Stories of Pictures and Pictures of Stories


  • Jüri Soolep




One can say: a picture is worth a hundred words, but if the hundred words contain a story, then this story is also worth a hundred pictures. We also see old pictures with new stories and old stories with new pictures. All of this is fascinating as stories and pictures create and build meanings, both old and new. The meaning continua, sometimes thousands of years old come to us in the form of stories and pictures. 

This article examines some of Tallinn’s local stories. The first is about an archetypal flood, as the beginning and end of the Lake Ülemiste. The second deals with the Medieval Town Hall Square in the format of an artificial fairy tale and explains how marzipan came to be used. The third is a sinister geopolitical story, or to be more exact: a whole knot of stories spawned by the Red Army monument known as the Bronze Soldier. 

We look at these stories through the language of images and films. The old and new images tell us about the history and future of these stories in the most imaginative ways. 

Author Biography

Jüri Soolep

Jüri Soolep – WG4 – received his diploma in Architecture in Tallinn (1986), where he also was professor and dean. He has been a professor at the NC State European Center in Prague, Czech Republic and a guest professor at the Umeå School of Architecture, Sweden. He was the rector of the Nordic Academy. Soolep has lectured at the universities of Tartu, Oulu, Porto, Cork, Portsmouth, Liverpool, Halle and Hosei Tokyo. He is on the editorial board of the journal Ehituskunst. He was a member of steering boards for Strong Research Environments ResArc and Making within Swedish Research Council Formas grant. Since 2001 he has been partner and lead architect in the architecture studio AB Medium. Most of his designs have been built in Pärnu and Tallinn. His most recent book is Architecture, Imagospheric Horizon and Digital Universe (https://soolep.ee). His current field of research include studies in the representational systems of architectural phenomena, innovation and composition in the Digital Age. 


Ellen Niit, Suur maalritöö. (Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1971).

Jaan Kross, Mardileib. (Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1973).

Debora Vaarandi, Ülemiste vanake ja noor linnaehitaja. (Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1952).

Debora Vaarandi, Kreutzwald, Friedrich Reinhold. Miks Tallinn iial valmis ei tohi saada. Ülemiste Vanake ja noor linnaehitaja. (Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1975).

Arvo Valton, Ülemiste Vanake. Tallinn: PiktoGraaf (ordered by Ülemiste City AS, 2008).



How to Cite

Soolep, J. (2023). Tallinn: Stories of Pictures and Pictures of Stories. Writingplace, (8-9). https://doi.org/10.7480/writingplace.8-9.7256