Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It occupies an area of 159.2 km2 with a population of about 420,000 people. It is situated on the northern coast of the country, on the banks of the Gulf of Finland, 80 km south of Helsinki, east of Stockholm and west of Saint Petersburg. Tallinn's Old Town is in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and has some amazingly preserved buildings that are centuries old. 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, Finland. The city was known as Reval from the 13th century until the 1920s.
Toompea – the Upper Town 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 Estonia, 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 Estonian Royal Palace now the Parliament building.
All-linn – the Lower Town 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).
The modern city that surrounds the medieval Old City is undergoing a wave of renovations, demolitions and upgrades. We visited Tallinn when we were staying in Helsinki in 2001 and an excellent ferry service connects the two cities, with many tourists (and shoppers!) from Finland visiting the Estonian capital. I daresay that prices would have gone up somewhat now in Estonia and the shopping trips may not be as attractive to the Finns.
This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme.