Early in the morning of June 5, the ship entered the Gulf of Finland and sailed into the port of Tallinn, Estonia. For a change, we actually arrived 90 minutes early. Estonia and Finland are separated by the Gulf of Finland. The cities of Tallinn and Helsinki are only 50 miles apart.
Tallinn is the capital and most populous city in Estonia with a population of 454,000. It is 200 miles west of St Petersburg, Russia. Unlike Stockholm, Copenhagen or other metropolitan cities in Europe, Tallinn has an old, medieval feel that was a nice change.
Tallinn’s Old Town is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe, but it also has the highest number of startup companies per person among all the capitals and larger cities in Europe. It is the birthplace of many international high technology companies such as Skype.
The first archaeological traces of a small hunter-fisherman village here was from 5,000 years ago. It was part of the kingdom of Denmark in the 13th century. In 1285 it became part of the German alliance cities and was fortified with city walls and 66 defense towers. In 1561 it became part of Sweden. During WW1 and WW2 it was occupied by Germany but after extensive bombing it became part of the Soviet Union. In 1991 it received its independence from the Soviet Union.
We took the ship’s shuttle to the city center. Once again the ship charged 10 euros per person for something I think they should provide free of charge to their guests.
We decided to explore on our own rather than taking a Hop On Hop Off Bus. Tallinn was an interesting, beautiful city. We can usually judge how much we liked a city by the number of pictures we have to sort through when doing the blog. We had lots of pictures for Tallinn.
Tallinn’s Old Town is an intact medieval 13th century town dating back to the Middle Ages, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The cobblestone streets are very hilly and there are lots and lots of steps.
We were able to enter the St Olav Church, built in the 12th century and then rebuilt in the 14th century. It is named for King Olaf II who was king of Norway from 1015-1028, also known as Saint Olaf.
The Alexander Nevaky Cathedral was our favorite church and Bill took a great picture of the outside.
It was built to honor Russian soldiers who died during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877. It was built between 1894-1900 when Estonia was part of the Russian Empire.
We walked to the top of a hill with a fantastic view of Tallinn.
The Town Hall is the oldest town hall in the whole Baltic Sea region and Scandinavia.
Tallinn also has the oldest pharmacy in the world, opening in 1422. It is still a pharmacy today.
When the bus got back to the entrance of the port, a guard got on board and we all had to show him our ship identification card. We have not had that happen at any other port this summer. Usually security just checks us at the port gate as we walk back to the ship.
By the way, all the plastic drink bottles throughout Europe and the United Kingdom have an attached cap that doesn’t come off. Think how many billions of caps, separated from their bottle, are littering the planet. Wonder why this hasn’t caught on in our part of the world??
Next up: The last port of our last cruise, Helsinki, Finland