New Year January 2018 

Tallinn celebrates Estonia’s centenary

24 February 2018, the nation will celebrate 100 years since the founding of the Republic.

Tallinn City has put together a comprehensive programme of events from youth street festival, music festival and much more. Estonia jubilee year will be a joint co-operation between the national government and the city of Tallinn.

Estonian Republic 100 (EV100) Tallinn commissioner and city council chairman Mihhail Kõlvart explained that local government has always been a key part of the national development and national identity and this was a proud event not just for the country but for the city of Tallinn.

Kõlvart explained the Tallinn City Duma later called the Tallinn City Council was established in 1877 and forty years later Estonia won its independence.

“The Estonian state has grown historically out of the local government. Tallinn city council made a big contribution to the Estonian Republic’s formation and restoration of independence and we are pleased to celebrate the country’s 100th jubilee,” Kõlvart said.

District celebrations
Tallinn is divided into eight districts. Each district will be celebrating the nation’s centenary in both intimate and lavish ways.

In Mustamäe, celebrations will take place through the whole of February. Mustamäe Centre floor will be redecorated with flowers to present the colours of the Estonian flags. Exhibitions and workshops will take place. The atrium will host a show about the history of Mustamäe. On the big day, there will be cake and other assortments. Residents will have an opportunity to plant trees.

In Lasnamäe, the Lindakivi centre will celebrate by presenting a series of classic books by Estonian authors with music and film.

Kristiine district celebrations, beginning 13 February, will tie in with the theme of Lent. Shrove Tuesday in Estonia is usually celebrated with fresh cream buns and there will be an opportunity to enjoy traditional Estonian Shrove Tuesday buns.

In Kesklinn, (Central City) from 15 February until May 1, Raekoja will host the Golden Age of Art in a collection put together by the noted entrepreneur and art collector Enn Kunila. Celebrations will be held in Raekoja not only for the EV100 but also for Tallinn becoming the capital city of the Estonian Republic.

The collection will give a complete overview of Estonian painting in the first half of the 20th Century, concentrating on harmonious, lush, landscapes and city views. There will also be many portraits. The exhibition will bring together the work of Estonia’s outstanding masters like Konrad Mägi, Ants Laikmaa, Paul Raud, Nikolai Triik, Paul Burman, Ado Vabbe, Hubert Lukk, Villem Ormisson, Richard Uutmaa, Eerik Haamer and Endel Kõks.

The culmination of EV100 will be a military parade and ceremonial raising of the flag on Toompea Hill on 24 February.

EV100 is dedicated to children and the youth. Tallinn’s oldest kindergarten was founded in Kopli a hundred years ago.  The city committed to building 100 new playgrounds to celebrate the centenary. 126 have been built.

Youth United in song on Freedom Square

“The focus is youth and children,” EV100 committee member Tiit Pruuli said.
“For example, children will plant oak trees, which they themselves have grown, in parks across Estonia, as part of the project “Estonia’s 100 oaks.”

During the anniversary year, the project “An Instrument for Every Child” will reach fruition. The goal is to replace old and tired instrument collections to give every child the opportunity to learn how to make music by playing a new and well-functioning instrument.

Estonian youth have already gotten over 1700 musical instruments,
Students will sing in joint celebration on May 15 on Freedom Square, participants will come from the schools and gymnasiums.

The children’s song festival SadaSäraSilma (a hundred shining eyes) will take place on 1 June in Freedom Square. There will a youth street festival organised for a large number of young people 18 August which will include street-dance and street sports. In addition to the competition, you can listen to good music and participate in art and workshops.

On 2 February 1920, the Treaty of Tartu was signed, whereby the Soviet Union recognised Estonia’s independence in perpetuity.  There will events celebrating Estonia’s independence up to 2020.
“We are only at the beginning of a long and colourful road,” said Kõlvart.

