When thinking of Estonia, the capital city Tallinn comes to mind, and it is for a good reason, as it is the heart of this vibrant country. Tallinn is unique because it is home to many facets of culture, history, and industry. It is considered the Silicon Valley of the Baltic region because there are so many tech headquarters, and there are more start-ups here than in any other place in Europe. This has transformed Tallinn into a destination unlike any other and has led to increased tourism, which has caused many off-the-beaten-path sites to surface. This week we will explore those sites for an incredible time in Estonia.
Ichthus Art Gallery
This gallery is not what you would expect from an Art Gallery. It is located below a medieval monastery, Saint Catherine's Dominican Monastery, to be exact. At first glance, you would only expect to visit this monastery, but if you make a wrong turn when entering the living area of the monastery, you'll head down a promising but gloomy path. Here you'll find a courtyard that leads to a series of old rooms where the monks worked and lived. In the modern day, these rooms are used as an art gallery for the owner of the monastery to house his original works. If you are lucky enough, you could even catch a glimpse of the artist creating new pieces of work or discuss his pieces with him. This hidden gem gets you off the beaten path and immersed in local culture.
Soviet Statue Graveyard
You will find this incredible garden outside the Maarjamäe Palace, part of the Estonian History Museum. It dates back to the Soviet Era occupation when local artists created statues of the Soviet leaders. This garden is a great way to travel back in time to see what life would have been like in the mid-1900s. There are plaques in front of many statues describing the artist that created the sculptures, the statue's original location, and why they were removed. Are you looking to venture a little further off the path and deeper into history? In that case, the controversial Maarjamäe Memorial Complex is a unique way to take in the dissonance between Soviet and Estonian cultures and how the conflict was memorialized.
As one of the oldest continually operating Pharmacies in Europe, Raeaptekk is full of history, stories, and opportunities. Dating back to the medieval times when you could find mummy juice, burnt bees, earthworms, snakeskin, unicorn horn powder, as well as spiritual advice to cure any ailments. You could also gather here and chat with neighbors over a cup of tea, learning all the important gossip and news in the community. The pharmacy and pharmacist became so influential in the late 18th century that Peter the Great requested that Johann Burchart V, a multi-generation owner, tend to him on his deathbed. Today, medication, sweets, and other goods found in a pharmacy are served on the first floor, while the higher floors are home to a museum of oddities and historical artifacts.
In the late 19th century, a local landowner designed and built his castle that housed a variety of eclectic art that he used to decorate the interior. The unfortunate aspect is that his castle was raided during World War I, and all of these collections were taken from the house. What is left is probably one of the park's most significant, unique aspects. The hikes you can take lead you through a giant sculpture garden that more than quadrupled the size of the items he sculpted. This eclectic and unique destination cannot be missed.
Now that you know just a few off-the-beaten-path destinations in Tallinn, it's time to schedule a consultation to explore everything this Baltic city has to offer.