Culture is Happening: Events around Estonia Dec. 6-12

Tartu's Christmas Market in Raekoja plats.
Tartu's Christmas Market in Raekoja plats. Source: City of Tartu

Across Estonia, from Tallinn to the smallest villages in the most remote parts of the country, there is always something going on — from festivals to workshops, exhibit openings to guided tours, and movie screenings to concerts. Now that the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF) has ended, it might seem like another lull period is due, but with Christmas, at least in the western calendar, less than three weeks away, there's a theme drawing together many of the latest events.

Here are just a few highlights of cultural events taking place in Estonia this weekend and next week.


Friday, Dec 6: Buddhism in the modern world is a public lecture series called "Baltic Lotus", which combines the practical wisdom of the West with millennia-old Eastern philosophies, at Vana-Posti 8.

Tallinn Handicraft Fair runs at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds from Friday, 12.00 – 19.00, returning Saturday (10.00 – 18.00) and Sunday (10.00 – 17.0).

Applied Arts Fair at the National Library on Tõnismägi in central Tallinn is to host Christmas sales of Estonian applied arts. Learn more about the event on the event's Facebook page here.

Cookie exhibition: Estonian piparkoogid (ginger cookies) are a christmas staple, so the cookie exhibition "Piparkookimaania" is timely. This year, the theme of the traditional exhibition was mythology, more than a hundred artists took part in it. The exhibition (link in Estonian) will be open until Jan. 5 at the Gallery of Design and Architecture (Pärnu mnt 6).

Saturday, Dec. 7: Telliskivi christmas market (link in Estonian) opens in the far-famed Telliskivi Loomelinnak which, notwithstanding the area's bohemian stance, will bring designer studios and outlets including Stuudio Sirendus,, MiMoST, Hunterior, Perfect Home, Liliputi Eesti, Textile Visions, Telliskivi Kirbukas, LoLo imetamisriided, Emma Leppermann, Liisa Kallam. 

Sunday, Dec. 8: Family Day with Santa Claus takes place at the Sea Plane Harbor Museum and includes: a workshop for the manufacture of Christmas decorations, a meeting with Santa Claus, who children can present their list of yuletide requirements to, and a museum tour. Read more here.


Tartu's Village of Light Christmas market in Raekoja plats is open to Jan. 10 every day from 9:00-21:00, while traders will be on Town Hall Square from 17:00-21:00 Monday-Friday and from 11:00-21:00 Saturday and Sunday.

National Archive's (Riigiarhiiv) permanent exhibition "Twists and Turns" takes a look at the critical period in Estonian history from 1917 to 1920. "Twists and Turns" is open in the National Archive's main building Noora (Nooruse 3, Tartu) on Mondays to Fridays at 8-19.

University of Tartu centennial exhibition: This year marks the centenary of Estonia's national university. To celebrate this, the University of Tartu Art Museum hosts an exhibition that focuses on one of the symbols of the university and education in Estonia, the University of Tartu main building.

The exhibition will showcase paintings, etchings and drawings dating from the early 19th century to modern times, thereby providing a unique overview of Baltic German and Estonian art with a focus on a single building. Not a single time period has been left out when making the selection, and works in various styles have been placed side by side. This way, the story of the University's main building also reflects Estonia's culture and history.

Rest of Estonia

On Saturday, Dec. 7 in Narva from 10:00 to 15:00 at 45 Krenholmi, a traditional winter fair will be held, where traders and artisans from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia will be represented. Guests are waiting for workshops on weaving lace, making bookmarks for books. See here (link in Estonian) for more details.

If you plan on staying in...

etv2 carries the ongoing English-language documentary "Life Below Zero", at 20.00 on Tuesday, Dec. 9.

etv2 is also showing the 2017 film adaptation of the Ian McEwan novel "On Chesil Beach", on Thursday, Dec. 11 at 21.30, with Estonian subtitles.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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