A short distance outside the city centre is Kadriorg Park, the former palace gardens of Peter the Great. These parks form an immaculately kept formal gardens, containing a number of impressive buildings and museums, along with a large area of woodland that is ideal for wandering around. The two most stunning buildings are the Baroque Kadriorg Palace, looking like a piece of Italy transported to northern Europe, and the KUMU art museum, the building equally as fantastic a piece of art as the works it contains.
Kadriorg palace and the gardens were built by Peter the Great for his wife, Catherine, and that's what Kadriorg means: Catherine's Valley. The palace itself was meant for Catherine alone, Peter lived in a less fancy building nearby.
Make sure to start your trip around the park with a pastry at the Park Cafe near the ornamental lake to boost your energy levels.
If that's your kind of thing, you should approach Kadriorg Palace by walking along Narva Mantee and look into the side streets, especially close to the palace on the right hand side. you will find wooden houses, most of them late 19th or early 20th century. Time and the Soviet rule gave them in hard time and the beautiful houses are in different state. some of them have been well refurbished for the 21st century. Others are in different state of decay, but still worth of admiration for their carvings, the rusty iron fences and may other interesting details. One of the most interesting ones is at the corner of Koidula and Poska streets, at the edge of Kadriorg Park.
Kadriorg Park, one of the largest and best known parks in Tallinn is a culural center of the city. Two splenid palaces, one of which houses a museum, and a large museum of art can be found here. Beside that, Kadriorg Park has all a city park has to offer and is popular with all people looking for some time to relax. Espeically in summmertime, people coming together for picnics or barbeque are a common sight. However, I noticed that the grass was quite high so that it was not everywhere really comfortable. It looks like the gardening service is only limited to the English garden of Kadriorg Palace…
The presidential palace was built in 1938 - until then, Kadriorg Palace downhill was the official seat of the president. Looking from outside, the palace is not as splendous as Kadriorg Palace, but still nice looking. The palace is loacated in the east of Kadriorg Park between Kadriorg Palace and Kumu.
The Palace at Kadriorg was built as a summer residence for Tsar Peter I. and his wife Catherine I. in 1718 and was called "Catharinenthal". But it wasn't until a reconstruction in 1827 when the palace got its present shape. It became an art museum during Estonia's first period of independence and after 1929, it was used as the office of the Estonian presiendent. One of the former library rooms is still preserved in the state of the 1930s with a beautiful wooden panel work. During Soviet rule, the palace fell into disrepair and it wasn't after Estonia regained independence that it was refurbished again. After renovation, the palace was reopened in 2000.
Kadriorg Palace houses an art collection and is often home to temporary exhibitions. Classic art lovers will enjoy walking through all the three floors with paintings from different centuries, including 17th century Dutch masters, Ilya Repin and portrait paintings of the Russian Royal family. Actually, it is actuially a branch auf the nearby Kumu (Estonian art museum). One of the temporary exhibitions I saw was about chess games, including an example of Soviet propaganda (evil white tsarists agains the hard-working red communists). Furniture from the tsar's time can be seen in some rooms and information about the different rooms is available in Estonian, Finnish, English and Russian. There is also a nice little café in the ground floor as well. You should plan around 1 to 1 1/2 hours to see all of the palace, take or add a little depending on your interest on art.
Czar Peter the Great was not a man known for his modest, self effacing nature, so his understated cottage in lovely Kadriorg Park comes as a complete surprise. In fact, it is so understated that we walked right past whilst looking for it - it's tiny!
He built the cottage in the early 1700s whilst he was waiting for the main palace to be completed. Personally I prefer the cottage to his Baroque confection of the palace (but my aversion to Baroque is already well documented elsewhere on this site)!
We visited Tallinn the week before Christmas, and left the day before Winter Solstice, when winter days were at their shortest. As a result, we had only about six hours of proper daylight, which lent a special atmosphere to this most atmospheric of cities.
We visited the KUMU museum later afternoon, and walked back through Kadriorg park towards the Old Town in the dark. Walking hand in hand with crisp, pristine snow underfoot and fairylights on the buildings, it was ridiculously romantic, and as two 'runaway' parents on a child-free long weekend - courtesy of my sister, who was babysitting as our early Christmas present - it was a heady experience!
I have no doubt that Kadriorg is equally romantic during the long summer evenings, and indeed, would be lovely in spring and autumn - maybe just not quite as beautiful in the soggy spring thaw. Whatever season, if this doesn't get your romantic sap rising, there's something wrong with you!
