Doors of Tallinn

Photographing doors had never occurred to me until a year ago but now I find myself doing it more and more often. After walking through the Kalamaja neighbourhood and looking for more details of the city I begun to look out for unique doors as I walked through the old town.

Doors of Tallinn

My favourite from the doors I photographed in Kalamaja.

Doors of Tallinn

Passing through the medieval streets of Tallinn’s old town.

Doors of Tallinn Doors of Tallinn

A side door to the grand Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. It wouldn’t be fair to include the main entrance to the cathedral here.

Doors of Tallinn

A modest entrance to a cellar bar and restaurant nestled in the walls of the old town.

Doors of Tallinn

The juxtaposition between door and building. The underwhelming colourless walls with its bright blue door.

Doors of Tallinn

Not exactly a door but I am going to include it, at least it adds a but of variety and demonstrates the surprises you find on ever corner of Tallinn.

As there is little road traffic in the old town and therefore not many cars parked up on the sides of the roads there were far more opportunities for photographs.

See a fellow bloggers perspective on the same door at Destination Anywhere, minus the scaffolding.

The grand (above) and the old (below). Which do you prefer?

This trip opened my eyes to the peculiar beauty of Tallinn and it was a welcomed surprise. I look forward to returning and seeing more. I was only able to visit a few of the neighbourhoods in the center of town, next time I want to travel further afield.

Any tips on any particularly special areas in Tallinn that you think I should visit? I would like to hear them in the comments.

Further reading:

Read my previous post Doors of Kalamaja

I am a team member of Day With A Local and these photographs were taken in cooperation with them.

More doors HERE.

Linnahall In Black and White

Slowly decaying on a small section of Tallinn’s coast is Linnahall, an old sports and concert venue built in 1980. The venue was built as part of the Olympics that took place in Moscow in the same year.  At this time Estonia was apart of the Soviet Union and as Moscow didn’t have a suitable location to hold the sailing events Tallinn was chosen.

Linnahall In Black and White

Linnahall In Black and White

There was little sign of life and I was the only walking around. At the entrance there were a few cars parked outside but I had no idea where the owners would have gone. If the offices inside were used I thought to myself, what a miserable place to work.

Linnahall In Black and White

Linnahall In Black and White

When the venue was completed it was named V. I. Lenin Palace of Culture and Sport but was later changed to Linnahall, most likely when Estonia became independent in 1991.

Linnahall In Black and White

Linnahall In Black and White

Who knows when Poseidon saw its last customers. Not much of a night out now.

Linnahall In Black and White

You can walk fairly freely around the building as long as you can navigate the maze of stairs, many of which still lead to a dead end or locked gate.
Linnahall In Black and White

Linnahall In Black and White

What surprised me most about Linnahall was that the building was completed in 1980, and from the looks of things, it was abandoned almost right away. I know, 1980 was actually sometime ago and more likely the venue has been used more recently.

Linnahall In Black and White

Linnahall In Black and White

It seems like such a waste to leave a large and interesting building to go unused but it happens everywhere, especially when it comes to buildings built for the Olympics. My visit to Linnahall has sparked my interested and I am keen to learn more about the building and what the city has planned for its future.

Linnahall In Black and White Linnahall In Black and White

As with any building left to sink into disrepair, Linnahall has attracted a fair amount of attention from graffiti artists, some of it better than others..

Linnahall In Black and White

Linnahall In Black and White

Views of St Olaf’s Church and Tallinn’s medieval old town can be seen as it’s only a short distance away.

Linnahall In Black and White

From the outside it is difficult to tell what Linnahall is all about. The crumbling and graffitied walls, the locked doors and barred windows, are hiding the secrets of what lies within. Unfortunately, that will have to wait for another time.

Linnahall In Black and White

Further reading:

I am a team member of Day With A Local and these photographs were taken in cooperation with them.

If you are a fan of Landscapes try my post Lapland in Black and White or take a look at my other posts in black and white, there are plenty.

Fiskars Village

Back in December I wrote a post about my visit to the historical Porkkala with the Global Degree team and I have finally got around to posting this story from the afternoon.

Fiskars Village is around 80km west from Helsinki. The village grew around the production of iron and copper which was found in 1649 by Petter Thorwöste. In the 1800’s the industry grew fast as they began to produce scissors, knives and ploughs.

Fiskars has grown into an international company and well known brand. It is best known for its orange handled scissors, created in 1967, the first pair of plastic handled scissors which are found in almost every home.

As production moved elsewhere there was no need for the factories and the buildings became empty. The idea came about of renting the buildings cheaply to artists, saving them from being abandoned and eventually becoming derelict. This move saved the town and a creative and unique community has grown.

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It was December, a pretty miserable day with on/off rain and low heavy cloud. We were given a guided tour of the village and walked along the river until we reached a stretch of cafes, shops and art galleries.

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dsc_0099 Fiskars Village is home to many artists or artisans. One of the motto’s you here regularly when visiting the village is ‘live or work in Fiskars’, meaning that most of everything you see is produced there by people who live or work there.
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Next, we were off into the woods to enjoy the Finnish nature and for some a little taste of downhill mountain biking with Canyon fat bikes.

