Russian Trip to Tallinn, Estonia
By Milly Saber
On Friday 20th October, 2023, eleven students and three members of staff set off to Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, from Luton airport. We spent three days in the city, doing a range of activities which you can read all about below.
On the first day in Tallinn, we had a guided walking tour around Tallinn Old Town with a local tour guide, and we got to see how beautiful the city really was. This was on Saturday (the following day after we landed), and we were told that not many Estonian people are awake on Saturday mornings due to the city’s exuberant weekly nightlife.
Later that day, we visited the Kadriorg Palace, which was founded by the Russian Tsar Peter the Great in 1718 and was named Kadriorg in honour of his wife Catherine. Then, we visited the actual house of Peter the Great, where he and his wife Catherine stayed on their visits to Tallinn.
In the evening, we had a marzipan workshop, where we moulded and painted our own marzipan figures. It was so much fun! The day concluded with a lovely dinner at the hotel where we stayed.
The next day, we had another guided tour, this time by coach, which included a visit to the Soviet Monuments in Maarjamae Palace. The palace was built dedicated to the fallen soldiers defending the Soviet Union. There was a wall at the palace which had holes in it, and if you looked into one, you would see a photo of one of the fallen soldiers.
We had lunch at the PROTO Invention Factory, along with a guided tour. If you have ever imagined what it would have been like to drive the world’s first car, locomotive, or hot air balloon, the PROTO Invention Factory is the only place to go! It is quite literally ‘the only‘ place to go, as it is unique in Europe, and is only in Estonia! With the help of some Virtual Reality headsets, students (and teachers!) were able to experience what it would be like to fly, drive hot air balloons and do many more fantastic things that could not be experienced anywhere else!
Lastly, we had a pelmeni (dumplings) making masterclass, and we ate our pelmeni for dinner afterwards, after the starter, which was borsch (beetroot soup)! Although the teacher was quite strict in the beginning, it is safe to say that all students and teachers left the masterclass with a smile on their faces!
Third Day (last day):
The final day in Tallinn started with a two hour long Russian Language class. Students were sorted into two groups depending on their level, and it was the perfect opportunity to brush up on some forgotten bits of grammar and vocabulary, as well as a bit of singing and dancing for the higher group!
We had lunch in the Viru Shopping Centre, and then headed off to the Viru Hotel and KGB Museum. Students and teachers learnt about the two different worlds both hidden inside the same one building – one world which was made up of happy Soviet Citizens living in peace, harmony and friendship led by an all-powerful group of men, and the other very contrasting world, which was a much tougher place to live in.
From 13th March 1954 until 3rd December 1991, The KGB was the main security agency for the Soviet Union and stood for Комитет Государственной Безопасности (The Committee for State Security).
Carrying out internal security, foreign intelligence, counter-intelligence and secret police functions, it was the chief government agency of “union-republican jurisdiction”. Similar agencies operated in each of the republics of the Soviet Union aside from the Russian SFSR, where the KGB was headquartered, with many associated ministries, state committees and state commissions.
The agency was a military service governed by army laws and regulations, in the same fashion as the Soviet Army or the MVD Internal Troops.Its main functions were foreign intelligence, counter-intelligence, operative-investigative activities, guarding the state border of the USSR, guarding the leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the Soviet Government, organization and security of government communications as well as combating nationalist, dissident, religious and anti-Soviet activities.
In the evening, we went to yet another outstanding restaurant and ate chicken kievs, which were cooked using the traditional Ukrainian recipe. After that, we went back to the hotel to get on a coach to take us back to the airport in Tallinn.
Here are a few photos from our trip:
A few images of Tallinn Old Town
A painting on the ceiling of the Kadriorg Palace
The house of Peter the Great
A Soviet Monument in Maarjamae Palace
The PROTO Invention Factory