walkscape Tallinn
Post industrial glamour
Posted on July 20, 2017

The hip heart of Tallinn. This is the most widespread definition of the area between the old Baltic railway and the Kalamaja district. Weeds, worn-out walls and stopped cargo trains. A multitude of rail, chimney stacks and old brick factories that prove the past full of smoke, iron and industrial production.

I step foot in the Telliskivi Creative City flanked by a coming and going of young people, starting the day in the old brick buildings. Street art works as the first step for regeneration, creating a new face for the wreck factories. The old facades have obtained a new identity through wall paintings. The former industrial buildings have been reused to host every kind of business: bars, pop-up stores, ateliers, design offices and creative hubs. The local fauna includes a remarkable diversity. Inside of the internet cafes, it's easy to find young creatives, involved to take caffeine while gazing at the screen of their laptops. Nearby, on what remains of the industrial hangars, a series of workers are involved in the production of steel objects.

When first some Estonians reminded me the place, another popular statement was "good food and craft beers". As matter of fact, every single catering business adopts accurate guidelines in terms of quality and experimentation. Different kinds of cuisine range from the South American one to the traditional Estonian, with a special care to the mix of different cultures.

Keeping walk through Telliskivi Street, water towers and chimney stacks acquire a new monumental nature. A few blocks down, a red cylindrical container with a white sign draws attention in the stone-grey landscape. On the trace of the former rail, a sequence of food trucks, containers, and even two dining carriages animate this empty space.

Going beyond, ruined furniture, kitsch abatjour lamps, porcelain dishes and vintage rocking horses are clumped right out of the shops. The Balti Jaam Market can provide almost everything imaginable for every kind of need.

Of course, even Soviet old stuff such as helmets, jackets, mock-ups, pins, flags or Lenin head and shoulders. Getting inside the shops become a curious experience, mountains of disparate objects are piled up on the stands ready to fall down. Walking through the market, the local owners take suspicious glances to the strangers, after all, locals usually attend this place and the outlanders are not yet a habit.