This morning meet your guide in the hotel lobby for a walking tour. The Upper Old City or Toompea Hill, is the oldest part of Tallinn, inhabited since pre-history. Unlike Vilnius and Riga whose walls were destroyed, eighty percent of the original wall around Tallinn in the 1500’s is still intact today. In addition to having Tallinn’s oldest buildings, the upper old town has good viewing platforms to view the entire old town.
Toompea Castle is one of Estonia’s most treasured landmarks, built by Danes and Germans after they defeated the Estonians in the early 1200’s. The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is an Orthodox church built in 1900 in the Moscow style of the 17th century.
Also on Toompea Hill, you may make a brief stop at the Cathedral of St. Mary, also called the Dome Cathedral. Originally built by the Danes in the 13th century, it is the oldest church in Tallinn and the only building in Toompea which survived a 17th century fire. Most of the furniture inside dates to the period of the 17th – 18th centuries. The altar, chandeliers, and the numerous coats-of arms are from the 17th – 20th centuries.
At the foot of the hill, you will see the St. Nicholas Church, which was originally built in the 13th century by German merchants and dedicated to the patron saint of sailors and merchants. It was partially destroyed when the Soviet air force bombed the city in World War II. After extensive restorations it is now used as an art museum and concert hall.
You will later continue just outside of the Old Town walls and to the Museum of Occupation and the Fight for Freedom. Opened in 2003, the museum chronicles three relatively recent periods of occupation in the country’s history: the first Soviet Occupation of 1940 to 1941, the German occupation from 1941 to 1944, and the second Soviet occupation from 1944 to 1991. The main exhibits feature artifacts from the three eras, a separate area housing documents and other materials for research, and a small theater showing old Communist and Nazi propaganda films.
Afterwards, meet your driver to continue to the KUMU art museum – Estonia’s largest. Opened in 2006 in an enormous, cutting-edge facility built into a limestone cliff in Kadriorg, the KUMU exhibits works from Estonian artists dating from the 18th Century through the end of World War II, as well as a permanent exhibition of Estonian contemporary art dating from 1945-1991.This last collection, located on the third floor, portrays the interesting relationship that existed between the art in Estonia and the Soviet State.