Master Courtyard Tallinn Old Town

Masters Courtyard Tallinn

Masters Courtyard Tallinn

This quiet courtyard in Tallinn Old Town is a little piece of the city as it was centuries ago, when people appreciated the work of craftsmen, who put their heart and soul into everything they made. You can still see the medieval architecture and enjoy the cozy atmosphere. There are different arts and crafts workshops, guest rooms for accommodation, and the famous café Chocolaterie in the yard.

AddressVene 6, Tallinn

St. Catherine's Passage in Tallinn Old Town

st-catherines-passage-in-tallinn-old-townLocals use this small alleyway when tourists pack Viru Street. It brings some extra magic to this lovely city. Take a peek at various works of art and witness their birth in open studios. Easily the most picturesque of Old Town's lanes, this half-hidden walkway runs behind what was St. Catherine's Church. It connects Vene street with the Müürivahe street where the town's famous knit market operates. What makes the passage particularly interesting is that it's home to the St. Catherine's Guild. This are craft workshops where artists use traditional methods to create and sell glassware, hats, quilts, ceramics, jewelry, hand-painted silk and other wares.

The workshops are in the small, 15th to 17th-century rooms on the south side of the lane. They have an open-studio fashion set-up so visitors can watch the artists at work, be it glass-blowing, weaving or pottery making. As absorbing as these displays are, St. Catherine's passage is more about ambiance than anything else. No other place in Tallinn combines creativity with a medieval atmosphere quite like it.

AddressVene 12, Tallinn

Borsi Passage Tallinn Old Town

borsi-passage-tallinn-estoniaThe history of Estonia is in writing on its street, literally. Head to Borsi Passage (Börsi Passage) to read key dates and an overview of the city's story right off the pavement.  Börsi Passage belonged to the Great Guild of merchants in Tallinn from 1406. In 1551, an arched gate building was built at the Pikk Street end of Börsi Passage, which included the tax chamber of the Great Guild. A small house was at the other end of the passage for newlyweds to spend their wedding night. The Börsi Passage opened for pedestrians in the 19th century. The street thanks its name after the Stock Exchange Committee that operated in the Great Guild Hall. Börsi Passage was tidied up in 2011 and an outdoor exhibition "The Passage of History" was put on. Important dates and events have marks on the sidewalk, giving visitors a quick overview of the history of Estonia.

AddressBörsi käik, Tallinn

Ukrainian Church

Ukrainian Church Tallinn

Ukrainian Church Tallinn

This medieval building next to the walls of the Old Town of Tallinn has only ever served a secular purpose during its history, and the Ukrainian congregation has turned it into a sanctuary which is both historical and modern. The church has a small monastery which is the center of the Ukrainian religious and cultural life. If you pass it on the Laboratooriumi Street, you can take your troubles to God, and slip a piece of paper with your prayer request through the small letter slot. By ordering a tour, you will see the church, the Ukrainian Cultural Center school, Labora workshops, handmade paper and postcards, Tallinn toys, ornamented eggs, etc. It is also possible to take part in a variety of master classes.The big wooden door on one of Tallinn's most remarkable streets (Laboratooriumi) is usually open to anyone who dares to knock. If you're lucky, you'll get a free church tour and an opportunity to make silk paper with your own hands.

AddressLaboratooriumi 22, Tallinn

St Nicolas Church Niguliste Museum

St Nicolas Church Niguliste Museum Tallinn Old Town

St Nicolas Church Niguliste Museum Tallinn Old Town

Exquisite altarpieces, medieval burial slabs and other works of religious art are on sight in this 1230-era church-turned-museum. Saints, dancing skeletons and silver – not to mention the occasional organ concert – are the main attractions here. Founded by German merchant/settlers from the island of Gotland, the sturdy church's design was to double as a fortress in the days before the town wall was built. The building survived the Reformation looting of 1523, but wasn't so lucky in the 20th century when World War II bombs destroyed it.

Since its restoration in the 1980's, St. Nicholas' has functioned as a museum specializing in works of religious art, most famously Bernt Notke's beautiful but spooky painting Danse Macabre (Dance with Death). Intricate altarpieces, baroque chandeliers and centuries-old burial slabs are also on display. The Silver Chamber is home to stunning works by members of town's craft guilds. The building's acoustics also make it a prime concert venue, with organ or choir performances held here most weekends.

AddressNiguliste tn 3, Tallinn

Swedish St. Michael's Church Tallinn Old Town

Swedish St. Michael's Church Tallinn

Swedish St. Michael's Church Tallinn

The centuries-old Swedish St. Michael's church on Rüütli street in Tallinn Old Town has been a spiritual home for generations of Estonian Swedes. As an ethnic group, Swedes have been a part of Tallinn's cultural mosaic since the Middle Ages. St. Michael's had originally been an almshouse for the city's poor. In 1733 the tsarist government gave it to the Swedish congregation, which had been left without its own church since the Great Northern War. During Soviet times authorities converted the building into a sports hall and fell into disrepair, but re-consecrated after renovations in 2002. The congregation now has around 200 members, and continues to hold services in Swedish. In addition to its Baroque altar by Joachim Armbrust and a Baroque pulpit, the church has a unique baptistery created by famed sculptor Christian Ackermann in 1680.

Services in Swedish on Sundays at 12pm.

AddressRüütli 9, Tallinn

St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral Tallinn

St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral Tallinn

This spectacular, onion-domed structure perched atop Toompea Hill is Estonia's main Russian Orthodox cathedral. It's also by far the grandest, most opulent Orthodox church in Tallinn. Built in 1900, when Estonia was part of the tsarist Russian empire, the cathedral was originally intended as a symbol of the empire's dominance, both religious and political, over this increasingly unruly Baltic territory. The cathedral is dedicated to the Prince of Novgorod, Alexander Yaroslavich Nevsky, who led the famous Battle of the Ice at Lake Peipsi in 1242. This halted the German crusaders' eastward advance.

It was deliberately placed in this prominent place right in front of Toompea Castle, on the same spot where a statue of Martin Luther had previously stood, to show the mainly Lutheran locals who was in charge.  Now with the controversy long since faded, what's left is simply an architectural masterpiece. Designed by respected St. Petersburg architect Mikhail Preobrazhenski, the church is richly decorated in a mixed historicist style. The interior, filled with mosaics and icons, is well worth a visit. The church's towers' hold Tallinn's most powerful church bell ensemble, consisting of 11 bells, including the largest in Tallinn, weighing 15 tonnes. You can hear the entire ensemble playing before each service.

AddressLossi plats 10, Tallinn

Tallinn Old Town Map

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