In Tallinn, there are architectural rings. Right outside the old town is the “new town” a mix of modern steel and glass and Stalinist “wedding cake” architecture. Beyond that are working class Tallinn neighborhoods that consist of almost all old wooden buildings, single family dwellings, shops, workshops, and wooden apartment houses. Many have carpenter Gothic touches and are painted in different colors. The most famous of these neighborhoods is Kalamaja. I hope that at least some of these neighborhoods can be “protected,” as the old town from the modern “new town” encroachments. More than the German styled Hanseatic League old town, or the Soviet-modern new town, these wooden buildings tell the story of Nordic workers’ lives. Taking the tram beyond wooden Tallinn you arrive at the final circle, “worker’s paradise,” the huge Brezhnev high rises in the post-Soviet world, complete with McDonald’s.
This is an excerpt from an October 2993 letter. A check on-line shows that Wooden Tallinn is now very much alive and is advertised as a good tourist destination with the slogan “Kalamaja, Wooden Houses, Bohemian Charm.”
Tomorrow we travel down the Baltic Coast to Riga, Latvia, to celebrate Halloween.