Noblessner, situated in Northern Tallinn next to the renowned Seaplane Harbour, is one of the most interesting marine areas of the city. The former submarine shipyard has quickly turned into a stylish urban area, rewarded as the best redevelopment in the Baltic states. The old factory halls have woken up to a new life and the car-free streets are bustling with art galleries, shops, an active visitor marina, sea view restaurants – and there’s still more to come as we speak.
From submarines to the new millennium
The history of Noblessner dates back to the early 20th century. That is when Tallinn – or Reval, as it was called back then – was about to become home to Peter the Great’s war harbour. The original plans were never fulfilled, yet the biggest submarine shipyard of the Russian Empire was built in the area now known as Noblessner. The yard was named after the two businessmen running it, Emanuel Nobel and Arthur Lessner. (Yes, the former was related to the Nobel prize founder Alfred Nobel: Emanuel was his nephew.)
In 1912–17, twelve modern submarines were built in Noblessner. As Estonia gained independence in 1918, the shipyard started manufacturing smaller vessels. During the Soviet era, ‘Factory nr 7’ repaired ships damaged in World War II. It also built vessels for the navy and renovated trawlers as well as metal structures used in ports.
After the restoration of Estonian independence in 1991, the shipyard continued its work for another ten years. Since 2001 it belongs to BLRT Grupp, responsible for its redevelopment.
What to do in Noblessner?
Noblessner wins one’s heart with its distinctive and colourful architecture, boldly combining old and new. Fresh and stylish apartment buildings stand next to old factory halls now serving culture and cuisine. In Noblessner, there is something for everyone.
Museums, art galleries and entertainment
PROTO Invention Factory is an entertaining yet educational centre for the whole family, using virtual reality as a gateway to showcase the great inventions and prototypes of the past. How was the ride with the world’s first automobile? What would it be like to have a stroll in the centre of the earth? PROTO is the place to find it out.
Kai Art Center displays modern art in all its diversity. An old factory houses a top-quality exhibition space and an auditorium, filling them with changing exhibitions of young talents, local masters as well as world-famous artists.
How would you feel about some sauna or remote working in a wooden igloo amidst one of Tallinn’s trendiest areas? The Noblessner marina is home to an amazing igloo park, combining urban city life, land and sea, saunas, luxurious accommodation and rentable office spaces.
Techno club Hall is all about electronical music and visual arts, making it the place to be for those in favour of nightlife and underground beats. The adjacent outdoor bar Suvila offers music, greenery and delicious brick-oven pizzas.
Food and drinks
Põhjala Tap Room is a beer lover’s heaven. The brewery’s restaurant delights its visitors with a whopping selection of 24 tap beers and a food menu consisting of Texan BBQ dishes and all kinds of snacks to go with beer. Named among the world’s top 100 breweries, Põhjala’s everyday work can be followed through the restaurant’s big windows. If you book your visit in advance, you can also tour the brewery with a guide. Beer and other souvenirs, such as T-shirts and caps with Põhjala’s logo, can be bought at the brewery’s store. Apart from that, Põhjala also has its own sauna for rent!
180° is an elegant fine dining restaurant run by Michelin-starred chef Matthias Diether. The restaurant guide White Guide Nordic has quite appropriately ranked it one of the top three restaurants in Estonia.
Community bistro Lore, Japanese restaurant Kampai and many others ensure that everyone will find their favourite restaurant. All restaurants and bars can be found on Noblessner’s website.
Shishi is an Estonian-Norwegian interior decoration brand with an impressive store full of products, each piece more imaginative than the other. Whether you need a vase, a fake plant, a candle holder or something unique to catch the eye, this is where you’ll find it. Collections change twice a year, and before Christmas, Shishi becomes a true wonderland of holiday decorations. Make sure to visit Shishi’s outlet, too, located in the same building.
In addition to design and decorations, there is a vast selection of jewellery, arts and much more in the Noblessner area. A full list of shops and studios is available on Noblessner’s website.
Noblessner also hosts a variety of events. No wonder – what could be better than a sunset concert by the sea, a picturesque regatta or a hot cup of mulled wine at a wintery Christmas market!
How to get to Noblessner?
The easiest way to get to Noblessner is by bus number 73. Hop in at the city centre, ride along Kalaranna street and hop off at the stop called ‘Noblessneri’. Go down the stairs and you’re there.
Bus number 3 drives Noblessner-bound from the city centre, as well. Hop off at the stop called ‘Kungla’, keep on walking for 100 metres and turn to Peetri street after the park. All timetables and stops can be found at transport.tallinn.ee.
You can also ride a bike or an electric scooter along the sleek Kalaranna street. If you decide to take a seaside stroll past the Seaplane Harbour, you will also be able to admire the museum’s outside exhibits such as the icebreaker Suur Tõll.