“ Town Hall Square in Tallinn, Estonia. „
Town Hall Square in Tallinn is quite obviously right beside the city's Town Hall (otherwise it would be named very strangely). The square's actual name though is Raekoja Plats, which is mainly used by locals and not tourists. The square itself can be found right in the middle of Old Town and is extremely hard to miss.
Around the edges of Raekoja Plats are numerous shops, cafes and restaurants. While visiting Tallinn, my sister and I tended to eat at places wherever we got hungry so unfortunately, we didn't get to experience the food or drinks in any of these wonderful looking places. Luckily for them, that didn't seem to be the case for many other tourists. Each restaurant or café window that we walked past showed us that there were people eating in all of them and as we visited the square in the middle of the day, most of them were pretty full anyway. Now, I don't know whether this was tourists or locals but as long as the businesses are making money, I guess it doesn't really matter.
The square is also used as a market throughout the whole year. During the summer months, there are more traditional tourist items available for sale as well as a few different food items. The market, as well as gift shops in the square, is slightly more expensive than some of the shops that can be found down some of the narrower, more hidden streets. Depending on how much you care about saving money, shopping in the square is not the best idea as you can get better deals elsewhere. During the winter, there is also a market but with a Christmas theme. I would have loved to have been in Tallinn during that time to see what kinds of items you could buy.
The square is not just a place for shoppers though. Depending on what is happening in Tallinn, the square also hosts performances and concerts. Nothing was happening here during our visit to the city but it is well worth checking out tourism websites beforehand to see if there is anything happening. As anything is held in the square, events are free of charge and it would be a great way to experience traditional Estonian music.
The Town Hall (real name Tallinna Raekoda) is the main attraction of the square and was built over 600 years ago. From the date building was completely, this building has been used for the sole purpose of a town hall and never for anything else. Buildings over time can change what they are used for to keep up with modern times so it was nice to know that this one has never changed what it has been used for. Having its own tower that stands 130ft high means that from town hall, you can have amazing views of Old Town and part of Toompea. While it may not sound like much, there are roughly 100 steps to get to the top of the tower. However, the steps are not all the same size and the higher you get, the bigger and wider they are. Climbing up these steps is hard work once you get closer to the top so it's a great idea to pace yourself and not think that you will be able to race up them. The tower was the most interesting part of seeing the town hall for me. You are able to go up the tower from June to August but be prepared to pay again for this after your initial entrance fee to town hall.
The square is a good place to visit if you're walking by anyway but not somewhere I would recommend going out of your way for.