Tallinn, like many parts of the Baltic states, has modernized at an astounding rate since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Yet the Old World ambience within its walled town center has been beautifully preserved. In the 15th century, Tallinn consisted of two feuding medieval towns: The hill-topping upper town — called Toompea — is from where the country of Estonia has long been ruled. The lower town was an independent city, filled with mostly German merchants who hired Estonians to do their menial labor. Today, Tallinn is a fascinating blend of pleasing towers, ramparts, facades, "striptiis" bars, churches, shops, and people-watching. For more information on the Rick Steves' Europe TV series — including episode descriptions, scripts, participating stations, travel information on destinations and more — visit http://www.ricksteves.com.
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