Pirita, Estonia

Postmarked 1925
Publisher: “M T S”

Google Street View.

The Pirita district evolved around a convent built in the fifteenth century whose remarkable ruins characterise the area even today. The two-kilometre sandy beach, shores of the Pirita River, river valley, and coastal pine forest complete with an adventure park are ideal places for physical activity and leisure. The yacht harbour and restaurant on the mouth of Pirita River embody the carefree flow of life in Pirita.
Visit Tallin

A bit further out from Kadriorg is another district that provides an escape from the downtown bustle – Pirita. The sprawling district is actually within Tallinn’s boundaries, only a 10 – 15 minute ride from the city centre. When you get here though, you’d never believe you were in the same universe as the rest of Tallinn; suddenly you’re surrounded by dense forest, fresh air and, best of all, the blissful sound of silence. When most Tallinners think of Pirita, they think of the popular beach, which can get packed with thousands of nearly naked bodies on any sunny weekend. But there’s much more to Pirita than suntan lotion and bare skin. The region has a history that goes back at least as far as the early 15th century, when the now-famous Pirita convent was founded on the banks of the Pirita River. Pirita stayed fairly rural through the centuries, but after World War II, partitions of land were given out to Estonians to build homes on, and Pirita began to evolve into the residential district it is today.
In Your Pocket

Rusalka Memorial, Tallinn, Estonia

TALLINN. | Russalka mälestussammas Kadriorus
[Russalka memorial in Kadriog]
Postmarked 1929

Google Street View.

Russalka Memorial is a bronze monument sculpted by Amandus Adamson, erected on 7 September 1902 in Kadriorg, Tallinn, to mark the ninth anniversary of the sinking of the Russian warship Rusalka, or “Mermaid”, which sank en route to Finland in 1893. It was the first monument in Estonia made by an Estonian sculptor. The monument depicts an angel holding an Orthodox cross towards the assumed direction of the shipwreck. The model for the angel was the sculptor’s housekeeper Juliana Rootsi, whose grandson is the politician, Tiit Made.

On the morning of September 7th 1893 the Rusalka departed from Reval (now Tallinn) in Estonia to sail due north across the Gulf of Finland to Helsingfors (now Helsinki) in Finland. It should be noted that both Estonia and Finland were then ruled by Russia. The distance across open sea was some 55 miles and the Rusalka was escorted by a Rendell-type gunboat Tucha. In reasonable weather conditions the passage should have been a fast and easy one of six or eight hours. The weather did however deteriorate, and the ships lost contact in gale-force winds and rain. The Tucha arrived safely at Helsingfors in mid-afternoon but the Rusalka did not follow. A search was initiated immediately and two days later wreckage was washed ashore on the Finnish coast, including a lifeboat with one dead seaman. The vessel had 177 men on board but this was the only body recovered. Fifteen ships were engaged, fruitlessly, in the search for the Rusalka, continuing for over a month and only being suspended in Mid-October due to the first winter storms. The search was resumed in the middle of the following year, including observation from a balloon towed by one of the ships involved – and all again without success.
Dawlish Chronicles

Maarjamäe Palace, Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn | “Marienberg” lennukilt
[“Marienberg” from the plane]
Postmarked 1924
Publisher: “H.S.”

Google Maps.

[Translated from Estonian, with Google Translate]
In 1873, Count Anatoly Orlov-Davõdov (1837–1905), a resident of St. Petersburg, bought a plot of land on Strietberg with the buildings there from the heirs of Rotermann. Anatoly Orlov-Davõdov named Marienberg. The modern Estonian version of the place, Maarjamäe, did not go into circulation until the late 1930s. The castle of Maarjamäe summer manor was built on the site of the former factory building , probably using old walls. The main gate of the plot was decorated with copper eagles, and a staircase terrace was built to reach the beach, which reached the sea. The main building was constructed as a rectangular ground plan with the single-mansards Maarjamäe summer residence kitchen, the structure is connected to a closed gallery summer the main building. In 1926–1928, the current Pirita Road was taken through the seaside beach, cutting off the connection of Maarjamäe Summer Manor Castle and the stairs to the seashore . The English-style park area of Maarjamäe summer manor was much larger than today, the manor house had a magnificent greenhouse with limestone walls, which was located in the currentAbove the Maarjamäe memorial , a garden with a pond, tennis courts, the Countess’s painting studio and a number of outbuildings.

During the time of Anatoly Orlov-Davõdov’s son AA Orlov-Davõdov, the premises of the summer manor were no longer rented to holidaymakers, but the count moved to Marienberg with his servants in the spring. Marienberg was a summer resort valued by the higher society of St. Petersburg, it was visited by several representatives of the high class in St. Petersburg, including the mother of the Russian Emperor Marja Fyodorovna . The guest rooms were located in the north-east wing of the summer manor castle.

