A relict of the Soviet time industrialism and the best Estonian art. A combination like that can be found only in a small village Viinistu about 60 km from Tallinn, in the North of Estonia. Jaan Manitski, an Estonian entrepreneur, former Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs and a financial advisor of pop idols of the seventies ABBA, has considered premises of a former fishermen collective-farm right enough for his impressive art collection. A production area and reservoirs are turned into exhibition halls but a separate building comprises a hotel, a business center and a restaurant. Some of modern art objects can be viewed also outside - in the yard.
His art collection features more than 300 paintings and other art works, also of Nordic neighbors, starting from the 19th century up to modern art.
Inner walls of the exhibition area are worn out, at some places crumbled off plaster expose grayish-white bricks, but inner side of reservoirs is rusty. The building seems to have experienced history of several decades. However, a 60-years-old art enthusiast, complementing his collection with pretty extravagant and original works, has managed to create a very unique ambience, inherent to this place. The museum features its regular exposition along with periodically changing exhibitions.
A fresh artistic touch with just a trace of extreme penetrates almost every nook of the complex. Interiors of the hotel, the business center and the restaurant are tastefully supplemented with paintings and sculptures, a part of the collection too. Along with self-made Estonian furniture, they contribute to amazingly authentic atmosphere of this place, with each corner having its own, individual face.
A brightly ornamented carpet reminds the best traditions of the Soviet time style and is a charming addition to the eclectic interior of the restaurant. A fireplace offers cozy warmth in winter time but in summer tables are placed outside on a terrace, too. A nearby port, just a few meters away form the restaurant, gives opportunity for slightly more extravagant appearance - arriving at the venue in a yacht or a boat. Cuisine - pretty European and prices - quite reasonable too.
The hotel is well favored by business people, as an ideal conference venue. A beach - although quite stony - is close at hand for those who want to enjoy the sun, but if it rains - one may engage in exploration of exhibition halls that can take about two hours. Dealing with business matters amidst Estonian artworks is highly inspiring as well. Advice is to make a reservation in due time.
A partly confined museum territory includes a stage for various summer events and a playground for children. Visiting of Viinstu can be combined with an excursion through few more seaside villages, located just 20 - 30 km from there. It is very much like Latvian seaside at Jūrmala, just smaller in scale and much quieter.
The entrance fee is collected only upon entering exhibition halls.
In respect for artworks, exhibited in the yard, parking is allowed a bit outside the museum territory.
Viinistu Art Museum
Opened: from 1 June to 31 August - every day from 11.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.
From 1 September to 31 May - Wednesday to Sunday - from 11.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.
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Keywords: Tallinn, museum, hotel, restaurant