Notes from a guided tour in Lasnamäe

What can be seen on an organized walking tour in eastern part of Tallinn, Lasnamäe?

In the beginning of July I attended a short tour "Open Houses #55", which is an excursion series organized by Estonian Architecture Museum. These excursions are organized about once a month and allow to see buildings or areas with a guide, where one most likely could not go on his or her own.

This tour, "Open Houses 55", was organized together with MTÜ Lasnaidee - an active NGO that aims to make life in Lasnamäe better through engaging people in local community and civic initiative.

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Church of the Icon of the Mother of God "Quick to Hearken"

Our excursion started by new white Orthodox church in Lasnamäe. Tour participants gathered by church gates just before 15.00. Our group leaders Gerda and Tommi greeted everyone and handed out flyers with information of that tour's sights.

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In the church lady named Elena welcomed our group. She told us how the church was planned, built and how community had accepted the church over its short history - the church was built in 2013.

What does the church look like from the inside? Professional 360-degree photo of church interior is on Orthodox churches of Estonia website hramy.ee.

Among other things we found out that the church was built according to Belarusian church project and the height of the building, including the cross, is approximately 40 meters.

Elena told us that Orthodox churches are oriented on east-west axis. Entrance to a church is towards the west and the altar is always to the east. Looking towards east symbolizes light.

We also found out that the Iconostasis, which is wall with icons behind the altar, is composed of up to 5 rows of icons in Orthodox churches. Currently the church has two rows of icons.

And no, our group members can not go to the small balcony way up, under church tower.

I liked that Elena encouraged people in our group to ask questions and she also took time to answer each one.

Towards the end of our visit she also showed us baptism room.

Walking on

Then it was time to walk to the next sights, with few stops on the way to Laagna communal garden.

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Laagna community garden

After a longer walk through ever changing cityscape of Lasnamäe, where groups of apartment building from Soviet era are separated by fields of overgrown no man's land, we arrived to another stop at the tour - community garden in Laagna, which is one of Lasnamäe's subdistricts.

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Group leader Tommi told us more about the garden. How did it come to be?

In 2017 Lasnaidee NGO held a day dedicated to yard culture. First garden plot was made in the large open schoolbuilding's garden that day.

Like magic, from there onwards the garden began to attract right people who set up more planting beds.

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By summer 2020 there were tens of planting beds in the garden. As each planting bed was cared of by a different person, there was a quirky mix of plants growing. Potatoes in one, flowers in the second, herbs in the third and so on.

About 10 people were gardening there during that sunny afternoon.

Laagna communal garden is open to everyone.

Information about public gardens in Tallinn can be found in Edible City's Facebook group.

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View from high up was served as dessert

At the end of our 2 hour walk there was something special waiting for us - opportunity to view the city from a roof of a tall red brick apartment building.

How to get up there?

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We were briefed by man who let us to the building that elevator fits only a few people at a time. I chose the stairs to get my 13 000 daily steps done. I kept this as a secret from my wrist band, as it was charging at home.

Looking towards the sea was the white church were we had started our tour from. To the other side was rush-hourly buzzing Laagna highway.

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The man who had let us to the roof, also pointed out location of Tallinn's old airport - large green area before church on this photo. Few hangars were still standing.

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Skywheel of Tallinn was visible in the south.

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Walking down I thought that there should be more guided tours like that.

Small ticket price for guide service and entrances is well justified. New information gives new set of eyes to see the already familiar area with.

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