Tallinn: Old Town in Depth - Part 42

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Tallinn: Old Town in Depth - Part 42

Shopping in Tallinn

With so many cruise ship tourists inundating Tallinn, the Old Town is full of trinkets, but it is possible to find good quality stuff. Wooden goods, like butter knives and juniper-wood trivets, are a good value. Marvel at the variety of booze on sale in Tallinn’s liquor stores, popular with visiting Scandinavians. Tucked into the Old Town are many craft and artisan shops where prices are lower than in Nordic countries.

The “Sweater Wall” is a fun place to browse sweaters and woollens, though few are hand knitted by grandmothers these days. Find the stalls under the wall on Müürivahe Street, open daily 10:00-17:00, near the corner of Viru street. From there, explore Katariina Käik, a small alley between Müürivahe and Vene streets, which has several handicraft stores and workshops selling pieces that make nice souvenirs.

The cheery Navitrolla Gallerii is filled with work by the well-known Estonian artist who goes just by the name Navitrolla. His whimsical, animal-themed prints are vaguely reminiscent of Where the Wild Things Are. It’s open from Mon-Fri 10:00-18:00, Sat 10:00-17:00, Sun 10:00-16:00, Sulevimägi 1.

The Rahva Raamat bookstore in the Viru Keskus mall, floors 3-4, high up in the glass atrium has an English language literature on the main floor and a huge wall of travel books upstairs.

Balti Jaam Market, Tallinn’s bustling traditional market, is behind the train station and has little of touristic interest besides wonderful photo ops. Which is why I like it. It’s a great time warp scene, fragrant with dill, berries, onions, and mushrooms. You’ll hear lots of Russian spoken here. The indoor sections sell meat, clothing, and gadgets. You could also assemble a very rustic picnic here. To find the market from the train station, just walk across the head of the train platforms, following Jaama Turg signs and keep going. It’s open Mon-Fri 8:00-18:00, Sat-Sun 8:00-17:00.

For something tamer, the Viru Turg outdoor market, a block outside the Old Town’s Viru Gate, has a lively, tourist-oriented collection of stalls selling mostly clothing, textiles, and flowers, open daily May-Sept 9:00-17:00, Oct-April 10:00-16:00, north of Viru street at Mere Puiestee 1.

Most shops in the Old Town and department stores throughout the city are open seven days a week, and major credit cards are widely accepted.

In Tallinn, folk traditions exist alongside the contemporary. You can find some of the most amazing art pieces, exclusively made, with traditional skills. The most unique Estonian souvenirs are lovingly-made handicrafts.

Continued in part 43

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