It has definitely got much colder today. The temperature is around 0ºC and the water in puddles is frozen. I go back to the Department of Archaeology to do some more work and do some photocopying. I wrestle with the photocopier, but eventually manage to get it to work; I get half way through my copying and then… out of toner. There is no one I know around, and I’m not sure I know the Estonian for “photocopier toner” anyway.
I take the opportunity to investigate some of the local museums: the nearby Niguliste Kirik (St Nicholas Church) is now a museum of religious art. It contains a range of altar pieces and crucifixions from the 14th-16th century, when Tallinn (or Reval as it was known) was at its height as a Baltic trading city. The highlight is the Dance of Death by the Lübeck artist Berndt Notke, a potent reminder of the proximity of death in medieval life, as well as containing scathing criticism of both the Pope and cardinals.
I then visit the Tallinn City Museum housed in a 14th century merchant’s house. It contains an excellent display on medieval life in Tallinn, with lots information about the city’s origins and the role played by the Guilds in structuring society. There is also a sobering display about life in Estonia under Soviet control.
After a bite to eat, back to the Department for some more wrestling with the copier and then back to the hotel to catch up with further reading, sort out my emails and get ready for tomorrow’s trip out to look at some archaeological sites.
Superstitious Dream (excerpt)
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