TALLINN - Tallinn will hold an international competition to design a giant statute of the mythical hero Kalevipoeg in the city's bay. The statue will be a striking landmark, located 100 meters from the coastline with a height of 21 meters. The Tallinn City Council, which has commissioned the statue, hopes it will join a list of internationally famous landmarks, such as Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer and New York's Statue of Liberty.
However, the decision to hold a design competition is a slap in the face to the famed sculptor who first envisaged the project, Estonian Tauno Kangro.
Kangro mooted the idea of a Kalevipoeg statue nearly a decade ago, and even constructed a scale model which was later destroyed in a fire.
The idea was taken up by Tallinn Mayor Juri Ratas, who ordered the statue to be built and placed the project in the hands of a committee.
This week, committee member and city deputy mayor Olga Sotnik said Kangro's model may not be the final design.
"We will announce a competition to find out how it will look. Maybe Kangro will take part, but we are also waiting for other competitors," Sotnik told The Baltic Times.
"It could become a very good tourist attraction. We have held consultations with tourists and tour operators, and they said that we needed to find something else to attract people. We have a nice old city, but there should be more attractions. I think this will look amazing."
The statue could be a solid object, or could have an observation deck similar to the Statue of Liberty, she said. A bridge or causeway could be built to connect the statue to the mainland.
All Estonians know the epic tale of Kalevipoeg, the giant hero who battled demons, walked across oceans, ravished beauties and eventually died by the blade of his own sword.
Sotnik said it was hard to imagine a more appropriate figure 's politically or culturally 's to celebrate than Kalevipoeg.
"It won't be a cheap project, that's for sure. The exact cost will depend on the design. We have an ambitious plan to finish the project by 2008," she said.
Kangro is currently working on a sculpture in Sri Lanka, and could not be contacted for comment.