In 1154 a town called Qlwn or Qalaven (possible derivations of Kalevan or Kolyvan) was put on the world map of the Almoravid by 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
The earliest names of
include Kolyvan (Russian: Колывань) known from East Slavic chronicles, the name possibly deriving from the Estonian mythical hero Kalev. Tallinn
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
in Finnish include Rääveli. The Icelandic Njálssaga mentions Tallinn and calls it Rafala, which is a variant of the name Raphael. Tallinn
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 "
(a)" is certain to be Estonian, although the original meaning of the name is debated. It is usually thought to be derived from "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. Tallinn
The previously used official German name Reval (Ревель) was replaced after
became independent in 1918–1920. At first both forms Tallinna and Estonia 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). Tallinn
Other variations of modern spellings include Tallinna in Finnish and Та́ллин in Russian.
A form Tallin deriving from the Romanization of Russian spelling of the name Та́ллин was also used internationally during the era
Estonia was annexed to the Soviet Union.
The first traces of human settlement found in
's city center by archeologists are about 5000 years old. The comb ceramic pottery found on the site dates to about 3000 BC and corded ware pottery c. 2500 BC. Tallinn
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 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 Kingdom of Denmark Tallinn and Northern Estonia started in 1219.
In 1285 the city became the northernmost member of the Hanseatic League – a mercantile and military alliance of German-dominated cities in
Northern Europe. The Danes sold Tallinn along with their other land possessions in northern to the Teutonic Knights in 1346. Medieval Estonia Tallinn enjoyed a strategic position at the crossroads of trade between Western and Northern Europe and . The city, with a population of 8,000, was very well fortified with city walls and 66 defence towers. Russia
A weather vane, the figure of an old warrior called Old Thomas, was put on top of the spire of the
's Town Hall in 1530 that became the symbol for the city. Tallinn
With the start of the Protestant Reformation the German influence became even stronger as the city was converted to Lutheranism. In 1561
Tallinn politically became a dominion of . Sweden
During the Great Northern War,
Tallinn along with Swedish Estonia and 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 Duchy 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. Livonia
On 24 February 1918, the Independence Manifesto was proclaimed in
Tallinn, followed by Imperial German occupation and a war of independence with . On 2 February 1920, the Tartu Peace Treaty was signed with Soviet Russia, wherein Russia Russia acknowledged the independence of the . Estonian Republic Tallinn became the capital of an independent . After World War II started, Estonia was occupied by the Soviet Union (USSR) in 1940, and later occupied by Nazi Germany from 1941 to 44. After the Nazi retreat in 1944, it was again occupied by the Estonia . After annexation into the Soviet Union, USSR became the capital of the Estonian SSR. Tallinn
During the 1980 Summer Olympics, the sailing (then known as yachting) events were held at Pirita, north-east of central
. Many buildings, such as the "Olümpia" hotel, the new Main Post Office building, and the Tallinn , were built for the Olympics. Regatta Center
In August 1991 an independent democratic Estonian state was re-established and a period of quick development to a modern European capital ensued.
became the capital of a de facto independent country once again on August 20, 1991. Tallinn
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 government and many embassies and residencies.
, 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. Old Town
The Estonian town forms a crescent to the south of the
, 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 amongst the residents of Old Town . Tallinn
Historically, the city has been attacked, sacked, razed and pillaged on numerous occasions. Although extensively bombed by Soviet air forces during the latter stages of World War II, much of the medieval
still retains its charm. The Old Town (including Toompea) became a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 1997. Tallinn Old Town
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 was the tallest church in the world. After several fires and following rebuilding, its overall height is now 123 m (403.54 ft).
The largest lake in
Tallinn is (covering 9.6 km²). It is the main source of the city's drinking water. Lake Ülemiste Lake Harku is the second largest lake within the borders of and its area is 1.6 km². Tallinn does not lie on a major river. The only significant river in Tallinn Tallinn is in Pirita, a city district counted as a suburb. Historically, the small Pirita River Härjapea River flowed from through the town into the sea, but the river was diverted for sewage in the 1930s and has since completely disappeared from the cityscape. Lake Ülemiste
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
, at 64 meters above sea level, is situated in Hiiu, Nõmme District, in the south-west of the city. Tallinn
The length of the coastline is 46 kilometres. It comprises three bigger peninsulas: Kopli peninsula, Paljassaare peninsula and Kakumäe peninsula.
For local government purposes,
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. Tallinn
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.
