The world is ever-changing. Life from the time of our ancestors is much different from that of today.
History has been made but many mysteries are yet to unfold. We often look to the past to learn but seldom do we wonder about how the past has looked unto us—the future generation.
History is a great and important part of the world. It tells of the life once lived but also affects the life of the ones we have today. View the world differently, make a change, and leave a mark that lasts a lifetime through simple deeds like taking photographs of the places you’ve been to with people you love. Start by traveling to Estonia in the company of your loved ones and discovering its beauty.
Found between Latvia and Russia, Estonia lies along the Baltic Sea. Its history dates back to the Pulli settlement, said to inhabit the area over 11, 000 years ago at the end of the Ice Age. The country has also suffered many invasions against nearby nations but has eventually regained sovereignty over their land. Now it’s known as the world’s greenest country and one of the fastest growing states in economy and tourism.
Explore and discover the capital city of Tallinn. Once known as Reval, the metropolis’s name is said to originate from the word Taani-linn meaning Danish Castle. Its Old Town is home to one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites.
Path to History
Living proof of medieval life is Tallinn’s Old Town, one of the most visited attractions in Estonia. Developed by the merchants of the Hanseatic League from the 13th century to the 16th century, the town up until now has preserved its beauty and charm from the intricately structured churches to the antiquated edifices and domestic residences.
Traverse the winding road and see the area’s famous landmarks. Visit Toompea Castle, its myth continues to capture the interest of travelers. According to the locals the stronghold was built piece by piece by the Linda, a mythological character whose name was also used in many of Estonia’s historical sites. Initially invaded by the Danish crusaders, the interior consists of several dormitories for knights, a chapel, a public park, and a palace wing designed with a combination of Baroque and Neoclassical styles.
Another castle worth seeing is the Kadriorg Palace built by order of Peter the Great in honour of Catherine I of Russia. Affectionately known as Catherine’s valley, the building’s first foundation was laid in the year 1718. At present, the structure houses the Kadriorg Art Museum showcasing a variety of art pieces between the 16th to 20th centuries. Visitors of the palace can also enjoy the views offered by facades adjacent to it—like the Kadriorg Park and the Russalka Memorial.
History enthusiasts would enjoy strolling along Tallinn’s city limits. See the different walls constructed to protect the town—from the Margaret Wall to the various tower passages. Deeper into the municipal, find the Gothic styled Tallinn Town Hall with its most distinct feature being tower which holds the weathervane created in the image of Old Thomas. Adjacent to the Town Hall is the Town Square where a plethora of shops, diners, and events can be found. It’s best seen during the yuletide season for its annual Christmas market.
A Leap of Faith
Because the country is religious, its churches have become popular tourist attractions too. Among the most popular are St. Catherine’s Monastery and St. Olaf’s Church.
Initially built as a Roman Catholic Church, St. Olaf’s Church eventually became a part of the Evangelical Luthern Church during the Reformation. An interesting feat to the structure is that it has been hit by lightning ten times during the span of its existence. While St. Catherine’s Dominican Monastery has been destroyed since its construction, the area still remains to be one of the most visited areas because it is nearby St. Catherine’s Passage.
For a short break from walking, take some time off to eat at the restaurants and explore medieval shops along the passage connecting Vene Street and Müürivahe Street. Interesting on its own, the route holds several workshops of the St. Catherine’s Guild where tourists can not only buy souvenir items but also get to see how they are made.
Mark of Antiquity
View more of what Estonia has to offer by visiting the Ivangorod Castle located at the border of Russia and Estonia. Best viewed from the embankment in the Narva River, the fortress houses a museum exhibiting its history from the Northern and Livonian War. Paintings by Ivan Bilibin and Alexandra Pototskaya as well as other artefacts once used during the medieval times are also on display.
In the town of Rakvere one can see the Tarvas Statue, a sculptured image of an ancient auroch. The statue consists of two parts—the bronze auroch and the granite block engraved with the names and companies who helped establish it. Found at the edge of Vallimägi Hill, the model is considered as the largest auroch statue in the whole of Northern Europe.
Taking the Shot
Photos are meant to be perfect, so they say. But I believe that photos are meant to be real; no scripts, no plans, and definitely no alterations. Capturing moments become more priceless when they’re unplanned. Even more when they are with the people you love. Do the things that leave a lasting impression on the world for future generations to see. Start by learning history and move pass into making one of your own in Estonia.