The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Features

October 29, 2013

Medieval towers stand beside modern touches in Estonia's capital

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 — Several years ago, while visiting Costa Rica, I ran into a chap from Britain who led tours all over the globe. I asked him what his favorite destination was. Without blinking an eye, he spurted Tallinn.

I was visiting Helsinki this July when I discovered that Tallinn, Estonia's capital, was but a two-hour, 50-mile ferry ride away. I booked a round-trip excursion across the Gulf of Finland to the the walled Medieval city that's comparable to Krakow with the flavor of Prague.

The oldest capital in Northern Europe, Tallinn started as a fort in 1050 and first appeared on a map in 1154. The Danes took control in 1219 but sold their holdings to the Teutonic Knights little more than a century later.

At a strategic crossroads of trade, Tallinn's defenders built a 4.7-kilometer stone wall around the town, along with 46 observation towers and seven gates, including the main Sea Gate, constructed in the 16th century.

Of these, nearly two kilometers of wall remain, along with half the original towers.

My first view of the city was something of a disappointment. The area around the port is not all that attractive, due to construction and a mishmash of modern buildings.

It wasn’t until I got close to Old Town - a few blocks away, within the old ramparts - that my interest spiked.

Twisting cobblestone streets, gabled houses, rustic lanes and iron street lamps remain within Old Town, forming the fairytale core of a UNESCO World Heritage Site that attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists each year.

The Finno-Ugric ancestors of modern Estonians, Finns and Hungarians all moved into the Baltic Coast as early as 8,000 B.C. Today, all three nations share the same root language.

Nevertheless, I was surprised to find so many people speaking American English - the result of U.S. films and television programs, I was told. (Films and television shows are spoken in English with Estonian subtitles, which makes learning easier for those who want to speak English, as most of the youth I encountered did.)

Text Only
Features
  • Uwharrie Players No. 1 Anyone know whodunit?

    So whodunit?
    Forget Col. Mustard, the library and the candlestick, this time it was the drama student in the Jesse F. Niven Center with the bottle of poison.
    At this year’s Uwharrie Players Drama Camp, campers took the stage not just to act, but to figure out who poisoned Gladdis, the talent scout.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • Kudzu Quiche A Bonus in Study of Invasive Species

    High School students who chose to study invasive species during their week at the National Environmental Summit at Catawba College probably didn't think they'd be baking a kudzu quiche. But they did, and they served it, along with other kudzu creations, at the final festival.

    July 19, 2014

  • Pottery No. 1 Wheel of Clay

    Rome wasn’t built in a day and a potter wasn’t made in one either, Seagrove potter Sid Luck, 69, said at his pottery class at the Niven’s Center Tuesday.

    July 15, 2014 3 Photos

  • Archie Smith Psaltery Sounds

    About two years ago, Archie Smith got into an argument with his table saw.
    As he says, the table saw won.

    June 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • P1160049_zps0528ec83.jpg Jammin' at Junior's

    Benjamin Franklin once wrote: “ … in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” If Franklin was alive today in western Stanly County, he would need to amend his statement to include “and Friday night jam sessions at Junior Harris’.”

    June 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • KelliePickler_TheWomanIAm_LPCover.png Kellie Pickler set to release album with limited edition vinyl pressing

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Black River Entertainment announced the release of a limited edition vinyl version of country music singer/songwriter Kellie Pickler’s critically-acclaimed current album, The Woman I Am.  This is the first vinyl album for Kellie Pickler, and it features exclusive cover art, different from the CD version.

    June 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • wedding (12 of 21).tif Fairy Tales Can Come True

    Once upon a time in Stanfield a little girl was born, but experienced problems during her delivery. Five years earlier, a little boy was born in Georgia with similar complications. Both suffered a brain bleed during child birth and had ventricular shunts placed in their heads.

    June 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • Social networks are the new matchmakers

    WASHINGTON - With studies showing that one-third of married couples started their relationships online, finding romance via URLs is no longer as novel - and creepy - as it seemed when dating sites launched in the mid-1990s.

    June 9, 2014

  • Dive into the World’s Most Diverse Marine Ecosystem when Journey to the South Pacific Arrives at Discovery Place on June 7

    CHARLOTTE – Audiences will be taken on an epic IMAX® adventure through the tropical islands of West Papua and experience one of the most extraordinary places on Earth, when the IMAX film Journey to the South Pacific comes to Discovery Place on June 7.

    June 6, 2014

  • iphone4.jpg Five major new features in iOS 8

    Apple has taken the wraps off its latest mobile operating system, iOS 8, introducing a suite of new features to users aimed at streamlining some of their most annoying daily tasks.

    June 6, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Featured Comment
Twitter Updates
Seasonal Content
Poll

Will you participate in March Madness?

Yes I watch the games and complete a bracket.
Yes I complete a bracket.
No
     View Results