Saturday, 12 November 2011
The tower of Kiek in de Kök is home to two museums in one place: the underground tunnels of the city's bastion, and the historical museum in the tower itself. We bought a city-wide museum card which gave us access to both, but if you don't have one you can buy a combined ticket, more cheaply than making two separate visits.
The tunnels are only accessible as part of a guided tour, so you'll go down with a small group. You might think the guide is being silly when they offer you a blanket (especially if, like me, you visit at the height of summer) but take one anyway: it's cold underground. You walk through a long series of rooms under the bastion, which have been carefully set up to reflect the use of the tunnels in different time periods. These range from being a Soviet bomb shelter during the Cold War, to being the site of illegal raves and shelter for the homeless.
The second museum is more conventional, if no less interesting, with a series of displays about Tallinn's history and development. These range from typical museum exhibits to videos and multimedia displays.
At the top of the tower, the space opens out into an adorable cafe with spectacular views across the rooftops of Tallinn. It's surprisingly inexpensive for a museum cafe - especially one at the top of five or six flights of steps - and has really nice coffee.
Don't miss the awesome clock. If we had space, I'd totally love to add one of these to my unconventional clock collection: