolye (pickled herring with turnips).
Outside of Tallinn there is also a fairly good selection of larger hotels and smaller guesthouses. Information from the Baltic Information and Tourism Bureau (see addresses) and from the Estonian Hotel and Restaurant Association, Kiriku 6, EE-10130 Tallinn. Tel: (06) 41 14 28. (Internet: www.ehrl.ee). Hotel Classification: Hotels are classified into the Hotelstars Union star categories from one to five stars.
There are over 80 camps available, two of them on the Tallinn – Pärnu highway (Camping and Motel Peoleo, 12 km from Tallinn, and Camping Kernu, 40 km from Tallinn). In Pärnu itself there is a campsite at Motel Valgerrand. You can also pitch your tent in Malveste on the island of Hiiumaa. Although the standard of the courses has improved, it does not yet correspond to western standards.
Other accommodation options
There are youth hostels in Tallinn, Vösu, on the Baltic Sea and in the regions of Virumaa (70 km from Tallinn), Harjumaa (20 km from Tallinn), Läänemaa (50 km west of Pärnu) and in the Valga region in southern Estonia. Almost all youth hostels have saunas and seminar rooms. More information from Estonian Youth Hostel Association,Narva mnt. 16 – 25, EE-10120 Tallinn. Tel: (06) 46 14 55. (Web: www.balticbookings.com/eyha/)
Mostly religionless; 26% Evangelical Lutheran and Russian Orthodox; Catholic, Muslim and Jewish minorities.
Social Rules of Conduct
Manners: When greeting someone shakes hands. Estonians are very proud of their culture and history, which visitors should respect. Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in restaurants. However, hospitality establishments can have smoking areas that are closed off by walls and doors and equipped with air extraction facilities. Tipping: A tip of 10% is customary in the restaurant if you are satisfied.
Best travel time
Maritime to moderate continental climate. Warm summers. Spring and autumn are relatively mild. Cold, long winters (November to mid-March) with heavy snowfalls. Precipitation all year round, in August the amount of precipitation is highest. The best travel time is from May to September.
Area (sq km)
1,326,535 (Source: homosociety)
Population density (per square km)
Population statistics year
Member of the EU
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