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On a Baltic cruise, our guests are often bewitched by the fairy-tale beauty of Tallinn, Estonia’s medieval capital. It’s well-known for its gothic spires and cobbled streets, but did you know about its thriving street art scene? You don’t need to head for galleries or museums to see world-class art in Estonia – it’s simply there for everyone to enjoy on corners, facades and abandoned buildings.
In this post, we’ll be giving you a run-down of the must-see street art spots in Tallinn and how to get to them. Bring along your camera – and an open mind!
First thing’s first: the Cultural Kilometre is not actually one kilometre long, but 2.5km, leading from the old city centre to the neighbourhood of Kalamaja. It’s both a bike path and pedestrian pavement, with the surrounding buildings covered in inventive graffiti and street art. It’s also home to the Museum of Contemporary Art, also known as the EKKM, which offers striking outdoor pieces such as the group of ghosts (and it’s unlikely you’ll miss the strange installation of two giant heads on the roof).
Those with a taste for the macabre shouldn’t miss the Patarei Prison. This atmospheric, abandoned soviet prison shut down years ago, and is now home to an eclectic and unusual collection of murals and graffiti, much of it with an overtly political slant.
You’ll find plenty of street art in this complex, which is close to the popular Kalamaja neighbourhood. Telliskivi was once an industrial site but has since been transformed into a creative centre comprising design studios, creative offices and NGO headquarters. It’s perhaps no wonder that many of the buildings are covered in such colourful and imaginative artwork, with new examples springing up all the time. Many of the key pieces to look out for were created as part of the 2017 Mextonia Festival, considered a gift from Mexico to Estonia to nurture a shared love of street art, uniting the two cultures. Take a walking tour to discover hidden gems around the Creative City.
When you fancy a break from walking, take a break in one of Telliskivi’s many cafes and eateries. If you visit on a Saturday, you might also be lucky enough to check out the local flea market.
In the south of the city on Tartu Road, you’ll find a beautiful, vintage-inspired piece by street artist Guido Van Helten. The mural was completed in 2015 for the JJ-Street Baltic Session festival, and depicts a woman named Saarepiiga, a figure from the epic Estonian poem Kalevipoeg. The titular main character of the poem swims across the Baltic Sea and stops on an island, where he meets Saarepiiga. The two fall in love, but Saarepiiga falls into the sea and is never seen again.
To find this large, classic mural which blends perfectly into its environment, take the no.2 or no.4 tram from the city centre.
Feeling inspired? Join us on one of our Baltic or Northern European cruises to discover Tallinn’s secret art scene.
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