The Tale of Tallinn’s most famous Christmas Tree

Source: Kaupo Kalda

The Tale of Tallinn’s most famous Christmas Tree

You might not know it, but Tallinn is home to one of Europe's oldest holiday traditions - setting out a Christmas tree in the Town Hall Square. It is just one reason that Tallinn was named the Best Christmas Market in Europe in 2019, and has remained a top holiday pick as one of Europe's safest Christmas destinations

The History of Tallinn's Famous Tree

No Christmas Market is complete without the Christmas Tree

Photo by Visit Estonia

Legend has it that the first Christmas tree was brought to Tallinn in 1441 by the Brotherhood of the Blackheads, a Livonian merchant association. If this is true, that would make it the first Christmas tree placed in a town square in all of Europe. Although the claim is debated by the city of Riga, where a similar tradition was started by the Brotherhood of the Blackheads at around the same time. The ceremony of carrying the tree into the heart of Tallinn became quite an affair over time, attracting such nobility as Peter the Great, Emperor of Russia, who participated in the event in 1711.

Each year, the centre of the holiday magic is Tallinn's Town Hall Square and the Christmas tree is its crown jewel. An annual contest is held to look for the most beautiful spruce tree in all of Estonia to become the market's centrepiece. After being selected, the tree is decorated with thousands of lights. The city centre itself is home to nearly 100 different lighting solutions each winter. The Adam Decolight factory in Rapla, Estonia produces many of the lights for the Christmas tree as well as for streets, malls and airports around the world from London to Macau. 

Shopping and festivities in Tallinn Old Town

A Christmas market is the best way to feel the spirit of the season 

Photo by Kaupo Kalda

This year, you can catch the Christmas festivities at the Tallinn Christmas from 26 Nov 2021 until 2 Jan 2022. If you're staying a while, you can check out the Christmas programmes of the Old Town's museums and attractions, admire urban art and light installations, or take a tour. Local artisans and designers are selling presents, or you can even try making your own handicrafts or sweets in a workshop.

Of course, there are plenty of Christmas markets and events happening throughout Estonia, so you can enjoy the mirth and merriment no matter what!

Last updated : 26.11.2021

In category: Tallinn, History & culture, Shopping