District Area Population
1. Haabersti 18.6 km² 35,000
2. Kesklinn 28.0 km² 34,985
3. Kristiine 9.4 km² 27,531
4. Lasnamäe 30.0 km² 108,644
5. Mustamäe 8.0 km² 62,219
6. Nõmme 28.0 km² 35,043
7. Pirita 18.7 km² 8,507
8. Põhja-Tallinn 17.3 km² 52,573
The registered population of
is 412,341 (as of 1 Dec 2010). Tallinn
According to Eurostat, in 2004
had the largest number of non-EU nationals of all EU member states' capital cities. As of 2009 around 22% of its population are not EU citizens. Tallinn
In addition to the native Estonian language (which is of the Finnic group, closely related to the Finnish language), English, Finnish and Russian are widely understood in
. Russian is also widely spoken as a native language. Tallinn
Ethnic composition (2009)
|Year||1372.||1772 .||1816 .||1834.||1851.||1881 .||1897 .||1925.||1959.||1989.||1996.||2000 .||2005.||2006 .||2007.||2011.|
In addition to longtime functions as seaport and capital city,
Tallinn has seen development of an information technology sector; in its 13 December 2005, edition, The New York Times characterized Estonia as "a sort of Silicon Valley on the Baltic Sea". One of Tallinn's sister cities is the Silicon Valley town of . Skype is one of the best-known of several Estonian start-ups originating from Los Gatos, California . Many start-ups started from the Soviet-era Tallinn . The economic sectors of Institute of Cybernetics also include the light, textile, and food industry, as well as the service and government sector. There is a small fleet of ocean going-trawlers that operate out of Tallinn . Tallinn Port of Tallinn is one of the biggest ports in the Baltic sea region.
Currently, over half of the Estonian GDP is created in
. In 2008, the GDP per capita of Tallinn stood at 172% of the Estonian average. This makes the GDP of Tallinn number in at 115% of the European Union average, while the overall GDP level of Tallinn is at 67% of the EU average. Estonia
Institutions of higher education and science include:
and Theatre Academy of Music
Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church Institute of Theology
Since independence, improving air and sea transport links with Western Europe and
Estonia's accession to the European Union have made easily accessible to tourists. Tallinn
The main attractions are in the two old towns (
and Toompea) which are both easily explored on foot. Eastern districts around Pirita and Kadriorg are also worth visiting and the Lower Town (Eesti Vabaõhumuuseum) in Rocca al Mare, west of the city, preserves aspects of Estonian rural culture and architecture. Estonian Open Air Museum
This area was once a separate town (Dom zu Reval), the residence of the Chivalry of Estonia, Roman Catholic bishops of
Tallinn (until 1561) and Lutheran superintendents of , occupying an easily defensible site overlooking the surrounding districts. The major attractions are the walls and various bastions of Castrum Danorum, the Russian Orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral (built during the period of Russian Empire, the church was built on a site that formerly housed a statue of Martin Luther) and the Lutheran Cathedral (Toomkirik) and the old Estonia now the Parliament building. Estonian Royal Palace
This area is one of the best preserved old towns in
Europe and the authorities are continuing its rehabilitation. Major sights include Raekoja plats (Town Hall square), the town walls and towers (notably "Fat Margaret" and "Kiek in de Kök") and St Olaf church tower (124 m).
This is 2 kilometres east of the 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 (part of) the Art Museum of Estonia, presidential residence and the surrounding grounds include formal gardens and woodland. Restored 2001–2004 with a large donation from the Swedish Government
The new residence of the
: KUMU (Kunstimuuseum, Art Museum) was built several years ago. Art Museum of Estonia
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
. Two kilometres inland are the Botanic Gardens and the Pirita River television tower. Tallinn
The city operates a system of bus (62 lines), tram (4 lines) and trolley-bus (8 lines) routes to all districts. A flat-fare system is used. Payment for single tickets is made either by pre-purchase of tickets at street-side kiosks or by a purchase from the transport vehicle. Monthly cards are available by registering through the national ID-card.
is about four kilometres 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 from the airport. Lennart Meri Tallinn 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 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. Tallinn
Rail and road
The Edelaraudtee railway company operates train services from
Tallinn to , Valga, Türi, Viljandi, Tapa, Narva, Orava, and Pärnu. Buses are also available to all these and various other destinations in Tartu Estonia, as well as to Saint Petersburg in Russia and Riga in . The Go Rail company operates a daily international sleeper train service between Tallinn-Moscow. Latvia
The Rail Baltica project, which will link
Tallinn with Warsaw via Latvia and Lithuania, will connect with the rest of the European rail network. A tunnel has been proposed between Tallinn Tallinn and , though it remains at a planning phase. Helsinki
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.