Tallinn’s tourism agency touts the “best-preserved medieval center in all of Europe.” It’s not completely medieval, and that makes it interesting.  Architecture in the old town runs from medieval through baroque and Russian empire style (the Tsar built a very “Alexander Nevsky” cathedral and an opera house in the old town) to Art Nouveau. The mix is what makes the Tallinn old town interesting. Tallinn was founded by Danes (In Estonian, Tallinn means “Danish Town. “)  German knights bought Tallinn from them and pretty soon Tallinn (Germans called it “Reval”) was in the Hanseatic League, acting as middleman between the … Continue reading Tallinn

Riga Nouveau

We arrived in Riga Monday night and walked through a snowy city. By Tuesday it had warmed up, morning fog hid the steeple tops and we walked through slush. The embassy district of Riga has one of the best collections of Art Nouveau buildings in Europe, built for the German merchants who ran the economic life of Riga around 1900. Michael Eisenstein, father of the Soviet filmmaker, was the architect of many of them. In Riga it’s easy to see Art Nouveau as the bridge between the empire style and art deco.  The district centers around Alberta St.  The district … Continue reading Riga Nouveau