Thursday 20 July 2006
Highlights: Russian Cathedral
Tallinn is a city with a lot of history especially in the old town. The USSR didn’t really destroy anything and I found the old town and the surrounding city walls catching my attention.
Probably the top 3 things are the Russian Cathedral on top of the city hill, the Parliament building (which is opposite) and the town hall (surely the best in the world). I found myself at odds today with several people in the group (not that I said anything). It seemed some people wanted to spend the time buying souvenirs while the others (including me) wanted to actually see the town. It’s probably an age gap thing; the local guide somehow got everyone going in the right direction.
Estonia is a very small country (1.5 million people). From 1945-1989 (the USSR occupation) the percentage of ethnic Estonians in Estonia dropped from 94% to 61%, caused primarily by the Soviet program promoting mass immigration of urban industrial workers from Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, as well as by wartime emigration and Soviet premier Josef Stalin’s mass deportations and executions.
A lot of Estonians actually fought with the Germans in WWII after Russian invaded Estonia and Stalin did not forget this act.