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dsc_0219 The clouds dispersed as filming began and a couple of runs back and forth were made to make sure there was enough footage, and to have as much fun as possible. It was a generally wet morning and that had effected the ground conditions, some places waterlogged, others covered in thick ice.

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Above Marco from the Fiskars Village Trail Center leads the way through one of the more difficult corners of the course on his way back into the village.

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Further Reading:

This post is a continuation from A visit to Porkkala and 1950’s Era Russia.

Check out Global Degree and their YouTube channel where they aim to travel every country in the world, their episode from Finland will be shared later this year.

This visit was in co-operation with Day With A Local and SE-Action who organised the days events.

Christiania – The Troubles of a Freetown

When heading to Copenhagen I had little interest in visiting Christiania but I had heard from friends that it would be worth it, after all it is Copenhagen’s second most visited place in the city.

Christiania began Forty-five years ago when the military moved out of what had been a long standing military base and squatters moved in. The community grew and grew with the government finally legalising the squat in 1983. In 2011 Christiania’s future was threaten so the residents set up a foundation to buy the land from the government, many people were happy to donate and 12.5 million kroner was raised.

Christiania - The Troubles of a Freetown

Photos are prohibited within Chritstiania and I was happy to follow the request. After a few snaps at the entrance my camera went into my bag and in we went.

Because of the drug trade the area had lost some of its charm in my opinion, it could have also been the time of year. Visiting in the summer I am sure the atmosphere would be different, there were plenty of areas for people to gather in the sun and the natural surroundings would be picturesque. But on this gloomy winter’s day it wasn’t the most welcoming,  especially when we stumbled across the ominously named ‘Pusher Street’.

I hadn’t read much about the area before my arrival and I had no idea about the change that Pusher Street had recently gone through. Huts that had once lined the roads had recently been torn down in an effort to reduce the drug trade that had been dominating Christiania. It is estimated that 1 billion kroner changes hands on Pusher Street with many people looking to grab a piece, leading to other problems. The most recent being a shooting in August 2016 where a policeman was shot and two others injured.

Christiania - The Troubles of a Freetown

Flag of Christiania

Now, the huts had been replaced with groups of guys standing around, some huddled around burning trash cans. I never felt unsafe or threaten as I walked through but it was far from a comfortable situation. The residents have never wanted Christiania to be only about the use of cannabis and since these incidences they have decided to move away from it, encouraging people to buy elsewhere.

Once through the group of buildings we walked along the embankments that ran next to the water. Christiania was at one time an operational military base for hundreds of years and has a number of sites under national heritage protection.

Christiania - The Troubles of a Freetown

Christiania within the city of Copenhagen

Houses continued all the way back to the waterside, some were old buildings that had been re-purposed, others were more make-shift, made from recycled materials crudely knocked together. It would have been nice to walk along the water, and even to the other side, but my trip was restricted by time, so we walked back to the road in search of Danish pastries.

Even now I still don’t know exactly why the people of Christiania are allowed to in habit such a large area of Copenhagen, and with the growing need for development how much longer it will exist, but I think it is great in this modern world that there is a place where people can build their own society and community with values of their own.  And that is something to see and experience.

Christiania - The Troubles of a Freetown

Further Reading: 

Paradise lost: does Copenhagen’s Christiania commune still have a future? was helpful read when learning about the community and the problems it had faced.

Read more about the Darker Side of Tourism which Christiania would be a contender.

Grundtvig’s Church

Last weekend I visited Copenhagen for the first time and one of the highlights was my visit to Grundtvig’s Church in the Bispebjerg district.

Only 15 minutes bus ride from Copenhagen central station, the church is a rare example of expressionist church architecture. The construction of a church, in the name of  hymn writer N.F.S Grundtvig, was decided in 1913 after a competition won by Peder Vihelm Jensen-Klint.

Grundtvig's Church

After the death of Klint in 1930 his son Kaare Klint took over construction and the church was finished in 1940, nineteen years after the foundations were laid.

Once the construction of the church was agreed it was to be the center of a new neighborhood and the surrounding houses were built around it in the same yellow brick.

My trip to the church was remarkable. Only a short distance from town the church seem to be far enough away that it saw little visitors, or at least during my visit, there was only a handful of people during the time I was there. The emptiness of the church only added value to the experience and allowed plenty of uninterrupted time for photographs.

Between the Blocks

Between the Blocks

Sculpture of Helsinki #19

From top to bottom is a memorial to Finland’s second president, Lauri Kristian Relander (1883-1942), and is situated in the Töölö neighborhood. The sculptor was Matti Peltokangas and he was the winning entry in competition for a memorial. The four blocks are much bigger than they look, each side is just over 2 meters with the grooves cut in opposite directions on each side.

You can find almost 500 outdoor sculptures, pieces of environmental art and historical monuments in Helsinki and they are accessible to everyone. See more and search through the database at HAMhelsinki.fi.