By the 1820s, Tallinn had become a famous beach resort. Count Anatoli Orlov-Davydov (1837–1905) who resided in St. Petersburg, a great metropolis of the Russian Empire, bought the Strietberg plot with its buildings from Rotermann’s heirs on 29 January 1873. Anatoli Orlov-Davydov named the place Marienberg, probably in honour of his wife, Maria. The Estonian version of the name — Maarjamäe — became popular in the late 1930s. In the wake of the 1917 revolution, the Orlov-Davydov family emigrated from Russia and the summer manor was leased.

Musumagi (Kissing Hill), Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn (Reval) – Viru t
Postmarked 1929
Publisher: M. Saarbaum.

Postcards of Viru Gate

Another view of original fountain

Google Street View (approximate).

Locals call the artificial hill on the Toome Hill, in the immediate vicinity of the Cathedral, the Kissing Hill. It was built in the 19th century as part of the park’s romantic design over the former Moscow Rondel at Karl XI Bastion. Today, stairs lead to the Kissing Hill and at the top, there is a viewing platform with benches. Next to the Kissing Hill, there is a monument to the poet Kristjan Jaak Peterson, between the sacrificial stone, the hill, and the cathedral. The place has been popular with young couples who take pictures there. There have been open-air performances on and around the Kissing Hill.
Visit Estonia

Translated from Russian via Google Translate:
Hill of Kisses (Musumägi) is a small (0.55 hectare ) park in Tallinn , near the Virus Gate , between Valli , Viru Streets and Pärnusskoe Shosse. The park was built on a part of the former earthen fortification at the Viru Gate (“High Bastion”), in accordance with the landscaping plan of Tallinn drawn up in 1876 with the participation of the outstanding landscape architect Georg Kufaldt. The opening took place in 1898.

The authorship of the garden pavilion in the park belongs to the architect Nikolai Tamm (senior). For the ascent to the park, stone stairs were erected, and a fountain was arranged from the side of Valli Street. During the fighting in the summer of 1941, the fallen bomb partially destroyed the Virus Gate, several soldiers of the German army who died in battles were buried in the park, the fountain was lost during the war, and its metal sculpture was melted down. In 1947, the Boys and the Fish fountain was built near the park (sculptor Voldemar Mellik).

View from Toompea, Tallinn, Estonia

Ревель, вид съ ВЫшгорода
Tallinn. Waade Toompealt
Reval. Blick von der neuen Domtreppe.
[Tallinn. View from Toompea]
Postmarked 1925

Google Street View.

Toompea (from German: Domberg, “Cathedral Hill”) is a limestone hill in the central part of the city of Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. The hill is an oblong tableland, which measures about 400 by 250 metres, has an area of 7 hectares (17 acres) and is about 20–30 metres higher than the surrounding areas. In folklore the hill is known as the tumulus mound over the grave of Kalev, erected in his memory by his grieving wife. The history of Toompea is closely linked to the history of rulers and power in Estonia. Today Toompea is the center of the Government of Estonia and the Riigikogu (parliament), both of which are often simply referred to as Toompea. The location of the Riigikogu is the Toompea Castle, situated in the southwestern corner of the hill and topped by the Tall Hermann tower.

Dating back as far as the 13th century, the old section of Tallinn is what keeps most visitors occupied during their stay. The winding, cobbled streets of the medieval capital take you past half-hidden lanes, courtyards, spired churches and old, merchant houses. For centuries, what’s now the Old Town has been divided into two distinct parts: Toompea Hill, which was home to the gentry that lorded over the countryside, and Lower Town, which was a separate political entity with rights as an autonomous town.
In Your Pocket

Kadriorg Palace, Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn – Reval. Kadroru loss.
Postmarked 1927
Publisher: Jaan Winnal

Virtual tour

Google Street View (approximate).

Kadriorg Palace is a Petrine Baroque palace built for Catherine I of Russia by Peter the Great in Tallinn, Estonia. Both the Estonian and the German name for the palace means “Catherine’s valley”. It was built after the Great Northern War for Nicola Michetti’s designs by Gaetano Chiaveri and Mikhail Zemtsov.

After the successful siege of Tallinn during the final phase of the Great Northern War in 1710 czar Peter the Great of Russia bought a small Dutch-style manor house at Lasnamäe for his wife Catherine. The house today is the result of a drastic renovation ordered by Nicholas I of Russia in 1827. However, plans for a larger palace in the area soon developed and construction of a new palace, Kadriorg, was started on 25 July 1718. Peter and Catherine visited the unfinished residence on several occasions, but after the emperor’s death in 1725 Catherine showed no interest in the seaside property. The great hall with Catherine’s initials and profuse stucco decor (attributed to Heinrich von Bergen) survives, while many other interiors have been altered. . . . After the declaration of independence of Estonia in 1919, the palace became state property. For a time, one of the wings housed the studio of sculptor August Weizenberg while the palace was used for art exhibitions. Between 1921 and 1928 the palace housed what would eventually develop into the Art Museum of Estonia.

