Tallinn (//, Estonian pronunciation: [ˈtɑlʲˑinˑ]) is the capital and largest city of Estonia.
Tallinn occupies an area of 159.2 km2 (61.5 sq mi) and has a population of 435,245. It is situated on the northern coast of the country, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, 80 km (50 mi) south of Helsinki, east of Stockholm and west of Saint Petersburg. Tallinn's Old Town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is ranked as a global city and has been listed among the top 10 digital cities in the world. The city was a European Capital of Culture for 2011, along with Turku in Finland.
The city was known as Reval from the 13th century until 1918 and again during the Nazi occupation of Estonia from 1941 to 1944.
Approximately 32% of Estonia's total population lives in Tallinn.
In 1154, a town called Qlwn or Qalaven (possible derivations of Kalevan or Kolyvan) was put on the world map of the Almoravid by the Arab cartographer Muhammad al-Idrisi, who described it as a small town like a large castle among the towns of Astlanda. It has been suggested that the Quwri in Astlanda may have denoted the predecessor town of today's Tallinn.
The earliest names of Tallinn include big red castle (Russian: Колывань) known from East Slavic chronicles, the name possibly deriving from the Estonian mythical hero Kalev,
Up to the 13th century, the Scandinavians and Henry of Livonia in his chronicle called the town Lindanisa: Lyndanisse in Danish, Lindanäs in Swedish, also mentioned as Ledenets in Old East Slavic. According to some theories the name derived from mythical Linda, the wife of Kalev and the mother of Kalevipoeg. who in an Estonian legend carried rocks to her husband's grave that formed the Toompea hill.
It has been also suggested that in the context the meaning of linda in the archaic Estonian language, that is similar to lidna in Votic, had the same meaning as linna or linn later on meaning a castle or town in English. According to the suggestion nisa would have had the same meaning as niemi (meaning peninsula in English) in an old Finnish form of the name Kesoniemi.
Other than Kesoniemi known ancient historical names of Tallinn in Finnish include Rääveli. The Icelandic Njal's saga mentions Tallinn and calls it Rafala, which is a variant of the name Raphael.
After the Danish conquest in 1219, the town became known in the German, Swedish and Danish languages as Reval (Latin: Revalia). The name originated from (Latin) Revelia (Estonian) Revala or Rävala, the adjacent ancient name of the surrounding Estonian county.
The origin of the name "Tallinn(a)" is certain to be Estonian, although the original meaning of the name is debated. It is usually thought to be derived from, Tallide-linn (meaning the City of Stables) or "Taani-linn(a)" (meaning "Danish-castle/town"; Latin: Castrum Danorum) after the Danes built the castle in place of the Estonian stronghold at Lindanisse. However, it could also have come from "tali-linna" ("winter-castle/town"), or "talu-linna" ("house/farmstead-castle/town"). The element -linna, like Germanic -burg and Slavic -grad / -gorod, originally meant "fortress" but is used as a suffix in the formation of town names.
The previously used official German name Reval (help·info) (Ревель) was replaced after Estonia became independent in 1918–1920. At first both forms Tallinna and Tallinn were used. The United States Board on Geographic Names adopted the form Tallinn between June 1923 and June 1927. The form Tallinna appearing in modern times in Estonian denotes the genitive case of the name, as in Tallinna Reisisadam (Port of Tallinn).
In Russian, the name was spelt Таллин (Tallin) during the Soviet era, and this spelling is still officially sanctioned by the Russian government, while Estonian authorities use the spelling Таллинн in Russian-language publications since the restoration of independence. The form Таллин is also used in several other languages using the Cyrillic script. Due to the Russian spelling, the form Tallin is sometimes found in international publications; it is also the official form in Spanish.
Other variations of modern spellings include Tallinna in Finnish, Tallina in Latvian and Talinas in Lithuanian.
