8 Things You Didn’t Know About Tallinn, Estonia’s Capital City

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8 Things You Didn’t Know About Tallinn, Estonia’s Capital City

Tallinn is a city with ancient roots and a firm grip on the future. It's a place where 'the most advanced digital society in the world' (as dubbed by Wired) thrives among Medieval architecture and centuries-old traditions. Home to cultural and historical gems as well as modern marvels, Estonia's capital is sure to surprise you. Surprise yourself with these incredible facts about the fascinating capital of Estonia, Tallinn.

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8 Things You Didn’t Know About Tallinn, Estonia’s Capital City

Tallinn's Old Town is an Old World Treasure

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Tallinn's Old Town is a major tourist attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage Site known as one of Europe's best-preserved towns from the Medieval Period. The incredible towering stone Viru Gate, which welcomes visitors to the city's historic center, dates back to the 14th Century and was part of the city's defenses.

The Town Hall Pharmacy Has Been in Business for Over 500 Years

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The Town Hall Pharmacy, known as "Raeapteek" in Estonian, was first mentioned in Tallinn's official records in 1422. Since that time and possibly before, the pharmacy has continued to operate much as it always has. It's now known as Europe's longest-operating pharmacy. These days, the pharmacy stocks modern medicine, but visitors will also find an exhibition on traditional herbs and cures from centuries ago.

Tallinn is Also Home to Estonia's Oldest Cafe

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The Maiasmokk Cafe in Tallinn has been in business since 1864, and is the oldest one in the country. The interior of the shop has been the same for over one hundred years, and adds to the shop's antique charm. Guests can try traditional Estonian fare and check out the marzipan museum on the premises.

Tallinn Hosts Estonia's Largest Cultural Festival

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Held only once every five years, the Estonian Song and Dance Celebration was declared a UNESCO Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The festivals are on an enormous scale - the Estonian Song Festival amateur choir reached 30,000 members in 2014. The celebration is a way to keep traditional Estonian folk song and dance alive.

Tallinn's Christmas Market is World Renowned

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As voted by readers, European Best Destinations crowned Tallinn's annual Christmas Market number one in Europe in 2019, and not for the first time. The historical setting, well-preserved heritage buildings and deep-rooted holiday traditions make Estonia's capital the ideal place to host Europe's best Christmas market, as well as the perfect place to plan your next winter holiday season.

The Church Was Once the Tallest Building in the World

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St. Olaf's Church is described in records as the tallest building in the world, from approximately 1549 to 1625. This fact is a bit hard to prove, but even without the title, the church is an impressive landmark of Tallinn's Old Town and has a long history. Built in the 12th Century, the holy building is dedicated to Saint Olav, also known as King Olaf II of Norway. Today, it is an active Baptist church with a devote following.

Tallinn Used to be Called 'Reval'

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After Denmark conquered Estonia in 1219, the port town of Tallinn became known as Reval, a derivative of the surrounding county's name, Revala. Before that, the town went by many names in many different languages, including Lindanise. The name 'Reval' was in official use until 1918, when the country gained independence and adopted the Estonian name of 'Tallinn' for their capital city.

Tallinn is the Silicon Valley of Europe

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Among European countries, Estonia has the highest number of startups per person and even offers a 'Startup Visa' as a way to encourage young entrepreneurs to relocate and join its growing startup community. Digital household names like Skype, as well as up-and-comers like MeetFrank, started in Tallinn, and that list of names is only expected to grow over the next few decades.

In Conclusion

Whether you're searching for a base to launch the next big startup, a chance to experience a fairytale Christmas or simply a place to delve into Europe's Medieval past, Tallinn is the ideal city to visit.