Between 1612 and 1615, Salzburg’s prince-archbishop Markus Sittikus commissioned the building of a summer residence at the foot of Hellbrunn mountain, a location already abundant in naturally flowing waters. Based on Italian models and in a relatively short period of time, an architectural jewel had been created, still reckoned amongst the most magnificent Renaissance buildings north of the Alps. Hellbrunn was only meant for use as a day residence in summer, as the Archbishop usually returned to Salzburg in the evening, therefore, there is no bedroom in Hellbrunn.
The schloss is also famous for its jeux d'eau ('watergames') in the grounds, which are a popular tourist attraction in the summer months. These games were conceived by Markus Sittikus, a man with a keen sense of humour, as a series of practical jokes to be performed on guests. Notable features include stone seats around a stone dining table through which a water conduit sprays water into the seat of the guests when the mechanism is activated, and hidden fountains that surprise and spray guests while they take part on the tour. Other features are a mechanical, water-operated and music-playing theatre built in 1750 including some 200 automata showing various professions at work, a grotto and a crown being pushed up and down by a jet of water, symbolising the rise and fall of power. At all of these games there is always a spot which is never wet: that where the Archbishop stood or sat, to which there is no water conduit and which is today occupied by the tour guide.
The Seaplane Harbour is the newest and one of the most exciting museums in Tallinn. It tells stories about the Estonian maritime and military history. The museum’s display, that comprises of more than a couple of hundred large exhibits, revitalizes the colourful history of Estonia.
British built submarine Lembit weighing 600 tones is the centrepiece of the new museum. Built in 1936 for the Estonian navy, Lembit served in the World War II under the Soviet flag. It remained in service for 75 years being the oldest submarine in the World still in use until it was hauled ashore in 2011. Despite its long history, Lembit is still in an excellent condition offering a glimpse of the 1930s art of technology.
Another exciting attraction is a full-scale replica of Short Type 184, a British pre-World War II seaplane, which was also used by the Estonian armed forces. Short Type 184 has earned its place in military history by being the first aircraft ever to attack an enemy’s ship with an air-launched torpedo. Since none of the original seaplanes have survived, the replica in Seaplane Harbour is the only full-size representation of the aircraft in the whole World.
Simulators mimicking a flight above Tallinn, around-the-world journey in the yellow submarine, navigating on the Tallinn bay make this museum heaven for kids or adventurous adults.
Seaplane Harbour operates in architecturally unique hangars built almost a century ago, in 1916 and 1917, as a part of Peter the Great sea fortress. These hangars are the World’s first reinforced concrete shell structures of such a great size. Charles Lindbergh, the man who performed the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, landed here in 1930s.
On the outdoor area visitors can tour a collection of historic ships, including the Suur Tõll, Europe's largest steam-powered icebreaker.