Kadriog Palace and Park has a long history in Tallinn. It was commissioned by Peter the Great after he successfully brought Estonia under his domain. The Palace was to be a sea-side home for himself and his wife, Catherine I of Russia. Building of the Palace was started in July of 1718. Niccolo Michetti, the Italian architect, designed this beautiful Baroque Palace. Although only two stories tall, it is a very grand building. Unfortunately, Peter died before the building was completed. Catherine lost all interest in the palace after the death of her husband, and never visited it, even after the palace was completed. Parts of the palace were left to fall into disrepair; however, the great hall has been lovingly preserved and restored.

Construction work in the palace was a joint effort of several foreign masters: in addition to the Italian chief architect, parts of the job were carried out by the Roman architect Gaetano Chiaveri, the Venetian stucco master Antonio Quadri, Salomon Zeltrecht from Sweden, the sculptor Heinrich von Bergen from Riga, and many others. Several of those men later worked in Saint Petersburg; the founding of a new Russian capital also provided employment for another Kadriorg Palace architect, Mikhail Zemtsov, who was in charge of construction in Kadriorg after Michetti returned to Italy. Workers were brought in from Russia, and more difficult tasks were fulfilled by soldiers from the Tallinn garrison or by forced labourers. In the town of Tallinn, which was nearly empty of people and had been severely damaged by war, the construction of an unprecedentedly magnificent palace next to the modest local summer manors, seaside rocks and junipers seemed like a miracle.The strong will of a ruler who wanted to break from tradition planted a fragile southern architectural masterpiece in the harsh climate of northern Europe. Unfortunately, the builders did not manage to carry out all of Michetti’s and Peter’s grandiose plans because, after the death of the tsar in 1725, the interest of Russian rulers in the Baltic Sea, its navy, Tallinn and the palace died down for quite a while.
. . .
A new chapter in the history of Kadriorg began in 1827. As in earlier days, changes were linked to the arrival of a ruler. In that year, Emperor Nicholas I visited Tallinn for the first time, and was very disgruntled that he could not stay in the imperial palace built by Peter I, as Kadriorg Palace was in such bad condition that staying there overnight was impossible. After his visit, the emperor gave orders to transfer the palace, which Paul I had entrusted to the civilian governor of Estonia, back to the administration of the Ministry of the Imperial Court, to immediately start renovation work on the building and park, and to provide the palace and its annexes with everything necessary.

The reconstruction of 1827–1831 was in accordance with the changes that had taken place in the lifestyle of the imperial family and the court. Family relations, feelings and a natural way of life were considered more important than exterior magnificence. So that guests could enjoy the healthy sea air more comfortably, an awning with curtains was placed on the balcony, the stairs leading to the Flower Garden were replaced by a semicircular enclosed veranda, and a new staircase was added to the seaside wing. All of the rooms were fitted with fancy furniture, bathrooms were installed, lamps, Persian rugs and works of art were brought to Tallinn, and special porcelain sets and glazed earthenware were ordered from the Kiev-Mezhigorsk faience factory. The purpose of rooms was also altered. The most respectable rooms on the main floor in the seaside wing were furnished as the apartment of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna; above her, on the third floor, the living rooms of the emperor and the crown prince were located; the bedrooms and living rooms of the emperor’s daughters covered both floors of the right wing. The 18th-century ceremonial enfilade of rooms became the summer house of a large family.
Kadriorg Art Museum

Cathedral ruins & tennis courts, Tartu, Estonia

TARTU. Doomevaremed
DORPAT. Domruine
[Toom ruins]

Google Street View.

Older images on Wikimedia Commons.

Tartu Cathedral, located on the beautiful Toome Hill, is one of the largest churches in Estonia. It is also the only mediaeval church with two spires in Estonia. The construction of the church started in the 13th century and the church was fully completed in the beginning of the 16th century. The spires were the last things to be finished. The church was destroyed in the Livonian War and since then, it has not operated as a church. The ruins of the Tartu Cathedral are one of the most prominent examples of brick-Gothic buildings in Old Livonia.
Visit Estonia

The construction of the Gothic cathedral on the north side of the cathedral hill was probably begun in the second half of the 13th century. It was surrounded by a graveyard and houses for the members of the cathedral chapter. The cathedral was dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul, who were also the patron saints of the city. It was the seat of the Bishopric of Dorpat, and one of the largest religious buildings of Eastern Europe. The church was originally planned as a basilica, but the later addition of the three-aisled quire gave it the character of a hall church. The quire (in an early form) and nave were already in use by 1299. About 1470 the high quire with its pillars and arches was completed in Brick Gothic style.The cathedral was completed at the end of the 15th century with the building of the two massive fortress-like towers, originally 66 meters high, on either side of the west front. A wall separated the cathedral grounds and the bishop’s fortified residence from the lower town.

