February 22, 2013

0306, 0517 ESTONIA (Harju) - Historic Centre of Tallinn (UNESCO WHS)

0306 Historic Centre of Tallinn (1)

Posted on 12.08.2012, 22.02.2013
Closely related to the Finns, the neighbors to the north, from beyond the Gulf of Finland, and not to Balts from the south or to Russians from the east, Estonians consider their country a "distinct Nordic country", and not a Baltic one, although geographically belongs to the Baltic region. Despite the fact that they were always least numerous (in nowadays living in Estonia just over 1 million speakers of Estonian), and their lands were, for centuries, a battleground for Denmark, Germany, Russia, Sweden and Poland, the estonians preserved their national identity. In addition, perhaps because it was the last corner of Europe Christianized (in 12th and 13th centuries, following the Baltic Crusades), Estonia is one of the least religious countries in the world, with 75.7% of the population claiming to be irreligious.

0517 Historic Centre of Tallinn (2)

Tallinn, known as Reval from the 13th century until the 1920s and located on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, 80km south of Helsinki, is the capital and largest city of Estonia. Although has only about 400,000 inhabitants, it's ranked as a global city and has been listed among the top 10 digital cities in the world. As an important port for trade between Russian principalities and Scandinavia, it became a target for the Teutonic Knights and the Kingdom of Denmark in the beginning of the 13th century, being annexed by Danes in 1219, along with Northern Estonia. In 1285 the city became the northernmost member of the Hanseatic League, and in 1346 was sold to the Teutonic Knights. In 1561 Tallinn became a dominion of Sweden, which it lost in favor of Russia in 1710. Estonia gained its independence in 1920, but in 1940 was annexed by the Soviet Union, then by Nazi Germany in 1941, and again by the Soviet Union in 1944. In August 1991 was re-established an independent democratic Estonian state.

The first fortress was built in Tallinn on 1050 on Toompea (in first image), a limestone hill in the central part of the current city, known in folklore as the tumulus mound over the grave of King Kalev, erected in his memory by his grieving wife. In the foreground can be seen Toompea Castle (in Estonian Toompea loss, in Latin Castrum Danorum, which means Danish Castle), which is today the seat of Riigikogu (the Parliament of Estonia). The castle complex is made up of parts built in different periods: the west wall and the Tall Hermann (Pikk Hermann) tower (the first on the front), belonging to the medieval fortress of the Order of the Brothers of the Sword; the Government Administration building represents the Czarist era; and the building of the Riigikogu, in the castle courtyard, built in the beginning of the 1920s.

In right is Castle Square (Lossi plats), where is the Orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral (the fourth dedicated to this saint which I have, after the Cathedral of Novosibirsk, the church of Kobryn, and the Lavra of Saint Petersburg), build between 1894 and 1900. Slightly further back, aproximatively in the center of the photo, is the Lutheran Cathedral, or Saint Mary's Cathedral (Toomkirik), the oldest church in Tallinn and mainland Estonia, originally build by Danes on 13th century and became Lutheran in 1561, the only building in Toompea which survived a 17th century fire.

The spire that can be seen in removed plan is of the Saint Olaf's Church (Oleviste kirik), the most prominent feature of the Tallinn skyline, built in the 13th century. It became the tallest building in the world around 1500, when the steeple was raised to 159m. Several lightning strikes and burnings-down later and the modest height of 123.7m was settled on. The church was named after the Norwegian King Olav II Haraldsson, but a legend says that Olav is the name of the builder, whon upon its completion, fell from atop the spire.

Most of the buildings in Toompea date from the 18th and 19th centuries, other notable sites including the building of the Government of Estonia (The Stenbock House) and the building of the Estonian Knighthood. Toompea is also the location of several foreign embassies, and since 1997 is also part of the Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The pair of picturesque towers shown in the second postcard is located at the beginning of Viru Street (one of the main pedestrian arteries into Old Town), and marks the passage from the old to the new town (picture is taken from the Old Town). The towers are actually only the foregates of what was a much more complex gate system built in the 14th century. It included a large, square tower that stood father back along the street, close to where the city wall can be seen. Most of the gate was pulled down in the 1880s to make room for traffic, but these two towers remained and have since become a symbol of the town.

About the stamps:
On the postcard 0306

The first stamp on the left, designed by Lembit Lõhmus, was issued on January 17, 2007, and illustrates Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare), the only species of daisies which is found in Estonia.

The second stamp depict Saint Catherine’s Church of Pärnu (Pärnu Katarijna Kirik), build by Catherine II of Russia in 1760. Designed by Riho Luuse, it was issued on March 3, 2010.

The third and the fourth are part of the series Estonian Fauna. Each year, Eesti Post issue a stamp from this series, designed by Sándor Stern.
2005.01.25 The Beaver / Castor fiber (0.28 EUR) - It's on the postcard 0306
2007.03.22 The Badger / Meles meles (0.28 EUR) - It's on the postcard 0306
2015.08.25 The Otter / Lutra lutra (0.55 EUR) - It's on the postcard 2092

On the postcard 0517
Because the second postcard was send from Germany, not from Estonia, from the 3rd International Postcrossing Meet-up (Bielefeld, 18-21.10.2012 - thank you very much, Genek), has german stamps. The first from the bottom part is part of the series Blumen, about which I wrote here.

The other one belongs to the series Post - Autumn in Germany, issued on August 6, 2012. As in previous years, in 2012 this series has a total of four stamps, with four different output days (January, March, May, September). They present universal themes that suit varied occasions and writing are attractive Frankaturmöglichkeiten. The theme of the current issue is "Holiday in Germany" and thus addresses a time when the experience has shown that very many letters and postcards written.

This is a post for Sunday Stamps #83, run by Viridian from Viridian’s Postcard Blog. The theme of this week is animals. Click on the button to visit Viridian’s blog and all the other participants.

Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn - UNESCO official site
Toompea - Wikipedia
Stamps - Eesti Post

Sender 0306: Ellaa (postcrossing)
Sent from Tallinn (Estonia), on 03.08.2012
Photo: Toomas Vendelin
Sender 0517: Genek and the postcrossers who participated to the meet-up which held on Bielefeld (North-Rhine Westphalia / Germany) on 22.10.2012


  1. We seem to have several stamps of rodents in this week's sunday Stamps! thanks for sharing the information about estonia. and thank you for participating.

  2. I've put up a stamp of the badger as well. There is a move intended to reintroduce the beaver into the UK.
    I had castles as a theme inthis years April A-Z blog so am always interested in details of castles.