Tallinn's traditional Christmas market will not take place this winter due to concerns arising from the coronavirus. The city is still looking to work with craftspeople, restaurants and public buildings to create some festive spirit around the Old Town.
A Christmas tree will be installed in the Old Town's Town Hall Square on November 19, but the usual wooden stalls will not be on show this year, Kesklinn elder Monika Haukanõmm confirmed on Thursday.
"If we think about the previous years and the stalls - then there have been 27 different points of sale here in this beautiful square. We cannot guarantee that we can scatter people," said Haukanõmm.
This year, everything will be scattered. Kesklinn is inviting restaurants and shopkeepers around Town Hall Square to create a Christmas atmosphere themselves.
In response, director and owner of a catering company Peeter Jalakas suggested entrepreneurs could offer space to participants who would usually take part in the Christmas market, especially as there are likely to be few visitors to the restaurants in the Old Town this winter.
Many craftsmen do not particularly like the traditional Christmas market. Rent on Town Hall Square is not cheap and it attracts visitors to only one part of the Old Town.
Chairman of the Folk Arts and Crafts Association Liina Veskimägi-Iliste said: "If we have a Christmas market for two months, then these small handicraft shops and art galleries that are in the Old Town will inevitably lose their customers."
Instead, crafters running shops in the Old Town have also made their own proposals to the city.
"That on every advent weekend, something more than the simple selling of handicrafts should take place - there could be workshops, for example, airing winter folk costumes, maybe a small fair, which is for one day, where there is an extra theme," said Veskimägi-Iliste.
Kesklinn told "Aktuualne kaamera" on Thursday it will lose €50,000 a month by not holding the Christmas market. It is not known how much money traders would have made even if the market did go ahead as there are expected to be fewer foreign visitors this year.
Editor: Helen Wright