TALLINN - At midday today, on 11 April, the ferris wheel Skywheel of Tallinn, which is a part of Super Skypark, was officially opened for the public to take visitors to the height of 120 metres above sea level, where they can enjoy a panoramic view of the capital for a fee of merely 10 euros.
T1 Mall of Tallinn is the first shopping centre in Europe to have installed a landmark ferris wheel on its roof. There are only five malls of the kind in the rest of the world, and all of them can be found in Asia.
According to Allan Remmelkoor, the CEO of the T1 Mall of Tallinn as well as member of the board of the developing company Pro Kapital Grupp, the opening of Skywheel is the final touch to making what seemed a wild fantasy years ago come true: the synergy of retail and entertainment on a scale never attempted in Estonia or Europe before. “When we first voiced this plan, no-one would take us seriously. Rumour had it until recently that the ferris wheel would never in fact come up. But it is here now; it is extraordinary and unique, and it revolves, adding extra charm to the skyline of Tallinn. The unexpectedly great interest and positive attitude of the public even before the ferris wheel was opened show that bold decisions get recognition and appreciation,” Remmelkoor said.
Alar Kajari, the head of the company operating Super Skypark, added that the ferris wheel will not only become a visitor magnet attracting people to the new mall, but also a landmark which will boost tourism in Tallinn and Estonia in general. “We believe that the ferris wheel and the Super Skypark entertainment centre are both novel and unique attractions for our capital and will bring here large numbers of foreign visitors, primarily families, who might want to stay longer in Estonia to enjoy this opportunity,” Kajari noted.
The ferris wheel Skywheel of Tallinn with 27 gondolas is open every day from 10:00 to 22:00, just like the Super Skypark family entertainment centre located below. The standard ticket to the ferris wheel costs 10 euros. A family ticket for parents with children costs 28 euros. Groups larger than 12 people can purchase a ticket at the price of 7 euros per visitor per ride. There is also a special fee of 4 euros per visitor per ride for school groups, which is valid until 16:00. Tickets can be purchased in the ticket office or shop of Super Skypark as well as T1 information kiosks. The online ticket-buying options on the web pages www.vaateratas.ee and www.skywheeloftallinn.com will become available this week.
The opening day for the Skywheel of Tallinn, 11 April, is also the date of issue of a special postcard with the image of the ferris wheel and a unique postage stamp. You can send the new postcard on its way, using the special singing post box of the national post service Omniva located near the observation wheel. Postcards with the image of the wheel as well as special issue stamps can be purchased in Omniva’s section of the Super Skypark science shop.
A standard gondola of the Skywheel of Tallinn accommodates up to six people and provides wheelchair access. Comfortable folding sofa seats run along both sides of the gondola, so visitors can stand or sit inside. All gondolas are fitted with thermal insulation to protect from the coldest imaginable weather and with air conditioning for hot summer days.
One of the 27 gondolas is painted red. This is a luxurious VIP gondola, where those in an especially romantic mood will find four leather armchairs and a champagne cooler where a bottle of sparkling wine will be waiting for that exact moment for which they have booked a ride at Tallinn’s new height. This, of course, does not mean that you absolutely have to enjoy the magnificent view and atmosphere with three other people. The VIP gondola’s trump card is its privacy and personalised service: if a couple in love has booked a ride above the city for 100 euros, they will have the gondola all to themselves.
“The customers who have booked the VIP gondola will not have to stand in the queue either but can stay in our cosy rooftop café until our attendant comes to take them to the wheel at the agreed time, by which the gondola will have been prepared for them, and the attendant will gladly help them open the champagne,” the marketing director of Super Skypark Tarvo Sarmet explained.
While a standard ride on the observation wheel lasts for 12 minutes, during which it makes three turns over the city, those in the VIP gondola can relish the gorgeous view of Tallinn for half an hour. “As the height above sea level to which the observation wheel takes you is almost equal to height of the Oleviste Church steeple, those thirty minutes will become a happy couple’s or romantic adventurers’ unforgettably beautiful experience which is best enjoyed in person because it is hardly possible to describe,” Sarmet added.
The observation wheel for Super Skypark was custom-made by the Dutch family-run business Mondial Rides. The company’s history goes back more than a century, when it started as a manufacturer of port cranes; however, the business has specialised in building observation wheels for the past 30 years. The most famous wheel ride constructed by Mondial is the one on the Place de la Concorde in Paris.