There are the famous icons on this skyline. The tallest structure in the middle is Oleviste Kirik (Church), a starkly Lutheran structure built by the folks in the lower town to show the rich guys on the hill that they could build a taller church steeple (and you wonder why modern Estonians are so competitive?). To the left of Oleviste is the Toom Kirik, or the Dome Chuch that has all the coats of arms of the noble households of the Baltic Germans. Further to the left you can see Pikk (Tall) Hermann where the flag still proudly flies. To the left of the tower is St. Nicholas Church, the incredibly ornate Russian Orthodox church with its onion-shaped towers. Moving further left is the steeple of the Holy Ghost Church (where my parents were married), and more to the left is the tower of the old city hall, Raekoja (Radhus in German). To the left of this is one of the protective towers of the Old Town. The twin towers belong to Karli Kirik, or Karl’s Church, which is like the national cathedral, where the important national ceremonies take place.
But the most prominent structure on this skyline is not a church or a tower. It is a smokestack! There it is, to the right of Oleviste Kirik – a huge, ugly beast intruding into the peaceful gentility of the Old Town. Every old picture of Tallinn I have seen shows this stack belching smoke, including a picture taken by my dad from exactly the same place sometime in the 1930s. Below is a paining done in 1967 that shows the stack in all its glory.
The power plant that fed the stack is long gone, but it is impossible to eliminate this stack from the picture, for it is now a historically protected monument! A smoke stack, for heaven’s sake! Oh, well. It's nice to know that with all the change occurring in Estonia, at least some things will remain constant. I look forward to seeing that smokestack on the skyline the next time I come, and I hope this will be soon. Head aega Eesti!