the cyclops

One can look at Tallinn in different ways. Some see a city that has been multicultural and market-oriented since at least the 13th century. Others see it as the capital of Estonia. The incumbent ran his campaign with this first perspective. The challenger ran his with the second. And I don’t think the opposition’s campaign was ever about winning. It was about doing what the conservative party enjoys doing — sticking it to Savisaar. Maybe a few of them were disappointed that Eerik-Niiles Kross lost, but most knew that bringing down the Cyclops of Lindanisse was a political impossibility, yet delighted in watching Aeneas storm his beaches and fling rocks at him anyway. It’s a shame, because Tallinn needs new management. Any person who has scaled the ruins of the Linnahall at the foot of Old Town, stepped over its rubble and weeds and graffiti to greet a friend coming off the boat from tidy Helsinki on the other side, has felt those familiar pangs of shame. Too much of the city looks like that. Neglect, poor planning, asshole capitalist architecture. The city suffers from its leader’s myopia. The Cyclops wins an election and he thinks that it’s because he is doing such a swell job. But it doesn’t feel that way. Savisaar’s city feels slower and lethargic. Its free transportation leads nowhere. And yet a challenger who can match his rhetoric of inclusiveness and optimism is nowhere in sight.

12 thoughts on “the cyclops”

  1. I've lived out my melancholy youth. I don't give a fuck anymore what's behind me, or what's ahead of me. I'm healthy. Incurably healthy. No sorrows, no regrets. No past, no future. The present is enough for me. Day by day.


  2. I have always wondered about that piece of desolation between the harbour and the Old Town. One would think that it would be tailor made for a great modern entertainment centre with bars, restaurants, shopping malls, hotels – a wide boulevard leading to the Old Town… I mean why on earth not?


  3. The Linnahall is a place where you can escape from the busy old town and center, and enjoy the nice view. Leave it in peace. There are a lot of people who like it just the way it is. The center of Tallinn is already overdeveloped.


  4. Linnahall is a listed building, meaning there's only so much you could do with it. They should renovate it. Not being a Talliner myself, but I'd rather not develop it further. Tallinn is not Dubai and should not be presented as such. You step off the ship and you see a living city, not a cheap shopping mall. I think it's important to preserve that first expression. But that doesn't mean that the area couldn't do with a major cleanup.


  5. Well, I would absolutely preserve the Linnahall as a monument for Soviet ugliness, but I don't see any merit in the empty, littered fields or the rather pointless minimall and a couple of seedy bars between the main terminals and the Old Town. There are not even proper walkways in all places and then you end up crossing a very busy road rather chaotically. Surely there is no great point in that?


  6. One idea for Linnahall is to turn it into the Linahall, a huge pavilion featuring folk costumes and crafts. It would be like the the museum in Rocca al Mare, except a wintertime version – the Closed-Air Museum.

    The reason why it's currently abandoned is that it costs a fortune to heat, but in the Linahall scenario, artisans would keep it warm through the sheer amount of spinning, carding, and not least, blacksmith activity.


  7. Also, if Arnold Rüütel was mayor of Tallinn, the Linahall scenario would have so materialized long ago.

    (BTW, was the Lou Reed concert in July of 2008 or 2009 the last major one held at Linnahall?)


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