Old Town Days in a changing town.
This year, Tallinn Old Town Days take place for the 35th time and bear a playful slogan full of possibilities – “Changing town”.
Change in its broadest sense is the keyword of modern times. The world is changing, conditions and customs are changing and so are people. We live in constant change, sometimes fearing it, sometimes waiting for it, sometimes not noticing it.
The organising team of Old Town Days invites everyone to notice, muse on and discover the past as well as think of the future in the Old Town. We live and work in a cultural space that values the legacy of those who came before us. The Old Town carries the thoughts of our ancestors.
We invite you today to capture the moment in which to look back as well as ahead.
What will be taking place in these colourful days from 1st to 5th June, when doors burst open to welcome summer, schools are drawing to an end and holiday plans are in the air? As in previous years, each day has its specific theme.
1st June and “Changing stories”. To celebrate Children’s Day, we focus on children and youth and their activities in the Old Town. There will be fun processions, legends and guided tours introducing the Old Town; there will be circus, games and dancing. In addition, an opinion poll of a more serious nature – “Where do we play today?” – asks if the children of today have anything to do in the Old Town. The poll is conducted by Hometown House (Kodulinna Maja).
The Children’s Area, located in Hirvepark this year, is worth stopping by every day. The grandiose gala concert in the Town Hall Square in the evening will bring to mind the early years of the festival, evoking great moments and welcoming in the summer.
On 2nd June, the Day of Gates, we will mark the places in the Old Town where town gates used to be. Town gates were carefully guarded. Here is where one world ended and another one began. It is difficult to even imagine the grandeur of Harju Gate or Nunne Gate at the time. A nearly five-hour concert walking tour with historians, accompanied by choir music, creates an opportunity to glance at the world of gates.
3rd June is the Day of Toompea. Our gaze moves upwards from lower town to Toompea, which has not always been part of the Old Town Days. This time we will watch films and learn more about the fascinating history of Toompea. Many of the numerous administrative agencies at Toompea open their oaken doors to the public and offer a chance to look around, among others the Riigikogu, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Academy of Sciences as well as the Hungarian Institute and Tallinn Ballet School. Exciting concerts take place at Toompea.
On 4th June, towers of the town wall will open their doors. We will have a great opportunity to see what goes on in the former defence structures today. Over time, some towers have taken on a new appearance and function; others remain quite as they used to be. The towers host numerous exhibitions, guided tours, concerts and theatre shows. Kadri Voorand’s concert on the roof of Fat Margaret’s Tower brings the day to a beautiful close.
5th June – “Changing human”. The closing day of Old Town Days invites all to join in three different discussions led by Hannes Hermaküla to think and talk about our core values and existence. All churches in the Old Town invite guests to take part in their activities and daily business.
Another event inviting us to think about the future is titled “Old Town today: a theme park or living environment?” The conference, which is no less than international this year, takes place on 3rd June. Participants of the discussion include Mart Kalm, Rector of the Estonian Academy of Arts; Riin Alatalu, head of the manor schools programme of the Ministry of Culture; architect Üllar Mark; Aigar Palsner, head of the urban environment department of Tallinn City Centre Administration; representatives of Tallinn’s twin cities Riga and Carcassonne, who introduce their experience in world heritage preservation and development.
Of course, the Old Town will be filled with music, theatre shows and a vast museums programme, exhibitions, guided tours and art projects. There will be folk as well as pop and jazz music, fun guests from the Commedia School in Denmark, renowned jazz musicians from Saint Petersburg, traders, art and handicraft.
The comprehensive programme of the Old Town Days will be published on 1st May at www.vanalinnapaevad.ee. Programme booklets will be available a week before the festival at Rahva Raamat bookstores, information hall of Tallinn City Government, Tallinn Tourist Information Centre and Tallinn City Centre Administration.
Welcome to the changing Old Town!
XXXIV Tallinn Old Town Days “Masters trough centuries”
We have found from Küllike Kaplinski book “Tallinn – meistrite linn” (Koolibri 1995) different Tallinn’s ancient craft movements and organization’s stamps. The pictures on them illustrates the association with the work properties and the worker’s tools or the final product.
Ancient craftsmen organisation’s signs
Arts and crafts movements
Previous Tallinn Old Town Days
Tallinn Old Town Days have been organized since 1982 and they signify the festivities for the Old Town to celebrate the beginning of summer. These celebrations fill yards, squares, streets, coffee shops and halls with music, art, theater and variations of many bigger and smaller activities take place.
Every year Tallinn Old Town Days follows a different slogan , which also inspires the theme of the festival. This year’s motto is “The Living Streets of the Old Town”. The streets of the old town are getting even more car-free. As a result it is more pleasurable to spend time and walk on the old town streets. This gives us a chance to organize performances in the streets that were important in the old town history. We will bring the visitors to the streets which are not known that well.
Throughout the event days, the streets are filled with people who are wearing ancient clothes to create an ancient environment. The visitors of the old town can take part of that tradition by buying costumes from local market in Harju street which will be held throughout the event period.
We hope to see tourists from all over the world and make coming to Tallinn Old Town Days an activity that will become a habit! We recommend booking the transportation and accommodation beforehand, because the need for such services are highly demanded at our event period.
Ooh, we almost forgot to mention, most of the events are free for everybody – you just need to get here! See you in Tallinn Old Town Days!