Looking down at a spiral staircase
Architecture,  Estonia,  Monochrome Madness

Tallinn’s TV tower in black and white

On 20th August 1991 the Estonian government declared the country’s independence from the Soviet Union. In retaliation, the following day Soviet troops wanting to seize control of the country’s communication channels stormed the TV Tower on the outskirts of Tallinn. Four employees working there locked themselves in rooms on the 22nd floor. They kept the troops at bay by inserting a matchbox between the door of the lift and its frame to stop it working. The invaders were forced to climb every one of the approximately one thousand steps.

The deadlock lasted for hours. During that time the employees were able to restore the Estonian Radio broadcasts cut off by the Soviets. A memorial at the foot of the tower today commends their bravery and quick thinking.

The TV Tower had been built for the 1980 Moscow Olympics. The sailing events for these were held here in Tallinn and broadcasting them worldwide was of course essential. Construction started in 1975 and the tower opened on time on July 11th 1980, eleven days before the start of the regatta. Since then it has become a popular landmark and destination for both tourists and locals. For the latter, when Estonia was still behind the Iron Curtain, it offered a sort of window on the free world because from the top at night they could catch a glimpse of the lights of Helsinki.

The tower stands 314 metres high altogether, with the viewing platform at 170 metres. It is built in concrete and metal, with the concrete part weighing 17,500 tonnes.

At ground level

At ground level in particular this structure lends itself to monochrome photography, with interesting angles and reflections. The ideal subject for Leanne’s Monochrome Madness, and a complete contrast to my recent colourful Colombia posts!

At the top

Once at the top you can enjoy the views from indoor and outdoor viewing platforms. And, if you have a reasonable head for heights, you can peer down at the ground below through circles of glass set into the floor.

I visited Tallinn in 2014 and 2015; these photos are a mix of those taken on both trips


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