The eastern side of Toompea hill, the one which faces the old town, boasts with old aristocratic houses from the late 19th century. Many of them are used by national organisations and embassies, others got back into private property afther the fall of communism and Estonia's independence. One of them is the Hall of Knighthood (Kiriku Plats 1) which served several purposes. It was used by the Teutonic Knights until they lost their privileges in 1920. Afterwards, it became the ministry of foreign affairs, the estonian national library and an art museum. The neorenaissance building from 1848 now houses the academy of art.
Another is Stackelberg's house (Kirkiku 6) from the 17th century which does not look really spectacular on the first sight. Inside however, it has one of the most splendid halls of the city which is usually not open for the public. The house got its name from the wealthy family which moved in in 1811 and altered the house to their taste. A remarkable feature of this house is the fact that it has no real fundament. Its basement is located on top of the bare granite rock of Toompea Hill. Stackelberg's House (or Employer's House) is used by the Central Union of estonian employers. The Stackelberg family also had a larger mansion from 1875 which is just a short walk away at Toompuiestee, close to Pikk Hermann. That house was turned into a hotel where the former stables house the conference rooms now.
Other than the landmarks with obvious Russian associations (for example, the Alexander Nevsky cathedral, Russalka Monument, KGB headquarters and the Soviet obelisk), the Estonians have done an effective job of erasing physical evidence of their occupied past.
Yet if you look upwards, you can occasionally find the telltale signs of the Old Order, such as the red star in this photo ...
Maybe a good game to keep children or teenagers whose enthusiasm is flagging gainfully occupied?
If you like collecting architectural details, the doors of the houses in the old town are really worth a closer look. They are all different in shape, style and colour. Gothic pointed arches, baroque curves, neoclassical and historistic ornaments change with plain functional doors. Some are well maintained, some crooked, others cry for fresh paint. Keep your eyes open.
My little collection is not systematic at all. These are random snapshots taken during a walk through two or three streets. There are many many more...
Some of them are shown in this travelogue.
There are a couple of these dragons on Tallinn's City Hall. They are called water spitters. A gutter behind the wall channels rainwater from the roof to this monster. When it rains - watch out below!
NOTE: It tends to rain a lot in Estonia.
The Town Hall facade has two dragonheads-gargoyles, the green-colored dragons are very eye-catching and stands out from the rest of the Town Hall. These dragon heads were added in 1627, more than 200 years after the Town Hall was completed.
I think the crowns on the heads of the dragons are amusing, on closeer look, it seems there is a bell hanging on the upper lip of each dragon.
While walking in the old city you can see some art-nouveau style buildings, but not so many as in Riga. This Dragon Gallery building whose architect is J.Rosenbaum is very interesting with dragon and women figures, also with decorative elements. Most of this architect’s works considering to be the art-nouveau style. Another one with cat on the roof you can also find in Old city.
For the first time you can only guess what is this :) In the one corner of town hall square you can find cobblestones which form letter L. The story dates back to the beginning of 17th century when one priest went to the inn and ordered omelet. The waitress brought him very hard and not chewable thing. After seeing this, priest send it back and ordered better ones, but next others were even worst. He got angry and killed waitress with an axe. Seeing such crime the priest was transported away and beheaded. As evidence on the square was made such spot.
Though Tallinn is renowned as a well preserved mediaeval city, not all construction stopped 600 years ago. This view in the Upper Town shows a baroque church spire against one of the mediaeval towers of the city wall with a neoclassical 19th century building in the foreground.
Nearly two thirds of Tallinn's Medieval Residental Houses have been preserved, with more or less rebuilding. They can be found all over the Old Town.
I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the blue sky suddenly! So, yes! All these pictures were taken on the same day - unbelieveable eh?
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