Tallinn, Estonia’s capital and its largest city, was under Soviet rule until its collapse. Tallinn sits on the banks of the Baltic Sea and is now a major thoroughfare for cruise ships and ferries, and has become a great place for tourism too. As the cruise ships dock, the passengers can come into the city and visit some of the many palaces, churches, museums and towers that Tallinn has to offer.  

The palaces are vast and their history ranges from medieval times to the early 20th century. The most famous of these Tallinn castles is the Toompea Castle. This castle was built in stages from the medieval times up through the 20th century. It is believed that there was a wooden fortress on its grounds in the 9th century that was conquered in 1219 by the Danes. After that and until 1710, the castle was occupied by foreign rulers and royalty. In 1710, the castle was taken over by Russian Tsars, and Catherine the Great ordered an addition to the building to house the Estonian Administration. This building was completed in 1773 and still stands as part of the complex today. Building at the complex continued until the early 1900s.

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Why visit Tallinn ?

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A great place for tourism

Many palaces, churches, museums and towers that Tallinn has to offer

Near Toompea is the Alexander Nevski Cathedral, which is hard to miss because it towers over the city. The cathedral is named for Nevski, who attacked Estonia in the early 13th century. It is a beautiful Russian Orthodox Church and should not be passed by on your tour of Toompea. If you enjoy visiting churches, another church you must see is the Dominican Monastery. The monastery hosts events in the courtyard, including concerts and tours of the monastery itself.  

Museums are practically everywhere in Tallinn. There seems to be a museum for absolutely everything there. If you love classic art, though, you might be disappointed as Tallinn’s art museums appear to cater for the fresher and newer crowd of artists. But if you like history then you will love visiting the museums of Tallinn. Some of the museums include the Estonian History Museum; the Ruins of Convent of St. Bridget, the Lembit Submarine Museum, the Open-Air Museum, the Estonian Fire Fighting Museum, a bank museum, an architecture museum, a photography museum and even a health care museum. If you want to see at least half of the museums in Tallinn, your ship should be docked for at least a month!  

The Tallinn Towers are an interesting piece of history. Under Danish rule in the early 1200s, a wall was built around the city and 66 towers were included in the protective barrier. Nineteen of these towers are still standing today around Tallinn. A great day trip would be to rent a couple of bicycles and see how many you can find. Some towers are even occupied by restaurants and shops.  

A further activity would be to head over to the Pirita yachting complex and visit the site of the sailing competitions at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

Photo copyright: ©Rasmus Jurkatam
Photo credit: https://www.visitestonia.com

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