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.

A visit to Porkkala and 1950’s Era Russia

I was lucky enough to accompany Global Degree and Day With A Local on a tour of the Porkkala region in Southern Finland as part of a YouTube series that will be released next year.

After catching an early train from Helsinki we arrived in Kirkkonummi where we were driven to Sjundby Manor. When we pulled up and exited the van an elderly man in uniform approached us speaking only in Russian. With little knowledge of exactly where we were the Global Degree team looked at me and our guide for help but none came. For all they knew we could have actually been in Russia, if this had between 1944- 1956 we would have been.

A visit to Porkkala and 1950's Era Russia

Sjundby Castle

After the conclusion of the Second World War the area of Porkkala was leased to Russia for fifty years but fortunately it was returned after only eleven. The area was of a tactical advantage to Russia as it was the narrowest and shallowest stretch of water between Finland and Estonia, allowing them to closely monitor and secure the passage to St Petersburg.

Once the agreement had been made the whole area had to be evacuated in just nine days, over 7000 residents, 8000 domestic animals, as well as any crops and vegetables. At first not even trains could pass through the newly acquired area, but after 1947 they were finally  permitted but the shutters had to be pulled down to cover the windows.

A visit to Porkkala and 1950's Era Russia

After a brief view of the castle we were directed to a slightly more interesting building in my opinion. Between the road and the river there was a building covered in Russian text preserved for more than fifty years. Our Russian officer, now speaking in English, explained to us about the area and its history before posing for some Soviet era photographs.

A visit to Porkkala and 1950's Era Russia

The landscape of Porkkala had changed, what had once been an agricultural landscape was transformed by the Russians into a heavily fortified military facility. It is thought that 20,000 military personnel and about 10,000 civilians occupied the area during those eleven years.

It was now that we travelled a little further and saw what was remaining of the fortifications that had been built. An entrance to a bunker hidden from the road. It continued meters underground but the roof had collapsed making it now inaccessible. There is thought to be many more in the area, some have been found but others have not so it is difficult to estimate how many exactly were built.

Here it wasn’t only the bunker that was of interest but the area surrounding it that had once been a barracks with a fully operating crematorium, our guide added, *”Still no one knows what they were burning there.”

A visit to Porkkala and 1950's Era Russia

As we drove through the region there was little evidence and even less that you would have noticed without being pointed in the right direction. Many of the houses had been left to decay after the residence moved out in 1944, little of who returned, and it was only in recent years that development in the area had really begun.

It was an incredibly interesting area with a history that I had never discovered until now even though it is only 19km from Helsinki. One of the most memorable stories of the day was of two seventeen year old boys that accidentally sailed into the area and were picked up by a Russian patrol and imprisoned.  After a few days they thought they were being released and taken back to Helsinki by train but they ended up in a death camp in Siberia where they were put to work for a number of years.

Next stop, Fiskars Village. Post coming soon!

Further Reading:

I highly recommend the article Seven Years Sailing about the two boys who ended up in Siberia after an innocent sailing trip.

Scorched Earth, World War II in Lapland

Thanks to Porkkala Travel for hosting us, more information about the region and how to visit can be found on their website porkkala.net

New Horizon

 

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, Finland

Over the last year I have been concentrating much more on my photography and would like to continue you doing so over the year, and possibly, the years to come. So I have decided with the help of this challenge to post a photograph a day during next year.

What is your challenge for next year?

Lately I have been photographing the Russian Cathedral in Helsinki frequently and you can see another angle HERE.

Sculptures of Helsinki #7

World Peace

The sculpture World Peace was donated by the City of Moscow as part of the Cities’ Friendship and cultural exchange program. The five statues represent the five continents and raise their hands in solidarity for world peace, above them a globe decorated by foliage. Designed by Oleg Kirjuhin and unveiled in 1990, the sculpture stands at over 6 meters tall.

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.

Palace Square

Palace Square is a large open square surrounded by historical building in the center of St Petersburg.  There are a number of key landmarks in the square; Alexandar Column, Winter Palace, the General Staff Building and the Guard Corps Headquarters.  In the photograph below the general Staff Building and Alexandar Column are visible.

Alexandar Column is a single red marble slab and creates a tower 47m high, the highest of its kind anywhere in the world. The General Staff Building forms an arch on the southern side of the square and faces the Winter Palace. Joining the two buildings is a decorative arch topped with the Goddess of Victory riding a chariot to represent the victory over Napoleon in 1812.

In 1905 the square was the site of the Bloody Sunday Massacre that would eventually result in the Russian Revolution of 1917.

See the archway in more detail in my gallery from St Petersburg.

Palace Square

Palace Square, St Petersburg

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood in St Petersburg was built on the site where Alexander II was wounded resulting in his death in March 1881. While travelling passed this area a gernade was thrown under the carriage of Alexander II, it was a secondary blast that mortally wounded him. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, his son, and finished in 1907 under Nicholas II.

© Our Shadows Will Remain

For more from my travels in Russia see my post St Petersburg.