50NADFAS REVIEW / SUMMER 2010www.nadfas.org.ukAbove:Labyrinthine andred-roofed,Tallinn's streetshave bornewitness to manychanges over thecenturies Left: AlexanderNevsky Cathedral Tales to tellBeneath Toompea Hill, the medieval cityof Tallinn gazes out towards the Baltic.Today the atmosphere in the 2011European Capital of Culture is calm andprosperous, says Adrian Mourby, butthe city has had a turbulent pastTRAVEL/TOURSWhen Niguliste kirik (St Nicholas'Church) was built in the 13thcentury, the area belowToompea's Danish castle was so unrulythat the Westphalian merchants whopaid for the church fortified it with heavygrilles over the doors and windows.Most of these were removed after thecity walls were built, but St Nicholascontinued to lead an exciting life. Duringthe Protestant Reformation of 1523,iconoclasts tried to storm the church. Itsinvaluable artworks were only saved bya canny churchwarden who pouredmolten lead in the door locks. Prosperityin the 16th and 17th centuries resultedin elaborate baroque pews and a spireover 100 metres high, but these weredestroyed at the end of World War II andagain by a fire in 1982. Both times thechurch was rebuilt and its medieval artworks spared. Today St Nicholasdisplays a rare masterpiece by BerntNotke, the most important painter andsculptor in northern Europe at the endof the 15th century. Danse Macabreisonly a fragment of Notke's original 30-metre frieze, but it remains one ofTallinn's greatest treasures.Around the corner, the city's Town Hallwas also constructed in the 13thcentury, although its Gothic architecturedates from a 15th-century makeover.More than any other building, thisHanseatic structure with its single spire,symbolises Tallinn to the outside world.
www.nadfas.org.ukNADFAS REVIEW / SUMMER 2010 51To mark Tallinn'snomination asEuropean Capital ofCulture for 2011,NADFAS travel affiliate Tailored Travel isorganising a five-day tour departing 24May 2011- see advert on page 53. Thetour is escorted by the ever-popularauthor, TV expert and NADFAS-accredited lecturer Dr Anne Anderson.The price of £799 includes a 4* centralTallinn hotel, scheduled flights and aprofessional local guide and a full rangeof included excursions and guided tours.For further information or a brochure callTailored Travel on 020 8665 9966 or visitwww.tailored-travel.co.ukWe are not endorsingany product in thissection. Adverts arepublished for members'convenience. Normalterms and conditionsapply (see page 3). Any traveladvertisement carryingthe Tour NADFAS logomeans a commissionpayment is made toNADFAS on theproduct or tripadvertised. Those thatcontinue to support usthrough advertising onlywill not use the Tour NADFAS nameand logo.limited to wealthy married citizens whoowned a house in the old town.Outsiders who wanted to join wererequired to marry the widows ofdeceased guild members, and they did. Opposite the hall stands the Churchof Holy Ghost which holds an importantplace in the hearts of Estonians. JohannKoell, a 16th-century pastor at thechurch, wrote the first book to bepublished in Estonian, a catechism. In acity where German was the language oftrade and authority, the fact that the firstsermons ever preached in Estonian wereheard in this small 14th-century buildingis a matter of national pride. Inside, thealtar triptych of the Descent of the HolyGhost (1483) is another workThe wealth of Lubeck's powerful NorthGerman league is reflected in thebeautifully carved medieval benches inthe Citizen's Chamber. In the cellarsbelow there is an impressive model ofmedieval Tallinn from the days when allits defensive walls still stood. Significantsections of wall still dominate the lowertown today, interspersed with conicalred roofs like something from a fairytale.'Fat Margaret Tower', built to defend theharbour, is open to the public andserves as Estonia's Maritime Museum.The city's 15th-century Great Guildhallalso functions as a museum, in this caseone devoted to Estonian history. TheGreat Guild controlled most aspects oflife in medieval Tallinn. Membership wascommissioned from Berndt Notke, whileoutside the painted clock (1684) is theoldest public timepiece in Tallinn.Above the old town, Tallinn isdominated by its castle and by itsAlexander Nevsky Cathedral, whichcommemorates the 200 years thatEstonia was a part of the RomanovEmpire. Russia's involvement in the citycan also be seen on its eastern outskirtsat Kadriorg Park, a summer residencebuilt for Peter the Great who aquiredEstonia in 1710. Eight years later, Peterbegan building a palace named after hisEstonian wife Catherine (in Estonian,Kadriorg means 'Catherine's Valley').The palace is a glorious example ofNorthern Baroque with an astonishinglyornate Great Hall. The kitchens nowhouse the Mikkel Museum of paintings,porcelain and figurines from Russia andwestern Europe and one of the finestprivate art collections in Estonia.While the palace was being built, Peterstayed in a cottage in the grounds. Aftera state visit by Tsar Alexander I in 1804,the cottage was refurbished and openedas a museum. Today it contains Petrianartefacts including the Tsar's four-posterbed. Kadriorg also houses Tallinn'snewest museum, The Kumu, a strikingstructure south of Peter's cottage.Named European Museum of the Yearin2008. It displays Estonian art inchronological order. The fourth floorcontains an exhibition recording Estonianartists and their long, often difficultrelationship with authority during theSoviet era; the fifth is an ever-changingdisplay of contemporary art drawn fromacross this energetic country. TRAVEL/TOURS