Text and photos: Silvia Pärmann
In just a few years, a whole new city has emerged in the centre of Tallinn: Rotermann City. This former industrial district set up in 1829 is undergoing colourful rebirth – dozens of restaurants and stores, new tenants and numerous guests who are only too happy to get lost in the district for hours.
Rotermann City, the district hidden from both sides with busy streets and Postimaja from the Narva manatee side, was completed somewhat unnoticed. At one point, all the restaurants were suddenly open, all the streets were full of people, and the media was flooded with photos of store launches.
By now Rotermann is living almost a normal cycle and it is worthwhile to go to a discovery trip to the youngest city in Estonia which incidentally is also one of the oldest places in the country.
By concentration of historic valuable buildings, the Rotermann City can be compared with the Tallinn Old Town. It was the Rotermann Factories in the 19th century that played the most important role in the formation of the district. The oldest building of this highly diversified company that survived to this day was completed in 1850 and is located on the corner of the Viru Square and Mere Boulevard.
Later the company built a starch factory, a steam-powered sawmill, and even a completed a distillery in 1875, becoming one of the most successful companies in the Republic of Estonia, managed by brothers Arved and Alexander Rosen.
From salt storage to a museum building
The salt storage building that is now on a different side of the street than the rest of the district was built later. It is more than one hundred years old and one of the most prominent examples of industrial architecture in Tallinn, which today houses the Museum of Architecture that always has interesting exhibitions (www.arhitektuurimuuseum.ee). Like most architectural museums in the world, it focuses on the collection, research and exhibition of the 20th century architecture.
Best stores in Rotermann City
|Diana Arno Fashion House
Diano Arno is known for her romantic collars and lace mixed with urban undertones. This year, in addition to garments, she added to her line jewellery made in cooperation with Tanel Veenre, Estonia’s most valued jeweller.
Friday is no Monday. Which is why Friday is a store for street fashion and casual clothing that offers everything for men and women for a leisure day.
suitsupply.com/The selection in menswear store with the most stylish interior in Estonia has an exciting choice. The store offers menswear in a really reasonable price range that brings the long-awaited change in street fashion in Tallinn. It sells not only suits or offers tailor-making services, but also has stylish coats and somewhat casual clothes.
|Tallinn Design House
The flagship Estonian design store that has been open less than a year has become the most vibrant designer store in Tallinn. In addition, it hosts presentations of different new collections, design exhibitions or meetings with designers.
|Tiina Talumees Fashion Studio
Rotermanni black house, 2nd floor
One of Estonia’s oldest fashion houses. Various brands of the fashion studio, such as Tiina Talumees Couture and Tiina by Tiina Talumees, are available on site. It is worth visiting the studio to complete one’s dream clothing line – the studio also makes clothes on order.
Breathtaking new architecture
The first impressive buildings built in the Rotermann City were the Rotermann Townhouses designed by architectural bureau Kosmos. These first buildings deserve closer examination also today. By the way, at first the developer was thinking of build one massive building instead of the four. The four buildings share a ground floor, but are completely unique and are known as orange, brown, black and white houses. In 2008 Ott Kadarik, Villem Tomiste and Mihkel Tüür also won the national culture prize for the design of the townhouses of the Rotermann City.
In today’s world, where suburbs are dominated by big-box shopping centres, nothing in Rotermann City claims to be the largest in Estonia. On the contrary, everything is nicely small, personal, and car-free. Rotermann does not suck energy from people, but, on the contrary, energizes them.
Restaurants for several days
The Rotermann center provides energy also in the most traditional way, ie by offering good food. Dining places for more than a couple of days. I highly recommend to go shopping for restaurants: have an appetizer in one place, the main course in the second and the dessert in the third place is the best way to experience as much as possible. But what to choose?
Pull (www.pull.ee) has the best meat that can be found in Tallinn. The restaurant’s creators and owners are well-known BBQ specialists Enn Tobreluts, Hanno Mall and Andres Tuule. It’s well balanced with the choice of seafood and vegetarian diet. And the Ceviche octopus, European seabass, giant shrimp, avocado, mango, chilli and lime are also the best in Tallinn.
So also those who do not eat meat will be able to enjoy food in Rotermann.
Purée is making history by its really good vegetarian diets. This tiny place for breakfast and lunch is always full of people, and you can also take away your soup, smoothie or oven-baked meal. Röst (rost.ee) directly opposite Purée can be found by the aroma thanks to the flavour of cinnamon and a cardamom, while better noses can even detect the flavour of finest roasted coffee beans from Berlin. Pastry is addictively good.
For dining try also R14, one of the new favourites of Tallinners and the first serious test of the owners of the hugely popular café chain Reval Cafe, in the restaurant world. High ceilings, elegant interior, a huge selection of wines. Reading the menu creates a feeling that you would like to eat absolutely everything. Of main courses, try octopus, and leave other dishes for your next visits.
But you also find more exotic flavours of octopus. Taste of Asia (http://www.tasteofasia.ee) is two storeys of Asian fusion. Their hot soups definitely save the day when the weather is windy and cold. And should you be hit by nostalgia, recalling your most recent trip to Thailand, the TOA spring rolls and phad thai will help you to overcome it.
Hotels in Rotermann City
|Metropol and Metropol Spa Hotel
The four-star Metropol Spa Hotel is suitable for both business and conference trips and holidays – and of course, for connecting them. The comfortable, three-star Metropol Hotel is an excellent choice for group travellers and for those who simply need a central location. By the way, there is a very nice pizzeria on the ground floor of Metropol.
|Nordic Hotel Forum
The Nordic Forum Hotel is the first new building developed in in the Rotermann City, and has remained one of the most charming hotels in Tallinn. Architect Indrek Allmann did a fantastic job in a situation where he had no idea how the area surrounding the hotel will look like. The hotel receives extra points for exhibiting art. Various parts of the hotel are decorated with graphics – a dream forest with birds, flowers and animals.
A chic hostel in the heart of the Rotermann City, with prices starting at 15 euros per night. There are also twin rooms, and the architectural adventure is guaranteed.