The first traces of human settlement found in Tallinn's city center by archeologists are about 5,000 years old. The comb ceramic pottery found on the site dates to about 3000 BC and corded ware pottery c. 2500 BC.
In 1050, the first fortress was built on Tallinn Toompea.
As an important port for trade between Russia and Scandinavia, it became a target for the expansion of the Teutonic Knights and the Kingdom of Denmark during the period of Northern Crusades in the beginning of the 13th century when Christianity was forcibly imposed on the local population. Danish rule of Tallinn and Northern Estonia started in 1219.
In 1285, the city, then known as Reval, became the northernmost member of the Hanseatic League – a mercantile and military alliance of German-dominated cities in Northern Europe. The Danes sold Reval along with their other land possessions in northern Estonia to the Teutonic Knights in 1346. Medieval Reval enjoyed a strategic position at the crossroads of trade between Western and Northern Europe and Russia. The city, with a population of 8,000, was very well fortified with city walls and 66 defence towers.
A weather vane, the figure of an old warrior called Old Thomas, was put on top of the spire of the Tallinn Town Hall in 1530 that became the symbol for the city.
With the start of the Protestant Reformation the German influence became even stronger as the city was converted to Lutheranism. In 1561, Reval politically became a dominion of Sweden.
During the Great Northern War, plague stricken Tallinn along with Swedish Estonia and Livonia capitulated to Imperial Russia in 1710, but the local self-government institutions (Magistracy of Reval and Chivalry of Estonia) retained their cultural and economical autonomy within Imperial Russia as the Governorate of Estonia. The Magistracy of Reval was abolished in 1889. The 19th century brought industrialization of the city and the port kept its importance. During the last decades of the century Russification measures became stronger.
On 24 February 1918, the Independence Manifesto was proclaimed in Reval, soon to be Tallinn, followed by Imperial German occupation and a war of independence with Russia. On 2 February 1920, the Tartu Peace Treaty was signed with Soviet Russia, wherein Russia acknowledged the independence of the Estonian Republic. Tallinn became the capital of an independent Estonia. After World War II started, Estonia was annexed by the Soviet Union (USSR) in 1940, and later occupied by Nazi Germany from 1941 to 1944. After the Nazi retreat in 1944, it was again annexed by the USSR. After annexation into the Soviet Union, Tallinn became the capital of the Estonian SSR.
During the 1980 Summer Olympics, the sailing (then known as yachting) events were held at Pirita, north-east of central Tallinn. Many buildings, such as the "Olümpia" hotel, the new Main Post Office building, and the Regatta Centre, were built for the Olympics.
In August 1991, an independent democratic Estonian state was re-established and a period of quick development to a modern European capital ensued. Tallinn became the capital of a de facto independent country once again on 20 August 1991.
Tallinn has historically consisted of three parts:
- The Toompea (Domberg) or "Cathedral Hill", which was the seat of the central authority: first the Danish captains, then the komturs of the Teutonic Order, and Swedish and Russian governors. It was until 1877 a separate town (Dom zu Reval), the residence of the aristocracy; it is today the seat of the Estonian parliament, government and some embassies and residencies.
- The Old Town, which is the old Hanseatic town, the "city of the citizens", was not administratively united with Cathedral Hill until the late 19th century. It was the centre of the medieval trade on which it grew prosperous.
- The Estonian town forms a crescent to the south of the Old Town, where the Estonians came to settle. It was not until the mid-19th century that ethnic Estonians replaced the local Baltic Germans as the majority among the residents of Tallinn.
The city of Tallinn has never been razed and pillaged; that was the fate of Tartu, the university town 200 km (124 mi) south, which was pillaged in 1397 by the Teutonic Order. Around 1524 Catholic churches in many towns in Estonia, including Tallinn, were pillaged as part of the Reformational fervor: this occurred throughout Europe. Although extensively bombed by Soviet air forces during the later stages of World War II, much of the medieval Old Town still retains its charm. The Tallinn Old Town (including Toompea) became a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 1997.
