Kadriorg - Catherine's Valley - named for the wife of Peter the Great - a short tram ride from the centre of Tallinn, is a lovely seaside area of park and gracious houses. Tallinners come here in droves on summer weekends, to the acres of parkland, to visit the various museums and to join in whatever event is being staged at the huge Song Grounds, be it beer festival, rock concert or summer fair. Come in winter, as we did, and you may well have the whole park to yourself - as we certainly seemed to do.
It was Peter the Great who made Kadriorg fashionable - you can visit both the small house he lived in whilst his palace was being built and the palace itself, currently Tallinn's Museum of Foreign Art.. Also within the park you'll find the Presidential Palace ( a bigger, newer version of Peter's palace, not open to the public) and some smaller museums -notably the Mikkel Museum ( showing one man's collection of fine art that he gave to the country in 1995) and two houses devoted to the life and works of two important Estonian writers, Anton Hansen and Eduard Vilde. You may not know their work but the museums give an interesting glimpse of between-the-wars Estonian life.
Work is in progress for a huge new Art Gallery and a Russian culture museum within the park, which will make it even more of a cultural and artistic drawcard for the city.
The angel gazing out to sea on top of the tall monument that stands by the Baltic shore at Kadriorg commemorates the the sinking of the Russalka, a Russian military ship that went down in these waters in 1893. It was to be 90 years before the wreck was found, near the coast of Finland,
If you,re in Tallinn for more than a couple of days,try to get to Kadriorg and see the palace and museums in the parks there,its nice and peaceful and away from the hussle of the city.If you,re feeling fit the same day then take a walk along the seafront to Pirita, especially in the summer where there,s a sandy beach.