The historical New Market area behind the National Opera Estonia in Tallinn has become the site for a monument to the first head of government and president of Estonia Konstantin Päts. The statue arrived in its new location on Monday morning and will be unveiled this Friday.
In January of 2016, seven societies and associations dedicated to promoting Estonian historical memory proposed creating a monument to Kontantin Päts and placing it next to Toompea Castle to mark 100 years of the Republic of Estonia. While that particular initiative failed, a new location for the statue was found in the historical New Market area behind the National Opera Estonia.
NGO Konstantin Päts Museum organized a collection to fund the creation of the statue and signed a contract with the city of Tallinn for its location.
The design competition went the way of sculptor Vergo Vernik and architect Toivo Tammik in the summer of 2020. The winning design "Head of State" is made of Swedish granite, with its base lined with granite from China.
The Estonian Heritage Conservation Society admitted that the process has been tense.
Vergo Vernik told "Aktuaalne kaamera" news in March that the statue requires precision stonework. "You cannot make mistakes. Once you go wrong, there is no putting it back," the sculptor explained.
Stonemason Margus Kurvits added that the rock is hard and grinder discs do not last long. "The rock is peculiar in that it tends to develop cracks on the inside for which you need to leave room for error and a different cut," Kurvits said.
The work was initially supposed to be completed on August 3, while a new setback cropped up in the summer. In June, Vernik asked the Tallinn city government to extend the statue's completion and installation deadline as the stonemason was detained.
But the monument is ready now and has made its way from the stonemason's Rõuge home to the capital.
The October 21 unveiling ceremony will see speeches from President Alar Karis, Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart, design competition jury chairman Rein Veidemann and Konstantin Päts' great-grandson Madis Päts. The monument will be sanctified by Archbishop of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK) Urmas Viilma and Metropolitan Stefanus of the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church (EAÕK).
Efforts of the Estonian Heritage Conservation Society saw the remains of President Konstantin Päts interned at the Tallinn Forest Cemetery on October 21, 1990, which is the date used to remember Estonia's first head of state.
Editor: Marcus Turovski