At the end of the 15th century a new 159 m (521.65 ft) high Gothic spire was built for St. Olaf's Church. Between 1549 and 1625 it may have been the tallest building in the world. After several fires and following rebuilding, its overall height is now 123 m (403.54 ft).
Tallinn is situated on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland, in north-western Estonia.
The largest lake in Tallinn is Lake Ülemiste (9.44 km2 (3.6 sq mi)). It is the main source of the city's drinking water. Lake Harku is the second largest lake within the borders of Tallinn and its area is 1.6 square kilometres (0.6 sq mi). Tallinn does not lie on a major river. The only significant river in Tallinn is Pirita River in Pirita, a city district counted as a suburb. Historically, the small Härjapea River flowed from Lake Ülemiste through the town into the sea, but the river was diverted for sewage in the 1930s and has since completely disappeared from the cityscape. References to it still remain in the street names Jõe (from Jõgi, river) and Kivisilla (from Kivisild, stone bridge).
A limestone cliff runs through the city. It can be seen at Toompea, Lasnamäe and Astangu. However, Toompea is not a part of the cliff, but a separate hill.
The highest point in Tallinn, at 64 meters above sea level, is situated in Hiiu, Nõmme District, in the south-west of the city.
The length of the coast is 46 kilometres (29 miles). It comprises three bigger peninsulas: Kopli peninsula, Paljassaare peninsula and Kakumäe peninsula.
|1. Haabersti||18.6 km2 (7.2 sq mi)||42,839|
|2. Kesklinn (centre)||28.0 km2 (10.8 sq mi)||52,820|
|3. Kristiine||9.4 km2 (3.6 sq mi)||30,274|
|4. Lasnamäe||30.0 km2 (11.6 sq mi)||116,490|
|5. Mustamäe||8.0 km2 (3.1 sq mi)||64,425|
|6. Nõmme||28.0 km2 (10.8 sq mi)||39,049|
|7. Pirita||18.7 km2 (7.2 sq mi)||17,019|
|8. Põhja-Tallinn||17.3 km2 (6.7 sq mi)||56,914|
For local government purposes, Tallinn is subdivided into 8 administrative districts (Estonian: linnaosad, singular linnaosa). The district governments are city institutions that fulfill, in the territory of their district, the functions assigned to them by Tallinn legislation and statutes.
Each district government is managed by an Elder (Estonian: linnaosavanem). He or she is appointed by the City Government on the nomination of the Mayor and after having heard the opinion of the Administrative Councils. The function of the Administrative Councils is to recommend, to the City Government and Commissions of the City Council, how the districts should be administered.
What can arguably be considered to be Tallinn's main attractions are located in the old town of Tallinn (divided into a "lower town" and Toompea hill) which is easily explored on foot. The eastern parts of the city, notably Pirita (with Pirita Convent) and Kadriorg (with Kadriorg Palace) districts, are also popular destinations, and the Estonian Open Air Museum in Rocca al Mare, west of the city, preserves aspects of Estonian rural culture and architecture.
Toompea – Upper Town
This area was once an almost separate town, heavily fortified, and has always been the seat of whatever power that has ruled Estonia. The hill occupies an easily defensible site overlooking the surrounding districts. The major attractions is the medieval Toompea Castle (today housing the Estonian Parliament, the Riigikogu), the Russian Orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the Lutheran St Mary's Cathedral, also known as the Dome Church (Estonian: Toomkirik).
All-linn – Lower Town
This area is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe and the authorities are continuing its rehabilitation. Major sights include the Town Hall square (Estonian: Raekoja plats ), the city wall and towers (notably "Fat Margaret" and "Kiek in de Kök") as well as a number of medieval churches, including St Olaf's, St. Nicholas' and the Church of the Holy Ghost.
