Tallinn's Christmas market became a yearly tradition in
2001; but, it has already established itself as amongst the best-visited Christmas markets in Europe. Certainly what it lacks in tradition it makes up for in atmosphere and ambiance.
Starting on the first day of the advent (normally last weekend in November), Tallinn's Town Hall Square (Raekoja plats) becomes
busy with more than 50 merchant stalls where visitors and locals admire and purchase products by artisans from all over Estonia. Surrounding an enormous Christmas tree
decorated with with lights and colorful decorations, these vendors sell a variety of original products including felted wool hats and slippers, buckwheat pillows, wooden bowls, wickerwork, elaborate quilts, ceramic and glassware, little sea-grass animals (so Estonian), homemade candles, wreaths and other decorations.
Traditional Estonian folklore groups put
on shows featuring singing and dancing
and are common on the cobble stoned square
daily especially on the the weekends.
Traditional Estonian holiday food is also served: pork, sauerkraut and blood sausages, hot soups, stir-fries. Other traditional treats include gingerbread, marzipan, various local honeys, cookies, nuts and sweets. Hot mulled wine poured from large wooden barrels keeps the crowds warm as well as
the children friendly Santa Claus who
wanders by stirring up his own brand of Christmas
cheer - ho ho ho!
Estonia's medieval capital is inherently festive, particularly under the
blanket of snow that the northern
latitude brings each December. Although
the outside temperature does drop quite drastically
(into the 10's and even lower below 0) this time of year, the city's
carnival atmosphere and hot wine tends to
hide the chill.
All in all, it's a glorious spectacle worth experiencing, with so much Christmas spirit for the whole family.
Lots of gifts abound and you are sure to find something for everyone.