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Sights in Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn is the capital of Estonia and is rich in culture and history. It was formerly occupied by Nazi and Soviet forces and only became an independent country in 1991.

  • Estonian Open-Air Museum—a sprawling complex with historic Estonian buildings, a chapel dating back to 1699, and an old wooden tavern serving traditional Estonian cuisine and activities such as weaving, blacksmithing, and cooking; Vabaohumuuseumi tee 12
  • Kumu—a futuristic-looking seven story building made of limestone, glass, and copper that contains the largest collection of Estonian art in the country and rotating contemporary exhibits as well as a permanent collection featuring works from the early 18th century to the end of World War II and art from the Soviet era; A. Weizenbergi 34
  • Lennusadam—a maritime museum honoring Estonia’s extensive history with the open seas that was designed in a concrete shell frame fashion and includes a walk-through 1930s naval submarine and ice-breaker and minehunter ships outside; Vesilennuki 6
  • Kadriorg Art Museum—a Baroque palace built by Peter the Great between 1718 and 1736 that has a branch of the Estonian Art Museum that is devoted to Dutch, German, and Italian paintings from the 16th to the 18th centuries and Russian works from the 18th to early 20th centuries; A. Weizenbergi 37
  • Niguliste Museum—a deconsecrated church originally built in the 13th century but was damaged by Soviet bombers in 1944 and a fire in the 1980s but has since been restored and is now home to a branch of the Estonian Art Museum devoted to religious art with artifacts such as painted altarpieces, carved tombstones, and ecclesiastical silverware; Niguliste 3
  • Great Guild Hall—a building dating back to 1410 that was once home to the Great Guild and is now the Estonian History Museum with interactive displays on Estonia, coins dating back to Viking times, military artifacts, and Estonian cultural exhibits; Pikk 17
  • Nuku—a puppet museum which has a collection that introduces the art of puppeteers from different cultures and eras through interactive exhibits and workshops; Nunne 8
  • Tallinn Botanic Garden—a lush garden with 8,000 species of plants scattered between greenhouses, themed gardens, and arboretums; Kloostrimetsa tee 52
  • Tallinn Zoo—this zoo has the world’s largest collection of mountain goats and sheep plus 350 other species of animals such as lions, leopards, elephants, bears, lynx, owls, and eagles; Paldiski mnt 145
  • Kadriorg Park—a large park commissioned by Peter the Great for his wife Catherine I after his conquest of Estonia that has oak, lilac, and horse chestnut trees; a formal pond; gardens; and a playground
  • Tallinn TV Tower—a 341-meter-tall tower opened in celebration of the 1980 Olympics that has great views from the 22nd floor, interactive displays in the space-age pods, and an adventure walk; Kloostrimetsa tee 58a
  • Museum of Occupations—a museum with displays that depict the struggles and hardships of 50 years of occupations briefly under the Nazis and then by Soviets with evocative videos, photos, and artifacts; Toompea 8
  • City Museum—the main branch of the City Museum (there are ten sites overall) is located in a 14th century merchant’s house and illustrates the city’s development from its early days with displays on Estonian language, everyday life, artifacts, and cultural development; Vene 17
  • Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral—a beautiful onion-domed Russian Orthodox cathedral completed in 1900 known for its icons and frescoes; Lossi plats 10
  • Town Council Pharmacy—the oldest continually operating pharmacy in Europe once run by the same family until 1913 and featuring painted beams and a small historical display; Raekoja plats 11
  • Mikkel Museum—a former kitchen in Kadriorg Palace that now has some of the Estonian Art Museum’s collection with a small collection of paintings and porcelain; A. Weizenbergi 28
  • Estonian Museum of Natural History—a natural history museum with over 300,000 examples of the country’s plants and animals with revolving exhibitions; Lai 29a
  • Maarjamae Palace—a limestone manor house built in 1874 for a Russian count that is now home to the Estonian Film Museum, a branch of the Estonian History Museum focusing on 20th century Estonia, and a Soviet sculpture graveyard; Pirita tee 56
  • Maarjamae War Memorial—a Soviet-era monument with a bowed obelisk set within a concrete plaza with part of the complex built in 1975 as a memorial to Red Army soldiers killed fighting the Nazis; Pirita tee
  • Tallinn Museum of Orders of Knighthood—a museum featuring one of Europe’s largest collections of medals and military insignia; Kuninga 3
  • Estonian National Library—one of independent Estonia’s first public buildings designed with dolomite limestone that has frequent exhibitions on the upper floors; Tonismagi 2
  • Children’s Museum Miaamilla in Kadriorg—a small museum and activity center for children between the ages of 3 and 11 with a child-size grocery store, activity room, and café; L. Koidula 21c, Kadriorg Park
  • Architecture Museum—a museum that displays building and town models and temporary exhibitions; Ahtri 2
  • House of Peter I—a cottage that Peter the Great and Catherine I occupied during their visits to Tallinn that is filled with portraits, furniture, and artifacts from the period; Maekalda 2
  • Draakoni Gallery—a commercial gallery that has small but interesting exhibitions of contemporary art including works from many local artists; Pikk 18