For Russian-speakers that are getting married, the Russalka monument is somewhat of a place of pilgrimage. It is traditional for Russian couples to lay flowers here on their wedding day, something that I witnessed a couple doing when I visited. The statue itself depicts an angel pointing out towards the Baltic Sea and is a memorial to the 177 men who drowned in the loss of the Russalka vessel in 1893. Just a short walk beyond the monument, there is a nice sandy beach (probably not as nice as Pirita beach just up the coast) where you can dip your toes in the Baltic or sunbathe on a nice sunny day.
Situated in the suburb of Kadriorg in the shadow of the beautiful baroque-style Kadriorg Palace, you will find a small wooden cottage that was the former holiday home of the notorious Russian Tsar Peter the Great. He spent time here during visits to Tallinn at the beginning of the 18th century and the house is now a museum. You can browse some of the Tzar's possessions including an authentic bed used by Catherine I of Russia. The museum only consists of 3 small rooms and can be explored in around 10 minutes. It is open Weds-Sun from 10am till 5pm and is free to enter with the Tallinn Card.
I guess for Estonians this is the Pink House, the place of residence of their national president. It fits in well with, is built adjacent too, and is easily confused with, Peter the Great's Kadriorg Palace. But this building was constructed in a different era, for different reasons.
The president's residence was built in 1937, right at the end of Estonia's first period of independence, and just a couple of years before the Soviets invaded and the country was lost behind the Iron Curtain for half a century.
Today it has returned to its original function: home to a democratic president of a free country.
Tallinn has many attractions.
It's a pitty that I can't tell you more because I have been so short in Tallinn.
For sure I will be there again.
To get an impression about the possibilities I can recommend you the named page.
Kadriorg is arguably Tallinn's most famous attraction outside the Old City walls.
Built by (or rather, for) Russian tsar Peter the Great after he conquered Estonia in 1711 (and dedicated to his companion, future Empress Catherine), the Kadriorg Palace now houses the Foreign Art Museum. Inside, your attention is torn between the baroque decorations and the actual exhibitions. Keep in mind the museum is closed on Mondays.
Kadriog Palace is the centerpiece of a vast park filled with trees, old houses (some of which have smaller-scale museums, which we didn't visit because it was such a beautiful day) and a "swan pond" that takes you back to the days when Tallinn was a popular seaside resort for the Russian aristocracy.
Kadriorg is a district of Tallinn where Peter the great of Russia built a palace in the 18th century for his wife Catherine the first after the end of the Great Northern War. The palace houses part of the Estonia Art Museum and is in a beautiful park with makes a pleasant place to wander around. If you walk through the park to the left of the palace you will see a monument at the end of the path. It is to the Rusalka, a ship that sank in September 1893. Just beyond that is the sea where you can see ferries making their way out of the bay. You can walk along Pirita Tee and admire the view. To the right of the palace there are some museums including the Mikkel Museum and the Peter the Great House Museum and further up the road is KUMU the main branch of the Estonian Art Museum.
Further afield you can visit Kadriorg the former palace of the Russian Tsar, now an art gallery set in stunning grounds.
As our hotel was equidistant between the old town and Kadriorg, we walked here on our last morning in Tallinn. We did not have time to visit the art gallery as we had to catch the boat to Helsinki early that afternoon, but we strolled through the beautiful grounds and admired the palace building from the outside.
Definitely worth a visit.
For someone so famous, and named with so much grandeur, Peter the Great (Peter I) gave himself some very modest accommodation in Kadriorg Park. Unlike the great pink Baroque home he gave to his wife Catherine, he kept himself in a tiny, one floor home on the edge of the park.
To get an idea of history of this Russian tsar, and his role in the creation of Kadriorg, you can visit his museum inside the small cottage.
The KUMU art collection is housed in the magnificent KUMU Art Museum, a piece of architecture worthy of being on show inside itself. The building might have been designed by a Finn, but everything inside the museum is largely Estonian, covering everything from the masters to modern art, with some fascinating communist artwork and propaganda in between.
As usual my favourites were the Soviet propaganda, but I also liked the contemporary Estonian art collection in State of Affairs. I was less impressed with the scrawlings of the American/British partnership of McCarthy/Weissman. Less artistic, but no less impressive, is the fantastic view of Tallinn from the top floor.