A study of the present situation in Tallinn, Estonia reveals a place where recent history plays an integral role in defining the culture found there. Stemming directly from their recent independence as a nation in 1991, a strong dichotomy is raised between their cultivated history as a people and their present desire to transcend the past era of influence. There exists a strong urge to establish and express an identity representative of the spirit of their newly flourishing culture.
This contrast of values is revealed also in the urban structure of the capital itself. Tallinn contains everywhere vestiges of Estonia’s history as a repeatedly occupied state. From the one to two story apartments with their “intricately carved window surrounds and boarding, rendering them unmistakably Russian,” to the industrial yards adorning much of the waterfront, their past influences are intensely apparent. As it relates to the growth of the city however, the emergence of a polished, modern city center just outside of the walls to the Old Town symbolizes the desire to be progressive in new thinking while retaining a level of respect and remembrance towards the past.