Amazing Blend of Old and New
Tallinn never fails to amaze visitors with its historical charm. At its heart is the Medieval Old Town, an area of cobblestone streets, gabled houses, churches and squares that developed here from the 13th to the 15th centuries when Tallinn boomed as a key Hanseatic commercial hub. Old Town has long been the main draw for newcomers – in fact it's so unique that UNESCO added it to its World Heritage List in 1997. Other regions of the city reflect different ages, from the romantic, Tsarist-era Kadriorg Park to the unforgettable, early-20th-century wooden house district of Kalamaja. A modern shopping/business district in the city centre completes the tableau, making Tallinn an amazing blend of old and new.
Historical Meeting Point
Ever since the days of Viking traders Tallinn has been a meeting point for various cultures and nations, so visitors coming from any direction are bound to find something familiar, and something exotic, when they explore the city. Estonia's various rulers – Danish, Livonian, German, Swedish and Russian – have each left their mark on Tallinn's landscape, and their influence can be found reflected in the city's architecture, art and even its restaurant cuisine.
Estonia loves to showcase its rich culture, especially the traditional mass singing events that define the soul of the nation. Chief among these is the Estonian Song and Dance Celebration, held every five years, which involves as many as 37,000 performers and attracts over 200,000 spectators. There are also a number of major annual events to see including the Jazzkaar International Jazz Festival, Old Town Days, Medieval Days, Tallinn Maritime Days, Birgitta Festival, Tallinn Marathon, Black Nights Film Festival and the Simpel Session skateboard and BMX competition.
Closer than You Think
Tallinn is easy to reach – just a two- to three-hour flight from most European capitals – and once you arrive, getting into town is a snap. Lennart Meri International Airport is only 4 km from the city centre, putting it just ten minutes away from the downtown hotels. The ferry terminals and train station are also located a short distance from the Medieval Old Town. Thanks to its small size and compact layout, Tallinn is easy to explore on foot, eliminating the headaches of bus transfers and taxi rides.
On the Cutting Edge
Tallinn is widely recognised as one of the world’s most technology-oriented cities, offering a range of cutting-edge solutions from e-government to mobile parking. Free Wi-Fi is available just about everywhere, including hotel rooms, conference centres, restaurants, cafés and even public squares and parks, so delegates will never have trouble staying in touch. The city also hosts a dynamic business community, of which tech plays a major part. Tallinn, for example, is home to the world development headquarters of the Internet telephony company Skype.
For fresh air and relaxation, Tallinn is hard to beat. This small, relatively quiet city boasts an impressive 40 km2 of parks and forests, and has a beautiful, 2-km stretch of sand beach bordering its bay. Visitors can stroll along well-developed seaside pathways, explore the natural beauty of suburban bog trails, take sailing trips to nearby islands or even hit the links at a neighbouring golf course.