The Baltic Mourning After

Photograph for TIME by Erik Prozes

PRETTY VACANT: Tourist numbers are dwindling, leaving Tallinn's medieval streets empty and souvenir shops shut

Even by the heady standards of one of Europe's fastest growing economies, the Estonian housing firm Nova Haus was on a roll. Launched in 2004, with initial funding of just $13,000, it grew so fast that by 2006 it boasted 120 workers and a $2.5 million profit. In 2007 Nova Haus even took home the Estonian government's award for Developer of the Year. "It was crazy how easy it was," recalls Hegert Lepik, 28, a lanky economics graduate and father of two who helped found the company. "I kept asking myself: How is this possible? It almost didn't seem real." In...

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