Tallinn - General Profile
Tallinn, the capital of the Republic of Estonia, is a city with distinctly medieval features, situated on the east coast of the Baltic Sea. Despite its turbulent past, marked by foreign dominations, wars and riots, the city has been able to preserve a historic centre included among UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Tallinn is not only the capital, but also an important communication hub and a major port.
Tallinn is also a lively centre from a cultural point of view. Theatres, concert halls, museums and galleries offer citizens and visitors a rich program all throughout the year.
Almost half the population of the country live in Tallinn. The last census (March 2008) recorded just over 403,000 inhabitants in the city registry office. Tallinn has a peculiar record. Among the Capitals of Europe, it is the one characterized by the highest percentage of inhabitants not belonging to the European Union: almost the 30%! This demographic phenomenon is due to the fact that, after achieving independence, many Russians remained in Tallinn without obtaining Estonian citizenship.
Located on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland, within its metropolitan area there are several lakes from which the city gets most of its water supply. The only remarkable river is located in the suburb of Pirita.
Toompea is the characteristic hill which raises in the central part of the city. It is 30 meters high and covers an area of about 400 by 250 meters.
The transport system
Tallinn is also an important communication hub as far as concerns transportation and trade. Its port is one of the most important ones of the all Baltic region. Several ferries and hydrofoils daily connect the city to Helsinki, located on the north shore of the Gulf of Finland, just 80 kilometres from Tallinn. The crossing is just over two hours.
Tallinn has an international airport located at about 4 kilometres from the centre of the city and connected by shuttle buses to the main points of the capital. The airport offers connections to the main European cities.
The railway company Edelaraudtee connects Tallinn to Tartu, Parnu and Narva. You can get to Moscow by daily overnight trains with sleeping cars.
Tallinn is situated along the highway route referred to as the "Baltic Route" which connects Prague to Helsinki, through Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.
Urban buses connect the different parts of the city. There are also several suburban buses reaching different places in Harjumaa County, at about forty kilometres from the city.
In Tallinn there is a good number of taxis belonging to different companies. Taxi stops can be found in several point of the city, especially near the Old Town and close to the main hotels. Taxi drivers often speak English.
Tallinn is a remarkable capital from a cultural viewpoint. There are many theatres, museums and concert halls. The city is also the centre of the economic activities of the country. It includes a modern city, banks, offices and many business activities. It is no coincidence that the magazine Newsweek included it among the most innovative cities in the world.
In 2005, the New York Times described Estonia as a "small Silicon Valley on the Baltic area."
In Tallinn it is possible to feel a deep sense of renewal, which shows itself in the vibrant vitality concerning building trade. In the last ten years Tallinn has changed in an impressive way.
The city government
Tallinn is located in Harjumaa County. It is the most populous Estonian county, of which, of course, Tallinn is the capital.
The capital of Estonia is divided into eight administrative districts. Each of them manage the status concerning its urban area of expertise.
Each district is headed by a President appointed by the city executive consulting according to the Mayor proposal, after the consultation with the Administrative Councils of the districts which are involved. The Councils offer the city executive consulting suggestions and ideas to better organize the administration of the territory.
Official website’: www.tourism.tallinn.ee