Estonia: Of culture, Skype and staying power; Elizabeth Zach; Mercury News

Estonia – Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn

When I thought to visit Estonia, I came up short for guidebooks. I found collections on all three Baltic states, or else Estonia was lumped in with guides for Scandinavia.

It seemed to me, however, that this country deserved more, in part to recognize some intriguing contradictions. Estonia, I knew, was the birthplace of Skype technology. Tallinn, however, had last year been honored for its elegance and heritage, as a European Capital of Culture.

Then there were the stag parties I’d heard about, of Brits and Finns prowling Tallinn’s cheap bars, much like what one sees in Prague. Yet I’d also read that when you visit, you somehow feel the distress of Tallinn’s occupations, the triumph and thrill of its liberations. It’s on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and rightly so: Only one street of the Old Town was razed during German air raids in World War II, so much of what you see is what has been around since the 13th century, with careful restoration, obviously.

This city, in other words, has bones.

Source: Estonia: Of culture, Skype and staying power

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