The home of the world’s first Christmas tree, Estonia’s capital, Tallinn, this year hosts its 10th Christmas market since the tradition was revived in post-Soviet times and is already heralded as being one of Europe’s top ten Chrstimas Markets.
For the first time in 2010, Tallinn will host two Christmas markets. One in the heart of the pictureque medieval Old Town Square (9am – 7pm daily) from November 27th 2010 – 9th January 2011, the other in the Rotermann Square (10am – 7pm daily) in the former industrial quarter, where ancient brick warehouses and chimneys rub shoulders with towering steel and glass offices and commercial buildings.
Both markets will house traditional style wooden stalls, offering items made by Estonian craftsmen with up to 200,000 visitors expected to visit to this picturesque, snowy city that nestles on the Gulf of Finland in the north of Estonia.
With temperatures barely hitting zero, the city comes alive with festive llights and music, while Tallinn’s spires and tall medieval houses create a frosty, white-tinged setting. Stallholders sell felt hats and slippers, buckwheat pillows, wooden bowls and artefacts, wickerwork, beautiful hand-sewn quilts, ceramics and glassware, sea-grass animals, home-made candles, Christmas wreaths, knitted hats, scarves and traditional cardigans. The scent of hot mulled wine will fill the air, along with the appetising aromas of Estonian holiday foods that include pork, sauerkraut, blood sausages, hot soups, gingerbread, marzipan, honey, cookies, nuts and sweets.
Activities for children include a mini zoo, with sheep, rabbits and goats, a slide, a calendar of events each weekend, and Santa’s elves will help children find the Santa House with a post office and reindeer, from where to post their Christmas letters.
Appropriately enough Tallinn was the site of the world’s first Christmas tree, which was central to a ritual begun in 1441, when unmarried merchants sang and danced with local girls around a tree, which they then burned!
Tallinn’s Christmas market, 19th November 2010 – 9th January 2011