Back in Time

Plenty of research has to be done before I am really ready to go to Tallinn and Helsinki this summer. Everybody knows, that these countries are close. No no, I’m not talking about distance. I’m talking about their similarities: same national anthem, currency and history (Swedish domination, then Russian, then independence after World War I). The reason I’m taking interest in this, is because it will be so much easier for me to understand and point out to everybody, that if planning on visiting one of these cities, definitely visit the other. It’s also interesting to see if they really are as similar as history tells… that’s what I’m going to find out…

What really caught my eye, when I was reading about these two cities, is that “in spite of its Swedish roots, old Helsinki feels Russian.” It’s because Helsinki was remodeled to look like St. Petersburg after the Russians took over Finland in 1809. If any of you have seen the movies Dr.Zhivago or Gorky Park, they are actually filmed in Helsinki because filming wasn’t allowed in Russia during the Cold War… Interesting…

St. Petersburg

Tallinn, as well as the other Baltic country ports, is in a very strategic location: between Russia and Western Europe. This is very interesting: according to BBC Travel, Tallinn was also the center for espionage during the 1970’s and 1980’s. Most of the spying was happening at the Hotel Viru (many of the hotel rooms were bugged and monitored from a secret office on the 23rd floor. It is now a museum).

Hotel Viru

After reading this, it seems that Helsinki and Tallinn are similar to Russia. And since they are both similar to Russia, they are similar to each other. That’s how I understand this after reading everything. 

Tallinn has the famous Kadriorg Palace, which was completed in 1718. It was built on the order of Russian Tsar Peter the Great. And in the Kadriorg Park, Peter the Great’s cottage still stands. It is now a museum.

St. Olaf’s Church

And one other interesting thing: St. Olaf’s church is the tallest building in the city. What you may not know, is that the church held an important radio and television signal jamming station. The Soviet agents used this to block Finnish and Swedish signals from reaching Estonia’s citizens.

I am really happy I found all of this information. It will be really interesting to visit these cities and see for myself whether Helsinki and Tallinn are actually similar to each other or not based on history.

I was done with this post, but I came upon one other interesting thing!! Not only does Tallinn, Helsinki and Russia share history, but Tallinn has a part of Denmark’s history. It is said, that Denmark’s flag originated in Tallinn. According to the legend, it floated down from the heavens during the Dane’s battle to conquer Toompea Hill in 1219. The park is now called “Danish King’s Garden”. 

All of this is so interesting, that I just want to go and visit Tallinn and Helsinki now!! I can’t wait!


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