 

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Shopping in Reykjavik

Reykjavik does not have a wealth of shops to explore but the ones that the city does have  seem interesting and unique.

  • 12 Tonar—both a record shop and an independent record label that has a café and sells music by popular Icelandic artists such as Bjork, Agent Fresco, FM Belfast, and Dikta; Skolavoraustigur 15
  • Anna Maria Design—a workshop and store that sells a variety of jewelry for men and women made from materials that include silver, gold, and Icelandic stones; Skolavoraustigur 3
  • Gallery Fold—an art gallery that has a large selection of prints, drawings, paintings, and sculptures by modern Icelandic artists and older Icelandic art; Rauaararstigur 12-14
  • Handprjonassambandid—the Handknitting Association of Iceland’s outlet selling hand-knit items of various kinds; Skolavoraustigur 19
  • Islandia—a store that sells woolen items, gifts, and souvenirs; Kringlan Mall
  • JS Watch Co—the official watch of the Icelandic Coast Guard and a celebrity favorite and a watchmaker that sells nicely crafted timepieces; Laugavegur 62
  • Kormakur and Skjoldur—a men’s store that sells men’s clothing and hair accessories with brands such as Bertie and Wooster’s of London which sells threads, cuff links, and designer clothing; Harris Tweed; and Ben Sherman; Laugavegur 59
  • Kringlan Mall—a mall with a variety of decent clothing stores, a movie theater, and souvenir shops; Kringlun 4-12
  • Kronkron—owned by an Icelandic couple who are known for their designer footwear in all sorts of colors and silk clothing; Laugavegur 63b
  • Lucky Records—a record store that has the largest collection of vintage and contemporary vinyl in Iceland and also has performances by underground and new alternative bands; Rauaararstigur 10
  • Smaralind—one of Iceland’s two major shopping malls located in Kopavogur, a neighboring community, that has the British-based Debenhams and Iceland’s hypermarket chain store, Hagkaup; Hagasmara 1

Get sucked into the world of “Shadowhunters and Downworlders”

Shadowhunters and Downworlders

Edited by Cassandra Clare

                Shadowhunters and Downworlders is a collection of essays reflecting on the relationships between major characters in the “Mortal Instruments” series, the characters and their personal qualities, and even the art of the rune.  Before reading this book I had not read many literary analyses so this proved to be a unique reading experience. It allowed me to see what different writers of young adult fiction were able to gain from the world that Cassandra Clare created in her popular series.

The book begins by examining the location and how it affects Clary’s perception of the world. Locations are very important in the series as pivotal events occur in both the real world and the world of the Shadowhunters. The first essay delves into the author’s reflections on New York City and Brooklyn and then goes into her views on City of Bones, the first book in the series. Clary had a very clear sense of her world which was thrown off balance when her mother went missing and she was thrust into the world of the Shadowhunters. It caused her to have an altered perspective on where she had lived all her life.

A unique essay reflected on Clary as a warrior and how her power to create new runes enabled her to be successful in battle. This showed that you didn’t necessarily have to possess physical strength to be a warrior and that mental strength could perhaps be even more advantageous to a warrior. Clary possessed the mind of an artist and her creativity was her strongest weapon.

Some essays proved to be more interesting than others as not all of the essay topics piqued my interest. I thought that the book overall gave fans of the series new perspectives on the characters and maybe even inspired others to try the books for the first time. It certainly provides for some interesting discussion topics such as the concept of “the Other” and the incest taboo. The book was thought-provoking and broadened my understanding of a series that I have been a fan of since book one.