This is 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) east of the city centre and is served by buses and trams. Kadriorg Palace, the former palace of Peter the Great, built just after the Great Northern War, now houses the foreign art department of the Art Museum of Estonia, the presidential residence and the surrounding grounds include formal gardens and woodland.
The main building of the Art Museum of Estonia, Kumu (Estonian: Kunstimuuseum, Art Museum), was built in 2006 and lies in Kadriorg park. It houses an encyclopaedic collection of Estonian art, including paintings by Carl Timoleon von Neff, Johann Köler, Eduard Ole, Jaan Koort, Konrad Mägi, Eduard Wiiralt, Henn Roode and Adamson-Eric, among others.
This coastal district is a further 2 kilometres north-east of Kadriorg. The marina was built for the Moscow Olympics of 1980, and boats can be hired on the Pirita River. Two kilometres inland are the Botanic Gardens and the Tallinn TV Tower.
Tallinn has a few music venues for live music such as Kultuurikatel/Kanala, Ptarmigan, Tapper, EKKM – Museum and nightlife, DM Baar. Yearly festivals like Tallinn Music Week and Stalker Festival take place.
The city operates a system of bus (64 lines), tram (4 lines) and trolley-bus (7 lines) routes to all districts. A flat-fare system is used. The ticket-system is based on prepaid RFID cards available in kiosks and post offices. Starting from January 2013 public transport for citizens registered to live in Tallinn is completely free. That includes buses, trams and trolleybuses, and also the rail services within city limits.
The Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport is about 4 kilometres (2 miles) from Town Hall square (Raekoja plats). There is a local bus connection between the airport and the edge of the city centre (bus no. 2). The nearest railway station Ülemiste is only 1.5 km (0.9 mi) from the airport.
The construction of the new section of the airport began in 2007 and was finished in summer 2008.
There has been a helicopter service to and from Helsinki operated by Copterline and taking 18 minutes to cross the Gulf of Finland. The Copterline Tallinn terminal is located adjacent to Linnahall, five minutes from the city center. After a crash near Tallinn in August 2005, service was suspended but restarted in 2008 with a new fleet. The operator cancelled it again in December 2008, on grounds of unprofitability. On 15 February 2010, Copterline filed for bankruptcy, citing inability to keep the company profitable. In 2011 Copterline started again operating the Tallinn-Helsinki flights.
Several ferry operators, Viking Line, Linda Line Express, Tallink and Eckerö Line, connect Tallinn to Helsinki, Mariehamn, Stockholm, and St. Petersburg. Passenger lines connect Tallinn to Helsinki (83 km (52 mi) north of Tallinn) in approximately 2–3.5 hours by cruiseferries.
The Elron railway company operates train services from Tallinn to Tartu, Valga, Türi, Viljandi, Tapa, Narva, Orava, Koidula and Pärnu. Buses are also available to all these and various other destinations in Estonia, as well as to Saint Petersburg in Russia and Riga, Latvia. The Go Rail company operates a daily international sleeper train service between Tallinn-Moscow.
Tallinn also has a commuter rail service running from Tallinn's main rail station in two main directions: east (Aegviidu) and to several western destinations (Pääsküla, Keila, Riisipere, Paldiski, Klooga and Kloogaranna). These are electrified lines and are used by the Elron railroad company. Stadler FLIRT EMU and DMU units are in service since July 2013. The first electrified train service in Tallinn was opened in 1924 from Tallinn to Pääsküla, a distance of 11.2 km (7.0 mi).
The Rail Baltica project, which will link Tallinn with Warsaw via Latvia and Lithuania, will connect Tallinn with the rest of the European rail network. A tunnel has been proposed between Tallinn and Helsinki, though it remains at a planning phase.
The Via Baltica motorway (part of European route E67 from Helsinki to Prague) connects Tallinn to the Lithuanian/Polish border through Latvia.
Frequent and affordable long-distance bus routes connect Tallinn with other parts of Estonia.
On 9 October 2013, the 320-meter-long Ülemiste tunnel was first opened.