Saturday, December 16, 2017

Tallin 14. Narva and Soviet-bloc Architecture

On Saturday, my last day in Estonia, I went on a day trip to Narva  on the Russian border, visiting some of the Soviet towns en route. In 1940, Estonia was invaded by the Russians and became part of the Soviet Union. During the war they were invaded by Germany and then recaptured by the Russians - a time of great suffering to all the population. After the war, intensive industralisation took place in Estonia with the mining of oil rich shale and some uranium. In the late 1980s Communism began to unravel as Estonia fought for its independence. Russia recognized Estonian independence on 6 September 1991 and the last Russian troops left the country in 1994. In 2005, Estonia joined the EU.

It wasn't a photographic tour and the minibus had tinted and very dirty windows so I couldn't get any photos of the impressive factory complex and ash hills of Kohtla-Järve though we did stop to look at the 1952 Cultural centre (images 1 and 2). We had time to explore the amazing Stalinist architecture in Sillamäe (images 3,4,5,and 6) and a very brief visit to a nearby ghost town (images 7 and 8). We looked at the 19th century Kreenholm factory complex in Narva before exploring the Russian border and Narva Castle.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Wicken Fen Hen Harrier - Record of the Sighting

We enjoyed views of this male Hen Harrier and three Marsh Harriers on the Fen today but all too distant for Bird Photography. Here just an image for the records

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Tallinn 13. Viru District and Back through Old Town

I got off the tram at Viru where the new town meets the Old Town - colourful in the crimson sunset and as the lights came on. Walked back through the Christmas Market where children from the town were on stage singing

Tallinn 12. Maarjamäe Memorial and Pirita Front

On Friday, after Kadriorg Park, I headed for Pirita where there are a number of  'attractions' from the Soviet era including two that will have to await another visit - The TV Tower and the Olympic Yacht Centre.
I did visit the Estonian History Museum as I had heard about the old Soviet statues left to rot in the garden. However, the Museum was closed for rennovation and the back cordoned off though I could see that the statues have been tidied up and put on plinths. 
Image from Wikipaedia

Nearby is the Maarjamäe Memorial, a large Soviet-era monument consists of an elegant bowed obelisk set amid a large crumbling concrete plaza. The obelisk was erected in 1960 to commemorate the Soviet troops killed in 1918. The remainder of the complex was built in 1975 as a memorial to Red Army soldiers killed fighting the Nazis. It was built partly over a war cemetery housing 2300 German dead, dating from 1941. The cemetery was rededicated in 1998 and is now delineated by sets of triple granite crosses in the style common to German WWII military cemeteries throughout Europe. A grey day to visit this Memorial and the adjacent Pirita Promenade but, just as the light began to fail, the sky cleared to a beautiful sunset over Tallin city(next post).


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Sunny But Freezing Morning at Wimpole Estate

The Folly, lake and trees all looked great in the winter sunshine with a crusting of snow and ice. The sheep and Heron didn't look so pleased as their food was difficult to get at.

Tallinn 11. KUMU - Art Museum in Kadriorg Park

The designer of the building is Pekka Vapaavuori, a Finnish architect, with construction taking place between 2003 and 2006.
 The exhibitions are presented in chronological order starting from 18th century Estonian art (1st floor) to contemporary art (5th floor). They have permanent collections such as the Villu Jaanisoo' busts from 2006 and visiting Exhibitions including Andres Tolts' Landscape with Still Life inspired by the pop-art of the late 1960s. But mostly I enjoyed the architecture and people's interaction with it.  I spent a full morning in the museum. 

The Estonians are rightly proud of their Museum - here a quote from the brochure
Kumu’s role is to be both an educational and entertainment centre, a booster of art and artistic life, a place for reflection that carries a message of stability, a place that creates and provides experiences, and a creator and interpreter of meanings.

Ann Miles Photography - My Favourite Images of the Past10 years or so