Tallinn

Tallinn
From top: Old Town, KUMU (Art Museum of Estonia), Tallinn Song Festival Grounds, Kadriorg Palace, Viru Gate, City Centre
Tallinn is located in Europe
Tallinn
Tallinn
Location within Europe
Tallinn is located in Baltic Sea
Tallinn
Tallinn
Location within Baltic Sea region
Tallinn is located in Estonia
Tallinn
Tallinn
Location within Estonia
Coordinates: 59°26′14″N 24°44′43″E / 59°26′14″N 24°44′43″E / 59.43722; 24.74528

Tallinn (n/;[4][5][6] Estonian: [ˈtɑlʲˑinˑ]; names in other languages) is the capital, primate and the most populous city of Estonia. Located in the northern part of the country, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland of the Baltic Sea, it has a population of 434,562[1]. Administratively a part of Harju maakond (county), Tallinn is a major financial, industrial, cultural, educational and research centre of Estonia. Tallinn is located 80 kilometres (50 mi) south of Helsinki, Finland, 320 kilometres (200 mi) west of Saint Petersburg, Russia, and 380 kilometres (240 mi) east of Stockholm, Sweden. It has close historical ties with these three cities. From the 13th century until the first half of the 20th century Tallinn was known in most of the world by its historical German name Reval.

Tallinn, first mentioned in 1219, received city rights in 1248,[7] but the earliest human settlements date back 5,000 years.[8] The first recorded claim over the land was laid by Denmark in 1219, after a successful raid of Lyndanisse led by king Valdemar II, followed by a period of alternating Scandinavian and Teutonic rulers. Due to its strategic location, the city became a major trade hub, especially from the 14th to the 16th century, when it grew in importance as part of the Hanseatic League. Tallinn's Old Town is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[9]

Tallinn has the highest number of startups per person among European countries[10] and is a birthplace of many international high technology companies, including Skype and Transferwise.[11] The city is to house the headquarters of the European Union's IT agency.[12] Providing to the global cybersecurity it is the home to the NATO Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence.Tallinn is ranked as a global city and has been listed among the top ten digital cities in the world.[13] The city was a European Capital of Culture for 2011, along with Turku in Finland.

Etymology

Historical names

In 1154, a town called قلون (Qlwn[14] or Qalaven, possibly derivations of Kalevan or Kolyvan)[15][16] 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 was suggested that Quwri may have denoted a predecessor of the modern city.[17][18] Another possibly one of the earliest name of Tallinn is Kolyvan (Russian: Колывань), which has been discovered from East Slavic chronicles and may somehow be connected to the Estonian mythical hero Kalev.[19][20] However, a number of modern historians have considered connecting al-Idrisi placename(s) with Tallinn unfounded and erroneous.[21][7][22][23]

Henry of Livonia in his chronicle called the town with the name that is also known to have been used up to the 13th century by Scandinavians: Lindanisa (or Lyndanisse in Danish,[24][25][26] Lindanäs in Swedish and Ledenets in Old East Slavic). It has been suggested that the archaic Estonian word linda is similar to the Votic word lidna 'castle, town'. According to this suggestion, nisa would have the same meaning as niemi 'peninsula', producing Kesoniemi, the old Finnish name for the city.[27]

Another ancient historical name for Tallinn is Rääveli in Finnish. The Icelandic Njal's saga mentions Tallinn and calls it Rafala, which is probably based on the primitive form of Revala. This name originated from Latin Revelia (Revala or Rävala in Estonian), the adjacent ancient name of the surrounding area. After the Danish conquest in 1219, the town became known in the German, Swedish and Danish languages as Reval (Latin: Revalia). Reval was in official use in Estonia until 1918.

Modern name

The lesser coat of arms of Tallinn, which depicts the Dannebrog cross.

The name Tallinn(a) is Estonian. It is usually thought to be derived from Taani-linn(a), (meaning 'Danish-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 or town'), or talu-linna ('house/farmstead-castle or 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 names in German About this soundReval  and Russian Revel (Ревель) were replaced after Estonia became independent in 1918.

At first, both forms Tallinna and Tallinn were used.[28] The United States Board on Geographic Names adopted the form Tallinn between June 1923 and June 1927.[29] Tallinna in Estonian denotes the genitive case of the name, as in Tallinna Reisisadam ('the Port of Tallinn').

In Russian, the spelling of the name was changed from Таллинн to Таллин[30] (Tallin) by the Soviet authorities in the 1950s, and this spelling is still officially sanctioned by the Russian government, while Estonian authorities have been using the spelling Таллинн in Russian-language publications since the restoration of independence. The form Таллин is also used in several other languages in some of the countries that emerged from the former Soviet Union. Due to the Russian spelling, the form Tallin is sometimes found in international publications; it is also the official form in Spanish.[31]

Other variations of modern spellings include Tallinna in Finnish, Tallina in Latvian and Talinas in Lithuanian.