Tallinn Christmas Market – The Youngest, The Best?

This year Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, hosts its 8th Christmas market since the tradition was revived in post-Soviet times. The 64 wooden stalls that throng the picturesque wide open space of Tallinn’s Town Hall Square around a massive central Christmas tree will set up daily from 9am – 7pm, from 29th November until 7th January 2010. During the 40 day period the city expects to welcome up to 200,000 visitors to the traditional heart of this picturesque, snowy city that nestles on the Gulf of Finland in the north of the country.

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Appropriately enough the Town Hall square was the site of the world’s first Christmas tree, which was central to a ritual begun in 1441, when unmarried merchants sang and danced with local girls around a tree, which they then burned!

Although one of Europe’s youngest markets, the organisers of Tallinn’s Christmas market have stated they are aiming to make it the best in the world. This year the market will be better than ever as the square, right in the heart of Europe’s best preserved medieval walled town, comes alive with colourful lights, music, with Santa Claus wandering between the stalls meeting visitors and his elves, Scribble and Scrabble (Tallinn Christmas Markets’ mascots) helping guests find the Santa Claus House and Santa’s own Post Office, from where kids can send their Christmas letters.

The Town Hall Square will also host Christmas performances that include choirs, dance groups, poetry, musicians and films from 5pm – 7pm every Thursday and Friday and from 12pm – 2pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Amid this amazing festive scene, with temperatures barely hitting zero and the city’s spires and tall, colourful medieval houses creating a frosty, white-tinged setting, stallholders sell felt hats and slippers, buckwheat pillows, wooden bowls and artefacts, wickerwork, beautiful hand-sewn quilts, ceramics and glassware, sea-grass animals, home-made candles, Christmas wreaths, knitted hats, scarves and traditional cardigans. The scent of hot mulled wine fills the air, along with the appetising aromas of Estonian holiday foods that include pork, sauerkraut, blood sausages, hot soups, gingerbread, marzipan, honey, cookies, nuts and sweets.

For further information see www.visitestonia.com, www.tourism.tallin.ee and www.christmas.ee.

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About Charlotte J

Graduate, journalist, blogger and follower of all things media.