Tallinn, Estonia, is probably not one of the first places that comes to mind when considering the notion of time travel – but that may soon change. There may be no town on planet Earth that does the whole looking back thing better than Tallinn, particularly at their very unique Estonian Open Air Museum.
Hidden away in the beautiful Kopli Bay area, this chilly, snow-blanketed open woodland hides a wonderful secret – it showcases a number of classical Estonian buildings, each of them taken apart, shipped here from all around the country and then painstakingly rebuilt using the original materials.
Visiting the open air museum requires setting out from the bus station in Tallinn’s old town for a short, 20 minute ride into the countryside. Upon leaving the city you are quickly confronted with a stark, timeless landscape of sparse forest and snowcapped hills as far as the eye can see, a landscape that has changed little for millennia.
Arriving at our destination our travel back in time begins at the museum’s entrance, which also serves as the starting point for our circuit around the museum.
Upon paying our 3 Euro entrance fee, we decide to turn left not right, and set out across a good footpath through sparse woodland, coming across a clearing where we find a number of traditional buildings.
These are just the first of many quintessential Estonian structures, ranging from stone houses and wooden huts, to barns, saunas and even some interesting fishing net storage facilities.
Meanwhile, the most charming discovery on our walk through the forest has to be the classic Estonian windmills – rickety, dilapidated looking things they are but also quite unlike anything you will have seen before – and believe it or not, they do work!
The walk is an easy one, and when the weather is better it would definitely be a fantastic spot for a picnic. You can also take rides through the park on a traditional horse and cart, with a driver dressed up in period garb.
They even have an ancient bakery here, with suitably attired staff members busying away baking traditional Estonian cakes. Come to the Estonian Open Air Museum by Tallinn and discover a taste of the past.