In summer of 2009 the residents of Tallinn were given back a vital piece of their city's heritage: Freedom Square (Vabaduse väljak). From the last days of the Tsars and through Estonia's first period of independence, this open area at the edge of Old Town had been a place of national symbolism and civic pride, as well as a favourite public gathering spot.
Construction started in 2008, and after one year of intense work, the new Freedom Square was finally complete.
Now it's a sophisticated place to relax, filled with benches and cafés, and faced by two art galleries. Most of all this is one of best places to see evidence of the city's 1930s-era building boom, with art-deco and functionalist buildings flanking two sides of the square. The large pillar with the cross that dominates the west side of the square is one of its new features. This is the Monument to the War of Independence
, commemorating Estonia's hard-fought struggle in 1918 – 1920 to free itself of foreign rule.
To get a glimpse of the square's older history, all you have to do is look down. A glass panel in the street on the northwest corner of the square reveals the foundation and stairs of the Harju Gate tower
that stood here in Medieval times. Even more historic information – along with some science-type fun – can be found in the AHHAA Science Centre
tucked into the underground gallery on the opposite side of the square.