Maybe you were one of those tourists who hadn’t heard much about Estonia and expected to find it looking trashy with Lenin statues everywhere and people working in the fields in the middle of the city. Were you disappointed because it actually looked cute, clean and nice? You might have even known a little bit more about Estonia but were still disappointed when you didn’t find so many Soviet remains. Here’s a list of where to get a glimpse of Soviet Estonia.
Where to eat?
There aren’t many Soviet places left but one of them is definitely Energia Cafe close to Viru Shopping Centre. It’s a café where you can also meet people who have lived most of their lives during Soviet occupation. If my grandma lived in Tallinn, she would come here. The food is absolutely not delicious but at least you’ll be introduced to kiluvõileib (sprat-fish sandwich).
You can find modern Soviet cuisine at the popular Must Puudel café. It’s typically a hipster place although everyone is welcome here. There’s 100% (hopefully) Soviet furniture, old magazines and western music (something that was definitely lacking in Soviet Estonia).
Where to party?
This is another area that’s not so alive anymore, however there’s one super authentic bar/nightclub behind Balti Jaam market. They play Russian music and have very tacky decorations including animal fur and blinking lights. If you’re brave like a lion, then be sure to check out Kolm Lõvi – it literally means three lions.
Sinilind (“bluebird” in Estonian) is a cute café and a popular party place. During the day it’s a cosy restaurant/café and at night it transforms into a great party venue with the best dance parties and live gigs in Tallinn. The dance room used to be a popular cinema in Soviet Estonia until the mega cinema complexes took over.
What to see?
Located in Viru Hotel, this is a highly entertaining museum where you can get to know what life was like for tourists in Tallinn – how they were controlled and eavesdropped on by the KGB.
Do you want to know what Khrutshchef did with the whole Soviet Union in the 70s? There was a large-scale housing program where all Soviet cities were filled with houses that looked identical – five and nine story buildings with very small kitchens and corridors. You can see it nicely set in Õismäe where the landscape architecture is hip and the buildings stand in a circle. If you’d like to experience it on an even bigger scale go to Lasnamäe and get lost.
Here you’ll find interesting exhibitions that offer a fairly comprehensive overview of Estonia’s recen
t history. As the collection includes items from the everyday lives of Soviet citizens as well as war artefacts, the museum appeals to curious visitors and history buffs alike.
If you’d like to get out of Tallinn and see some Soviet military towns while sitting in the cockpit of an old Soviet army vehicle, take a day trip with Traveller to Paldiski and its surrounds. You’ll also see some great Estonian nature including a waterfall and coastal limestone cliffs.
How to find those cool Soviet places?