In the mid-1520s the Reformation reached Tartu. On 10 January 1525 the cathedral was badly damaged by Protestant iconoclasts, after which it fell increasingly into decay. After the deportation to Russia of the last Roman Catholic Bishop of Dorpat, Hermann Wesel (bishop from 1554 to 1558; died 1563), the cathedral church was abandoned. During the Livonian War (1558–1583) Russian troops devastated the city. When in 1582 the city fell to the Poles, the new Roman Catholic rulers planned to rebuild the cathedral, but the plans were abandoned because of the ensuing Polish-Swedish War (1600–1611). A fire in 1624 compounded the damage.

From Wikimedia Commons

In 1889–1979, there used to be a water tower on top of the northern tower of Tartu Cathedral. Over the years, the water tower was expanded when needed and reconstructions were made until its wooden structure was destroyed in the 1979 fire. As there was no central water supply system in Tartu before 1929, the water used on Toome Hill was fetched from the nearby river Emajõgi. In the second half of the 19th century, the water quality no longer fulfilled the needs of the clinics situated on the hill, and the university built a water system to supply the buildings with ground water. Reinhold Guleke, the university’s architect at the time, found the cathedral’s northern tower as the most suitable place for the required water tank and, in 1889, designed a wooden pavilion in Gothic style around the reservoir
The Secret Places of Toome Hill

Church & boulevard, Tallinn, Estonia

TALLINN. Kaarli pulestee. | REVAL. Karls-Promenade
Postmarked 1926.

Google Street View.

Charles’s Church (Estonian: Kaarli kirik) is a Lutheran church in Tallinn, Estonia, built 1862-1870 to plans by Otto Pius Hippius. It is Tallinn’s grandest 19th-century church. Tõnismägi hill has been the location of a chapel probably since the 14th century. In 1670, during the time of Swedish rule, the Swedish King Charles XI commissioned the construction of a church on the site, for the use of the Estonian and Finnish population of Tallinn (as opposed to the Baltic German population). The church was named after the king. In 1710, during the Great Northern War, this first wooden church was burnt down. In the 19th century, reconstruction plans were put forward. Donations of money were started in the 1850s, and the cornerstone of the new church was laid in 1862. The church, still incomplete, was inaugurated in 1870. The two towers on the west side were enlarged in 1882.

Kaarli Boulevard is a part of the circle boulevard surrounding the Old Town. It was constructed as a 2‑lane road in the early 19th century. Later on, after the completion of the Kaarli Church the boulevard was widened up to a 4‑lane esplanade and fenced in on the outsides by a low iron fence. In 1912 and after the trees were planted on two outer sides of the boulevard as well. Therefore, in some places the boulevard got 6 lanes, though, the majority of the outer trees have unfortunately become extinct by now due to the environmental pollution.

Viru street & gate, Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn. Viru tänav
Postmarked 1926

Google Street View.

The Walls of Tallinn are the medieval defensive walls constructed around the city of Tallinn in Estonia. The first wall around Tallinn was ordered to be constructed by Margaret Sambiria in 1265 and for that reason, it was known as the Margaret Wall. This wall was less than 5 metres (16 ft) tall and about 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) thick at its base. Since that time it has been enlarged and strengthened. The walls and the many gates are still largely extant today. This is one of the reasons that Tallinn’s old town became a World Heritage Site. The walls were enlarged in the fourteenth century, and citizens of Tallinn were required to turn out for guard duty, which meant to wear their armour and demonstrate their readiness to face off invaders.

The barbican of Viru Gate was part of the defence system of the Tallinn city wall built in the 14th century. A couple of centuries later, it already had 8 gates that consisted of several towers and curtain walls connecting them. The main tower of a gate was always square and the barbicans were equipped with one or two small round towers. As the entrances to the Old Town were widened, several gates were demolished. The Viru Gate had to pay its dues to a horse-drawn tram route that connected the Old Market with Kadriorg. However, the corner towers were preserved.
Visit Estonia

At one point in time, there were a total of 45 towers built into the walls that protected Tallinn. Twenty-six of those still remain. Two of the best preserved of the bunch are called Viru Gate. The gate dates from the 14th Century, as do most of the towers, and sits at the entrance way into the Old Town. . . . The towers used to be the fore gates to the city, and a larger set was built a little further in, which were held up by a set of square towers. Most of the gate was pulled down in 1880, in order to make room for more street traffic.

Tallinn. Viru värav
Postmarked 1926