Weekend Review: From Horse Racing to a Windmill Crawl

Photo: Postimees/Scanpix
9/23/2013 2:10 PM
Category: News

Tallinn Hippodrome is marking its 90th year of activity with a series of events, including the Baltic horse racing championships, held over the weekend.

The hippodrome was first opened on a snowy November 23, 1923, with a few thousand spectators in attendance.

The initiative had its roots in Tsarist Russia's horse breeding movement, in the late 18th century, and the establishment of hippodromes in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Harkov, and later in Riga in the early 19th century. The St. Petersburg hippodrome's plans to expand to Tallinn were interrupted by World War I. Later, 10 Tallinn businessmen and horse owners opened the hippodrome.

Today, only one of the early buildings has survived - the stalls from 1938. A restaurant had been destroyed in World War II and a 1961 fire ruined the former stands and office building. Horse races currently take place about once in every two weeks and the venue also hosts motor sports events.

Further jubilee festivities are in store, including a photo exhibition of the hippodrome by Stanislav Moškov.

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In addition to a guitar festival and performances by the Philharmonic Choir, enthusiasts finished weaving a 7.3-meter-long traditional belt in time for the 730th anniversary of Viljandi over the weekend.

"We spent all summer weaving the belt. Whoever stopped by our building could join in the weaving. Some wove 10 centimeters, others just one centimeter," Monika Pill, a craftsman with the Bonifatius guild, told ETV.

Another weaver, Kätrin Hanschmidt, said: "Every subsequent weaver was able to leave his or her mark here. We wanted to pay tribute to the rose on the Viljandi coat of arms, and we found a 20th century Saarde pattern. Indeed, the colors here were taken from the Viljandi coat of arms - a blue shield with a white rose and golden leaves stretched from between the rose."

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In a first-time event, privately owned mills across Estonia were open for public visitation on September 21.

Around 20 of the cultural-historical icons were open to guests, reported ETV. Estonia has around 250 mills, many of them publicly owned, having decreased from about 800 before World War II.

A few are still functioning, such as the Hellenurme mill.

"That one is as authentic as possible. It is a water-powered rock mill, and it is even possible to bake bread using a rock or real classical oven," said Riho Vahtre, a management member of a nonprofit devoted to mills.

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In addition to the environmentalists' Ökomäss event, a flee market was also held in the Kalamaja neighborhood this weekend.

Unlike the regular weekend markets at the Telliskivi creative center, this time venders set up shop in their own yards, around 40 of them, reported ETV.

Along with the usual supply of hand-me-down clothes and old furniture, visitors could buy tar and beeswax candles, enjoy Thai and Indian food, watch gypsy-style dancing, and learn how to read coffee grounds, in this case Turkish ones.


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