Located just a ferry ride from Finland and an even longer ferry ride from Russia is Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia.
One of the most noticeable things about Tallinn was the contrasting dichotomy of old and new. The city was part of the Russian Empire before World War I and since then, it has retained an eastern Slavic culture and look.
Tallinn has its own homegrown, authentic look. Its old world prevalence sets the city apart from many of the other nearby locations. Beautifully maintained, medieval-style buildings throughout the city are open to the public.
The most striking building is the Alexander Nevesky church, an authentic, Russian-style church that was built by the Tsar while Estonia was still part of the empire. Its striking pearl white columns capped with black roofs and spires are truly captivating.
There is also fantastic authentic Russian food offered there, including Russian dumplings and the famous and electable caviar, which can be enjoyed by foodie rookies and epicures alike. The Raekoja Plats (Old Town Square) also offers a multiplicity of cuisines to try, including native Estonian food.
Surrounding the city are lush forests with fantastic opportunities for hiking and outdoor activities, as well as the captivating Valaste waterfall, one of the most impressive landmarks in Eastern Europe. The most striking and unique natural features of Estonia are these waterfalls during the winter. Due to frigid temperatures, the waterfalls completely freeze in place. It’s truly a unique experience and a sight for the public to behold.
Recently, Estonia has been developing a rich trade with European countries due to its prime location on the Baltic Sea. This influx in commerce has given the country a sophisticated culture evocative of its Nordic neighbors, Sweden and Finland, something not typically attributed to Eastern European countries. In short, it’s worth a trip if the mood strikes you to go off the beaten path for a day or two.
words_alex preufer. photo_alex preufer.