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Racecourse

Hipodroom

It was 23rd of September, 1923 when Tallinn’s Racecourse opened its doors to the public in the heart of Estonia’s capital. The racecourse lured visitors with bets and races and the chance to try their luck with the totalizator. Head of state Konstantin Päts personally cut the symbolic ribbon to open the Racecourse to the people of the city: “The competitive sport of horse racing – this is not only entertainment and games. It is a respected parade of the achievements of animals: it is a foundation of society, agriculture and the army, and represents the well-being of us all.”

Tallinn’s Racecourse was one of the largest in the Baltic countries and achieved incredible popularity, yet World War II destroyed the everyday idyll. The restaurant was destroyed in this period, and the grandstand and office building were lost in the fire that broke out in 1961. All that remained of the majestic racecourse was a lonely horse stable. After the Riga Racecourse was shut down in 1965, Tallinn’s Racecourse became the only one in the entire region, home to animals and their trainers.

Within its 95 years of existence it has become more than a racetrack - it's a social club. Yet the future and fate of this unique place is sad. The current city plan will end the existence of the racecourse that has survived a world war and three different ruling regimes in the latter half of 2017. Apartment and office buildings will arise in a while in place of the racecourse. This kind of fact does not even require explanation – after all, a large part of our history disappears – admittedly a faded jewel, and yet a significant part of the life and memory of the city. Different kinds of values, however, apply in politics and business.
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