Latvia and Estonia
Trip Start Jul 04, 2007
16Trip End Aug 10, 2007
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Tallinna replaced the previously used official German name Reval (help·info) (Russian: Ревель) in 1918, when Estonia became independent. In the early 1920s the official spelling of the city name was changed from Tallinna to Tallinn, making the new name notable since Estonian-language place names generally end with a vowel (denoting genitive case)
The German and Swedish name Reval (Latin: Revalia, earlier Swedish language: Räffle) originated from the 13th century Estonian name of the adjacent Estonian county of Rävala. Other known ancient historical names of Tallinn include variations of Estonian Lindanise (see Battle of Lyndanisse), such as Lyndanisse in Danish, Lindanäs in Swedish, and Ledenets in Old East Slavic. Kesoniemi in Finnish and Kolyvan (Колывань) in Old East Slavic are also other historical names.
Tallinn is situated on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland, in north central Estonia.
The largest lake in Tallinn is Lake Ülemiste (covers 9.6 km²)
A limestone cliff runs through the city. It is exposed, for instance, at Toompea and Lasnamäe. However, Toompea is not a part of the cliff, but a separate hill.
The highest point of Tallinn, at 64 meters above the sea level, is situated in the district of Nõmme, in the south-west of the city.
The length of the coastline is 46 kilometres. It comprises 3 bigger peninsulas: Kopli peninsula, Paljassaare peninsula and Kakumäe peninsula.
Dannebrog falling from the sky in the 1219 Battle of Lyndanisse
The historical Old TownThe southern coast of the Gulf of Finland is thought to have been settled by Finnic-speaking tribes already in the 2nd millennium BC
Supposedly, in 1154 Tallinn was marked on the world map of the Almoravid cartographer Muhammad al-Idrisi.
As an important port for trade between Russia and Scandinavia, it became a target for the expansion of the Teutonic Knights and 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.
Viru Gate, entrance to the Old Town. One of two remaining towers that were once part of a larger gate system built in the 14th century
St. Olav's Church (Oleviste kirik), once the tallest in the world, is still the tallest building in TallinnIn 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 Estonia to the Teutonic Knights in 1346. Medieval Tallinn enjoyed a strategic position at the crossroads of trade between Western and Northern Europe and Russia
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 the Swedish troops based in Tallinn 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.
On 24 February 1918, the Independence Manifesto was proclaimed in 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
During the 1980 Summer Olympics a regatta was held at Pirita, north-east of central Tallinn. Many buildings, like the hotel "Olümpia", the new Main Post Office building, and the Regatta Center, 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 August 20, 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 government and many 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 amongst the residents of 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 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 high Gothic spire was built for St. Olav's Church. Between 1549 and 1625 it was the tallest building in the world. After several fires and following rebuilding, its overall height is now 123 m.