TALLINN - Tallinn’s Medieval Old Town takes on a particular magical quality during this time of the year as the fresh powdering of snow covers its gabled rooftops, and outdoor candles fill its cobblestone lanes with a flickering glow. Though the nights may be dark, winter is where you’ll find Tallinn at its most enchanting.
From skating at the Old Town’s outdoor ice rink to enjoying a cup of mulled wine in a cozy cafe - every day brings new delights!
December brings high spirits and festive moods to Tallinn’s medieval churches, shops and of course, the world-famous Christmas Market at the Town Hall square. Regardless of whether it’s snowing or reminiscent of autumnal temperatures, the market is full of life, selling everything from knitwear to traditional Estonian Christmas food.
The Tallinn Christmas Market, voted among the most beautiful in the world by CNN, will begin its season on November 21 in Town Hall Square and remain open until January 10, 2015.
During this period, nearly 100 groups with over 1700 performers will take the stage, including Ellerhein toddlers’ choir, E.T.A. Dance School, Free Flow Studio, dance studio Carolina, dance troupe Modus, and many folk-dance ensembles.
The Christmas market sells a wide variety of Christmas decorations, woolen sweaters, hats, scarves, gloves, and shoes made from fur and lamb’s wool, along with beautiful hand-made candles. Food is also sold in the market, most of which is organic. Visitors can try different Christmas foods, sweets, gingerbread and mulled wine right on the spot.
The Christmas market is a place for the whole family. Merry-go-rounds will entertain the youngest of the family, and the market will be a temporary home for a family of reindeer. Along with the reindeer, Santa Claus will also arrive by the first Advent, and welcome children in his cottage at the market square, every day from 12-18.
Sampling the wonderful flavors of Estonian cuisine is a must during your visit to Tallinn. Estonian food, whether traditional or modern, changes throughout the year, with each season boasting its own unique flavors.
The winter brings a range of hearty dishes. At a genuine Estonian Christmas dinner, you’ll find jellied meat (sult in Estonian), beetroot salad, herring, roast potatoes and pork, sauerkraut, Christmas bread, and black sausages with pickled pumpkin and lingonberry jam.
The traditional home-made beer has been replaced by dark porter that goes well with a roast. A few know that the porter-type beer is also excellent for desserts, especially chocolate treats. Traditional Estonian desserts often include kringle, a pretzel-shaped sweet bread and delicious buns that are served with whipped cream, which are great after a day of skiing or sledding.
Of course Christmas events will feature not only traditional fair. Children and adults are also invited to enjoy Gingerbread Mania. It is a Christmas-themed art exhibition held from December 18 to January 8, with all items on display made from gingerbread dough. The exhibition has been created by artists, designers and architects. The title of this year’s exhibition is “Toy Museum.”
The museum and concert hall at the St. Nicholas’ Church offer both medieval church art and Christmas concerts. Here you will find the most famous work of art in Tallinn: the surviving fragment of Bernt Notke’s Dance of Death painting. With a Tallinn Card you can visit the church free of charge and only pay a surcharge if you wish to attend a Christmas concert there.
You can also come and see past holiday traditions. The Estonian Open Air Museum’s Christmas Village invites you and your kin to celebrate the seasonal spirit with the one word that defines the true meaning of Christmas – love.
The heady mixture of delicious smelling food, heated ovens, old songs and pleasant conversation brings a joy to the heart that dissipates the cares and fuss of daily life. Take part in the traditional holiday preparations of our ancestors.
The frosty city is further brightened up by frequent jazz and classical music concerts, film screenings and other engaging cultural events. Come and experience Tallinn’s winter that is full of magic!