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Insider's view · Europe · estonia · Tallinn

Insider: The Tallinn Collector

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Insider: The Tallinn Collector

The Tallinn Collector is a website where you can discover Tallinn like a tourist back in the USSR. The Tallinn Collector gives you a virtual tour of Tallinn, through images and texts taken from authentic Soviet tourist guide books and pamphlets. Nothing is edited - what you see on the website are all original photographs with related texts taken from guides released between 1940 and 1991.


New modern apartments in Tallinn
- H. Gustavson, Tallinn, Eesti Raamat, Tallinn, 1975

The other side of Old Town, my guide to Tallinn!

Factories, soviet chic and fascinating design. Let me, The Tallinn Collector, show you some of my favorite spots and most interesting urban areas in Tallinn.

There is still definitely a trend in Tallinn to set up art galleries, cafés, shops and events in abandoned Soviet factories. One of the first factories to open up a culture centre was Polymer which been running their activities since 2003.Polymer has been much more quiet lately in comparison with fellow factories in Tallinn, but hopefully this will change now when there is a new underground art and event venue called Ulme on Tulika Street 9/11.


"A Tallinner with style in the 90s"
- M. Mikk, Beautiful Tallinn, Perioodika Publishers, 1991

The biggest and most happening culture center is thou Telliskivi Loomelinnak located just behind the exiting train station market in the very attractive neighborhoods of Kalamaja and Pelgulinn. Telliskivi is a trendy spot in Tallinn with art studios, flea markets, second hand shops, plenty dining and drinking places. The space is huge, there are a lot of old factories which been transformed into a vibrant urban centre. For the one who totally wants to breath it in, there is a urban walk offered inside and around the industrial landscape and buildings. It's sort of a walk you can't really hear about in Tallinn, so if you are interested make sure to book a walk in advance.


A Kohvik in Tallinn
- T. Tomberg, Tallinn A Tourist Guidebook, Novosti Press Agency Publishing House, 1971/1972

Like mentioned earlier, the area Kalamaja (funny fact: meansFish House in estonian) is up to date the most preferred area by locals. With it's historic wooden-house landscape and bohemian charm, Kalamaja has been going through a breath of new life in the last couple of years meaning a lot of great new venues around. There is a lot of things to do here, everything from some serious "wooden house architecture sightseeing" to a visit at the legendary Patarei sea fortress-prison.

A great place to pass by meanwhile in Kalamaja is Kohvik Tops (Café Tops) on Soo street 15. It's kind of a artsy-local-hidden place with great atmosphere and a friendly vibe.


The memorial at Marrjamägi
- G, German, Tallinn, Eesti Raamat, Tallinn, 1978

Not far away from Kalamaja, between the passenger port and old town, you will find the great Cultural and Creative Hub - Kultuurikatel. One of the main places in the hub is the cool and creative vegetarian restaurant and bar Kanala, where you can enjoy live music and kick ass parties from time to time. Close by you also have the EKKM, Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (CAME) with mostly funky exhibitions, installation and party events. It's always good to keep an eye on this place as there is always something going on. From EKKM on Põhja pst. street 35 and Kanala on Kalasadama street 6, you are right in the heart of the so called Kultuurikilomeeter (Culture Kilometre). It's a walk with a eye-candy views over the sea, rustic Soviet houses, the Patarei Prison, Tallinn's Seaplane Harbour (Lennusadam) and the pretty houses of Kalamaja. It's a great link between Tallinns harbour, the Old Town and Kalamaja, perfect for the one who seek a free and alternative sightseeing tour.


View from Linnahall in the 1980s
- R, Pangasepp, Soviet Estonia, Eesti Raamat, Tallinn, 1985

And to end a perfect day, or afternoon, or evening, or night or might even morning... head over to the concert hall Linnahall. This architectural beast is a classic landmark in town and was during Soviet times named V. I Lenin Palace of Culture and Sports. Today the place is closed for events and almost falling apart. But still a thrilling thing to do is to grab a "vodka on the go" or a nice Estonian beer and climb up on the massive facade because from the roof you will have a great view over the city and with no doubt, a moment from Tallinn to remember. Enjoy!

Listen up! A great way to keep yourself busy with urban sightseeing in Tallinn is by using the Tallinn Design Map. It's a guide packed with cool things to do both for tourists and locals.

The Tallinn Collector, www.thetallinncollector.com

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