“If I were to briefly outline the plans for Tallinn I would characterise it this way- we see, we know we do.”
Tallinn will dedicate 1.3 million to the EV100 programme plus an addition half a million for special lighting.

Baltic Countries joint concert

Since Estonia and Lithuania celebrate their birthdays in the same year, there will be a joint concert in the main square of each country. The Baltic countries capital city orchestra will happen from the 18 August until the 1 September, in Riga, Tallinn and Vilnius. A flowerbed will be arranged in the national colours of the three countries.

Botanical gardens to get new terraces and plants for the centenary
Tallinn will fund the botanical gardens with 100 000 Euros for various repair works for the centenary year.
A key area is the redevelop of the Alpine Gardens. The botanic garden alpine terraces will be fixed, alpine plants will be added, and many other changes will be coming to the area.
The pond next to the botanical gardens is to be completely overhauled. Work which director Nelly Orisaar said is long overdue.

“The limestone terraces need an overhaul as does the support walls for high growing plants and flowers in the Alpine Gardens, Palm House and Rose Garden,” Orisaar said.

A lot of the features of the botanical garden have real historical significance in the jubilee year.
The Botanical gardens stand on the former farm of Estonian’s first president, Konstantin Päts, who died in a Soviet Gulag in 1956 after Estonia was occupied again in 1940.

“The support walls were partly made from the orchard on (Pats) farm and have partly collapsed. They need to be rebuilt and cleaned,” Orisaar said.

The Tallinn Botanic Garden is situated in the eastern part of the city, ten kilometres from the city centre and three kilometres from the Pirita Yachting Centre. The area of the botanic garden is in the old valley of the River Pirita. The region is bordered by a vast, sandy area of pinewoods.

Originally founded in 1961 during the Soviet Occupation the Botanic Garden is managed by the Tallinn Environment Department and funded wholly by the city of Tallinn.

Self-driving buses to the rescue
Tallinn is one only a handful of the cities pioneering driverless bus technology, now the prototype which has been on a trial run is to be put to real use.

Self-driving buses will help patients get from bus stops to the hospital, navigate university campus and do fun rides in the Old Town, which is closed to traffic.

The trial run of self-driving buses between Tallinn’s Culture Hub and the city centre was conducted in summer 2017.

In 2018, in co-operation with Tallinn Technical University (TTU) Nurkse institute, the city is moving forward with the smart bus people carrying business.

City planners believe self-driving buses will be useful in a situation where transports links are far from an important establishment and it is not possible to bring it nearer.

One route will run from North Estonia Regional Hospital to Lepistiku public transport stop.

“These buses can’t replace standard long lines buses, but they can help people get to the public transport stop or after stepping down at the stop immediately reach the destination,” explained city transport office development project specialist, Jaagup Ainsalu.

“Healthy people don’t have a problem to walk half a kilometre, but it may be a problem for the hospital’s patients,” Ainsalu added.

Ainsalu recently visited Paris on a fact-finding mission. He explained that in Paris self-driving buses are already carrying travellers between the metro and the university campus and the system is working without accident or incident.  Ainsalu said that self-driving buses are perfect for university campuses which have a calm environment and passengers and users wouldn’t be bothered by an aggressive style driver.
In addition, routes, driverless buses can be used for tourist fun trip.
“Currently we are still at the thinking stage, we are mapping out place, where it is both possible and necessary to use buses.

“If the proposed bus line helps along the city’s public transport development. We will weight up the pro and cons on every route,” Ainsalu said.

Deputy Mayor Tõnis Mölder said that the project will provide new knowledge of environmentally friendly and independent transport.

“Tallinn is striving to be an inspiring, safety-conscious, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly city, I believe as the project go forward there will also increase in people’s confidence in self-driving transport,” Mölder said.

The Tallinn self-driving buses project is part of the Interreg Baltic Project with other participant cities being Kongsberg in Norway and Finland’s capital Helsinki. Tallinn is spending 382,000 euros on the project which further backing from the EU.
The project will run until September 2020.