Tallinn … costume wars with Kuala Lumpur, the promise of performing rodents and life-sized knitted Lady Gaga dolls in the Estonian medieval capital

Tallinn, the beautiful capital of Estonia is very proud of its medieval heritage.

Tallinn's beautiful medieval Old Town seen from the Patkul lookout point (Patkuli Vaateplats)

Tallinn’s beautiful medieval Old Town seen from the Patkul lookout point (Patkuli Vaateplats)

A beautifully preserved section of the Lower Town's medieval perimeter walls and watch towers with St Olaf's church spire in between

A beautifully preserved section of the Lower Town’s medieval perimeter walls and watch towers with St Olaf’s church spire in between

Tallinn's stunning Gothic Town Hall (the last surviving Gothic town hall in northern Europe) in the heart of the Old Town, built between 1371 and 1404

Tallinn’s stunning Gothic Town Hall (the last surviving Gothic town hall in northern Europe) in the heart of the Old Town, built between 1371 and 1404

So proud of its medieval Old Town, Tallinn has clearly passed a law forcing all locals working along its cobbled streets to wear traditional medieval dress during trading hours. Every waiter, waitress and tout within a five hundred metre radius of the town square (Raekoja Plats) appears to be dressed in nothing else.

'Peasants' selling authentic medieval snacks outside the Olde Hansa restaurant near the town square (Raekoja Plats)

‘Peasants’ selling authentic medieval snacks outside the Olde Hansa restaurant near the town square (Raekoja Plats)

Estonian touts using their medieval charms to lure tourists into the bar

Estonian touts using their medieval charms to lure tourists into the bar

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A more traditional Estonian peasant dress (with a modern day thermal upgrade) worn by waitresses all around the Town Hall and main square

A more traditional Estonian peasant dress (with a modern day thermal upgrade) worn by waitresses all around the Town Hall and main square

Even non-human employees (of which there are many in the city) are apparently not exempt from this bye-law:

Knitted life-sized dolls in traditional Estonian costume sit outside souvenir shops all over the city

Knitted life-sized dolls in traditional Estonian costume sit outside souvenir shops all over the city

Some of these dolls are rather charming ...

Some of these dolls are rather charming …

Some are a little bit scary ...

Some are a little bit scary …

... and others look like Lady Gaga

… and others look like Lady Gaga

On my visit to Tallinn earlier this year, there appeared to be a rival costume troop making their presence known in the Old Town and vying for the attention of the locals and tourists.

A crowd building up in Raekoja Plats, but why?

A crowd building up in Raekoja Plats, but why?

Going by the banners on the stage, it was something to do with Kuala Lumpur, but as the MC was (understandably) addressing the crowd in Estonian, I wasn't quite sure exactly what

Going by the banners on the stage, it was something to do with Kuala Lumpur, but as the MC was (understandably) addressing the crowd in Estonian, I wasn’t quite sure exactly what

Surely it was not going to be a parade of Malaysian mice?

Surely it was not going to be a parade of Malaysian mice?

Thankfully it was not a pack of Far Eastern rodents but a group of Malaysian dancers showcasing traditional Far Eastern dance.

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Tallinn Malaysian stage dancers and fans

It was difficult to tell what the locals thought of the Kuala Lumpur City Hall Cultural Troupe.

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The dancers seemed unfazed and continued to smile and dance for the Estonian crowd.

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Tallinn Malaysian male dancers with fans

Maybe Tallinn is a hard crowd to please …

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… or maybe they were as disappointed as I was that there were no mice involved in the performance.

Very disappointed

There was no denying though that the Malaysian costumes were spectacular and stood out in the crowd…

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… which put the local Estonian costumes slightly in the shade for one day at least.

Local waitresses not impressed by their Far Eastern rivals

Local waitresses not impressed by their Far Eastern rivals

"So what if your costume is more exotic. Mine is thermal"

“So what if your costume is more exotic. Mine is thermal”

Not everyone however, seemed unimpressed by the splash of Far Eastern colour in the Old Town that day.

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TLT x

Estonian spy catching at the Hotel Viru’s KGB museum Tallinn KGB museum hidden spy room KGB uniform detail

… and why it is advisable to carry around a neck-brace whilst admiring Tallinn’s beautiful  Old Town

I just about managed to capture the gates with my camera close up at street level without putting my back out of joint

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