Finally, the city itself. I’d come here looking for the sites Tarkovsky had used in his film, Stalker but instead found a place uneasy about its past but focused on the future with an energy I’d never have guessed at.
Originally a fortress, it ended up as a prison during the Soviet era. There is an aura about this place that feels sorrowful.
Gutted I couldn’t get in although when I visited, there was someone there. The exterior hides a remarkable interior, the photo essay at https://failedarchitecture.com/photo-essay-how-long-is-the-life-of-a-building-tallinns-linnahall/ shows it off well.
Immediately adjacent to the memorial featured in yesterday’s post is this. Built during the Soviet occupation to commemorate the Russian and Estonian soldiers that died in World War II, as well as the sailors in two warships. The crosses were added later as a memorial to the fallen Germans. My understanding that the decision to site the soviet memorial here was another example of the cultural imperialism typical of the USSR in that it was built directly on top of an earlier, Estonian, commemorative site.
Between 17th June 1940 and 20th August 1991 Estonia was occupied by the communist regime. During that time, a million people were lost – about a fifth of the population – of those, about 75000 were murdered, imprisoned or deported. The scale of this horror is reflected in the size and structure of the monument. Tranquil, respectful, dignified and imposing. https://www.memoriaal.ee/en/memorial/
No point in having the Olympics if no one can see what’s going on. So this was built and did the job well.
Imagine the impact arriving at the 1980 Olympics, ready to compete, and being greeted by this. Squat and intimidating in its power, this was the Olympic village. Now part of a spa and hotel complex, it sits at the edge of the Gulf of Finland.
In protest at the invasion of Afghanistan, most of the NATO allies boycotted the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. This is one of the first overtly political acts I remember becoming aware of as I grew up, the other being the anti-aparteid protests. The USSR ploughed on regardless, with the sailing taking place just outside Tallinn in Estonia. I find the Soviet take on the Olympic symbol amusing in a cheeky way.
So, off to Amsterdam with bodies, lenses and a new Ultimate Lens Hood and a suction cap based window mount for night based cityscape pictures. I’ve mapped out about a dozen locations, some of them brutal, some not. There will be at least an afternoon spent around the Eye Film Museum which I think might be my favourite building on the entire planet.
Also considering a day out to Rotterdam as well to look at some of the really severe architecture there.
I should also mention that I’m sad and angry about the UK departure from the EU and this has had a huge influence on my decision to come here, now. I’ll be abroad as we leave and there’s a large part of me that wants to find a way to stay, as feel that England is leaving me, not the other way around.
Came across this article while looking for sites to visit. As usual with me, it brings something to the front of my mind which had been lurking but not in a form anywhere near as clearly defined as this..