Estonia – Tallinn – Linda by A. L. Weizenberg
In the Lake Ülemiste, the largest lake surrounding Tallinn, there is boulder called Lindakivi (“Linda’s rock”). In Estonian mythology, it is believed to be one of the boulders Linda was supposed to carry to Kalev’s grave at Toompea, but which fell off her apron. She sat on the boulder and cried, thus creating the lake.
The semi-legendary-mythological “Ülemiste Elder” (Estonian: Ülemiste vanake) is believed to live in the lake. If anyone should meet him, then he is believed to ask: “Is Tallinn ready yet?”. If then the other person answered “yes”, then he would flood the city. Thus, the correct answer would be: “No, there is much to be done yet”. This tale is sometimes viewed as an explanation why Tallinn is building/growing all the time.
Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It is situated on the northern coast of the country, on the banks of the Gulf of Finland, 80 km (50 mi) south of Helsinki.
The origins of Tallinn date back to the 13th century, when a castle was built there by the crusading knights of the Teutonic Order. It developed as a major centre of the Hanseatic League, and its wealth is demonstrated by the opulence of the public buildings (the churches in particular) and the domestic architecture of the merchants’ houses, which have survived to a remarkable degree despite the ravages of fire and war in the intervening centuries.
Tartu is the second largest city of Estonia. In contrast to Estonia’s political and financial capital Tallinn, Tartu is often considered the intellectual and cultural hub, especially since it is home to Estonia’s oldest and most renowned university.
Rapla County (area 2957 sq km, population 37,000) is situated in the central part of the flat North Estonian mesa, roads from Tallinn to Pärnu and Viljandi pass through it. The County has a dense river network (the biggest is the Kasari River Basin) and very many beautiful manors and manor parks. Several ancient strongholds can be found along with churches dating from the Middle Ages, there are many Karst regions and caves and 13 protected marshes and bogs. There are bicycle routes around the town of Rapla and along the old railway embankment from Rapla to Virtsu for more serious cyclists. Pure and nature-close living environment are the main riches of the County that could be used for nature tourism.
Narva is the third largest city in Estonia. It is located at the eastern extreme point of Estonia, by the Russian border, on the Narva River which drains Lake Peipus.
Narva is dominated by the 15th-century castle, with the 51-metre-high Long Hermann tower as its most prominent landmark. The sprawling complex of the Kreenholm Manufacture, located in the proximity of scenic waterfalls, is one of the largest textile mills of 19th-century Northern Europe. Other notable buildings include Swedish mansions of the 17th century, a Baroque town hall (1668–71), and remains of Erik Dahlberg’s fortifications.
Across the Narva River is the Russian Ivangorod fortress, founded by Grand Prince Ivan III of Muscovy in 1492 and known in Western sources as Counter-Narva. During the Soviet times Narva and Ivangorod were twin cities, despite belonging to different republics. Before World War II, Ivangorod (Estonian: Jaanilinn) was administrated as part of Narva.
Haapsalu Castle was built to be the main residence of the Bishop of Saare-Lääne (Ösel-Wiek) bishopric and dates back to the 13th century,the attached Dome church being an impressive example of early Gothic architecture mixed with Romanesque elements. The castle was expanded into its current shape in the 16th century when the outer wall surrounding the castle with its cannon towers was completed. The walls reached a height of 10 meters and were over 1 meter thick. The inside of the walls was equipped with moats and bastions housing cannons.During the Livonian War in the 16th century, which incidentally marked the end of a semi-independent bishopric, the castle was badly damaged. In the 17th century the castle was no longer used as a defense building by the Swedes who now ruled the Province of Estonia. The walls were partially demolished during the Northern War in 1710 at the command of the Russian Czar Peter who took over the rule of Estonia in the 18thcentury, turning the castle in effect into ruins. The western side of the castle houses a picturesque 29 meter Watchtower dating from the13th century, later used as a bell tower. The Dome church attached to the castle was probably built in the1260-s, following the style of the Cistercian Order.
The round baptism chapel on the eastern side of the church was built in the 14th or 15th century and is the site of a famous legend. On moonlight August nights the shape of a Lady in White appears on the inside wall of the chapels the moon shines through the chapel window. This Lady is said to have been a woman who was in love with a cannon, entering the castle against the rules, therefore having been walled in there alive as a punishment.
The church has been restored and it is again in active use by the local congregation of the Estonian Lutheran Church since 1990.