Thursday, February 11, 2016

Estonian Travels - Tallinn Hansa Festival

After traipsing about the countryside, we returned to Tallinn for the Hansa Festival. 
Like any other sort of Ren Fest, except in a real medieval town square with castle spires and stone cathedrals everywhere. So nothing like a typical American Ren Fest.
 This section of castle towers and fortified wall is from one of the oldest periods of walling off Tallinn. (Each version expanded outwards.) Situated on the tallest part of the hill it a a bit of a walk to get up to from the outside.
 Ready for pouring boiling oil...

 It was quite a steep walk on the inside too! These old winding streets curve in narrow doorways and look down on the roofs of buildings below.
 Where does this lead to? (My gaming experience both urges me to explore every alleyway, and sees that this is the perfect place for an ambush!)
Still above most of the roofs, but not all! There are 15 churches in Olde Town, all at least 100 years old.
 However the realistic and authentic the Festival, there's always a few performers that are just for fun!

 There was also a handicraft market with a mix of very ancient techniques and modern art pieces. Look at all the different mitten patterns!
 Forged goodies, just perfect for your castle. To be fair, many folk here do live in castles...
 A variety of wooden goods were available. The crafters had come from many places - most were Estonian, but one of the woodcarvers was Sami, a spinner was Lithuanian, a jewelry maker from Latvia, there was even folk from Hungary! To be fair, in Europe those distances aren't so far - Estonia is about a quarter the size of Colorado.
 Dancers preparing for an old courtly dance, with live musicians! A variety of performers shared the stage all day.
 The hunter's wares. It took a mighty bit of willpower (and a reminder of the trouble with customs) to avoid buying everything here!
Because of the Festival there was a stage in the Town Square, but there is a Medieval restaurant (which only features authentic cuisine!) that has a permanent fixture in the streets. Musicians in period dress and instruments performed here as well.
 After enjoying all the outside options we then went inside, and still found plenty of rather historic sights. Like these painted 13th c. beams in the Art gallery.
 Or the lovely arched pillars of a former dungeon cellar at "No Reception" - a hip place to have a beer!

One need not attend the Medieval Days to see the rich history of Tallinn, but it sure is fun!

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