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Tallinn's Museum of Carved Stone


The fortunes and misfortunes of centuries have left many of Europe's cities with disused fortifications and lots of historic remnants and rubble. In the case of Tallinn, Estonia, the two have come together in a unique underground museum.


The Carved Stone Museum, part of the City Museum, uses some of the underground passages that connected the city's fortifications to display its hoard of historic ornaments and memorials. The museum connects directly to other portions of the tunnel system that begin under the Kiek in de Kok tower.


The carvings that line the walls are loosely organized by type and theme, although it's often not clear why a particular piece is where it is. In the Hall of Death, there are quite a few salvaged tombstones, but quite a lot that don't seem to fit the category.



The next category seems fairly self-explanatory, if arbitrary... It's followed by a hall of pillars, some clearly far older than others.


Then comes the "City of Ruins," which contains bits of architectural ornamentation, including some ironwork; on the whole, the name seems to give these fragments a different status than all the other fragments, but...?


And then, the Garden of Eden, which looks so little like a land of milk and honey that even the snakes have taken their apples and departed.


Out of Eden, the last section contains more memorials and remnants of church wall plaques.


And then, with surprising abruptness, a doorway onto a stairway that leads to daylight, at the bottom of the hill that we entered the tunnels from the top of!



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The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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