Introduction to Estonian Amusement
• Estonia’s ethnical culture really boomed at the
end of the 19th century. That is the period,
when our culture started moving forward in a
very great and rapid way. We suddenly
realized we are a people, who want to govern
themselves, want their own music, theatre,
dance... That is why we call the years from
1860-1880 The Era of Awakening.
Estonian National Opera
One of the examples of beautiful Estonian
architecture is theatre „Estonia“, or the Estonian
National Opera. See, with this cultural boom, a lot of
groups of Estonians started forming different
societies, where they got together to dance, sing,
read poetry and act. All of this they did in Estonian,
The song and drama society "Estonia" was founded
in 1870. This was the beginning of what has become
the current-day Estonian National Opera. Play-acting
was taken up in 1871, although theatre as a tradition
did not really come into being until 1895, when the
society began to direct song plays, folk plays and
comedies, usually with singing and dancing. By the
start of the 20th century more serious drama was
In 1906, the society became the basis for the professional theatre called „Estonia“ founded by the directors and actors Paul
Pinna and Theodor Altermann. The company started to work toward building a grand and beautiful theatre. With the help of
many donations, they accompliced this task outstandingly. There was an architectual contest for the design, which was won by
architects Armas Lindgren and Wivi Lönni.
The theatre has a 874-seated theatre hall and 1200-seat concert hall, and back then also some shops, casinos and a restaurant.
The whole building was very dramatic and regal. It was opened on the 24th of august 1913. The first play ever to be performed
was William Shakespeare’s „Hamlet“. Also worth mentioning is that the first parliament of Estonia-The Constitusional
Assembily- came together in „Estonia“ as well.
Estonian National Opera
Unfortunately, the theatre got hit by the Soviet Union air force bombing in 1944 and caught fire. After the war it was rebuilt
following the vision of Alar Kotli.
Drama plays were actually only performed until 1949, after that „Estonia“ became a music theatre.
Nowadays the theatre is still in use and produces world-class opera and ballet. The tickets are bought ahead about a month or so.
The Estonian people, aside from being a singing nation, are also a people with a very strong „theatre culture“. It is normal for our
students to go to the opera and ballet once a school year with their class, not to mention going to a play once or even twice every
This is an example of architecture from the
Soviet period. Linnahall is a concert/sports
venue in Tallinn, Estonia. It is situated on the
harbour, just beyond the walls of the Old
Town. Linnahall was completed in 1980.
The story of its construction is: The 22nd
Summer Olympic Games were hosted in
Moscow in 1980. As located inland, Moscow
had no suitable venue which to stage the
sailing events at. This task fell to Tallinn, the
capital of Estonian SSR (soviet socialist
republic). Apart from the main venue for the
sailing event, Pirita Yachting Centre, a lot of
other sports and entertainment facilities
were built during preparations for the
Olympics. One of them was the Palace of
Culture and Sport named after Lenin, which
was later renamed to its present name –