Tallinn Old Town bookstore named one of top three in the world

Tallinn's Old Town Rahva Raamat interior.
Tallinn's Old Town Rahva Raamat interior. Source: Rahva Raamat

The Rahva Raamat bookstore located in Tallinn's Old Town, which has been in operation for more than a century, recently underwent a complete overhaul and has since been named among the top three book stores in the world by London Book Fair. ETV program "Ringvaade" visited the store to learn more about how it earned the title.

The Old Town Rahva Raamat has survived very difficult times. 17 years ago, employees of Tallinn's most famous bookstore were forced by real estate developers' plans to close the store, but hundreds of protesters were able to stave off the planned demolition. The bookstore, which recently underwent extensive renovations, is still operating at the same location, but now looks more mystical and fairytale-like than ever before.

"A creative agency offered us graphic elements that suited the period, and they included rabbits that immediately won us over; we all immediately thought of 'Alice in Wonderland,'" explained interior designer Mari Koger.

Tallinn's Old Town Rahva Raamat location. Source: ERR

Opened in 1912, the building in which the bookstore is located was one of the most spectacular in Tallinn at the time, where Gustav Pihlakas opened a store selling books and office supplies. Pihlakas' grandson, opera singer Oliver Kuusik, stopped by the store as well.

"Bookstores abroad are usually much bigger and more diverse, and they often sell tech items as well, but this store here is great and very homey with its new interior," he commented.

Rahva Raamat contacted the annual London Book Fair, which also chooses the world's best bookstores.

"They have a homepage through which we were able to submit our store together with our rationale," noted Rahva Raamat marketing director Kersti Küla.

Rahva Raamat operates a chain of bookstores throughout Estonia. Its Viru Keskus store, likewise in located Tallinn, was among four nominees for the same honor in 2016.

The newly renovated Tallinn Old Town location is located on the corner of Pärnu Highway and Suur-Karja Street, across the street from the Estonian Drama Theater.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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