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Retro voyage to Tallinn: the memories of the 1980s

This travel experience is connected with business trip of my father which took place in the early 1980s (the Soviet era).

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During mentioned period, my father worked for one of the Moscow firms, and they needed special semiconductor devices – thyristors. In those years high-frequency power thyristors were in great deficit. Given devices were made in the Tallinn Electrotechnical Factory named after M. I. Kalinin (now – Tallinn Electrical Engineering Factory “Estel”).

My father was sent to business trip for these wonderful devices. He was provided gifts for Estonians and booked a single room in the Viru hotell. This hotel was built especially for foreign tourists; nowadays it is called Sokos Hotel Viru.

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By the way, as it turned out many years later, there was a KGB radio centre on the 23rd (secret) floor of the hotel. It was used as an observation point for hotel visitors. The rooms were stuffed with listening devices. The former radio centre is now a museum.

Let’s turn to our retro voyage. My father admired the magnificent view of Tallinn Bay, which looked very effectively  in the rays of setting sun.

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After spending the night in the Viru hotell, my father went to the factory, where he was made a joyful meeting and quickly handed the required thyristors. Also there he was advised by the hotel… on the market (because the room in Viru was booked only for one night). Not expecting anything good from such a night, but having no other options, dad arrived at the market and marveled at the dazzling purity of the room offered to him.

The next day in Tallinn was devoted to the sightseeing.

The capital of Estonia appeared before our traveler as a beautiful red tile city. Everywhere, wherever he looked, he could see the bright facades of buildings (they were gray in the Old Town). Overall impression – the Kingdom of medieval Gothic; a reminder of those times, when Tallinn was called Revel.

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Before returning home, my dad walked through the mysterious narrow streets of the Old Town and visited a small gift shop on the Tallinn Town Hall Square. There this tourist was attracted by two passport covers of the local production made from good leather. By the way, he is still using them.

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P.S. The Tallinn Town Hall celebrated its 600th anniversary in 2004. Old Thomas on the spire guards the city already for five centuries…

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  1. Very beautiful! You never really think about how wonderful Russia has stayed over the centuries because of the friction between the countries! I would love to visit there one day, I have worked with many Russian people who are wonderful, thoughtful and creative.

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