Welcome back to beautiful Tallinn, Estonia. Last time we look at the picturesque Old Town, today we’re going to be crossing the tracks into Telliskivi and leaving the Old Town heading into the centre of modern Tallinn.
Above you can see Turg market, also known as Baltic Station Market. Aptly named, as it’s quite literally on the wrong side of the tracks, or what used to be the wrong side of the train station during the Soviet Occupation of Estonia.
Today Tallinn station still sits in the same location, however the surrounding area has been completely reborn. Turg market houses over 300 stalls, which span food kiosks, independent craft stalls focusing on Estonian goods and a flea market selling everything and anything.
This is a great place to start your day as you can grab a breakfast of pastries and coffee. Or Mexican food if you fancy it, I don’t rule your life.
Telliskivi Creative City
Telliskivi Creative City is described as a home for everything new. With the goals of building a creative and diverse space, Telliskivi Creative City occupies an old industrial area that focused on manufacturing during the Soviet era.
Photographed above is one of the many vintage stores that have popped up in these warehouses. It’s interesting to see vintage American clothing in extremely Soviet buildings, something about it makes you feel like you really are breaking some important rules.
Telliskivi isn’t just stores, it’s restaurants, bars, co-operative work spaces and offices for start ups. Unsurprising considering Tallinn is Europe’s digital capital.
Everything is old and remodeled for the new, as seen in this cafe housed in an old train carriage.
Street art is everywhere in Teliskivi, whether it’s spray paint or actual 3D pieces ala Gladice and Gwyneth from Friends. Plus it’s beautiful enough to take some pictures against. If you need a spot for a photoshoot, this is the one.
Bit weird to go into a hotel you’re not staying at right?
Not when that hotel used to house a secret KGB headquarters.
Opening in 1972, the Viru Hotel was the first high rise in Estonia. The Soviet Union wished to create a hotel for foreigners to visit, the only one they could visit, and so they built it to a bizarre array of specifications. It had a salon, multiple bars (one illegal betting bar), tons of shops, restaurants out the wazoo- more than your average hotel.
And a KGB radio centre snuck in there too.
Looks like your average hotel right?
Who knew that there was actually a whole extra floor than was listed in the lifts that housed a completely secret room (not wiring as the few people who stumbled across it were told) out of which a handful of KGB operatives were working.
Every trip to the KGB Museum in the Hotel Viru is guided, making for an extremely informative experience. Rooms had gaps in between the walls for operatives to listen into, the plates had microphones in, the phones had microphones in, EVERYTHING had microphones in.
That red phone pictured below? Had a direct connection to Moscow. The other one? Filled with cement so it couldn’t be bugged. The KGB were next level.
The KGB abandoned the building in 1991, but it wasn’t discovered until 1994. All the machinery that looks kinda destroyed? That’s what the operatives left when they fled the building. They made sure that no information could be recovered from it, and it’s all sat there for nearly 30 years.
Your ticket even gets stamped at the end to show you being approved to work for the KGB. And also gives you free entry to the club in the hotel.
Book yourself in for a visit here, make sure you select the English tour (unless you speak Russian or like a challenge) It’s a really interesting and educational tour, you won’t find the likes of this anywhere else. This was one of my highlights of Tallinn.
We’ve already had a full post on Linnahall, click the link to see it in all it’s glory.
Want to see more of this trip?
Next time we take a new city and a new country. See you in Riga, Latvia!