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Estonia is a country of striking natural beauty and stunning seaside locations, together with historical and modern contrasts. Formerly a Soviet occupied country, it gained its independence in 1991 and since has seen radical changes including its entry into NATO and the EU in 2004. Now a prosperous and forward-thinking country, Estonia is at the same time an ancient land with loads of historical sights and interesting tales to tell. For the last ten years, the country has enjoyed a building and renovation boom that continues today; however some of its former rugged beauty such as ruins and the soviet sights are beginning to disappear. If you want to experience the full range of what Estonia has to offer and still catch a glimpse of what the country looked like during the occupation, you may want to book a flight soon. Of course we’ll always have Tallinn’s Old Town and numerous other centuries-old sights all over Estonia, which have been preserved and protected for the centuries to come. Whether it is for the nature, the culture or the history, we welcome you to explore Estonia and wish you an enjoyable stay.

Medieval Capital

A Thousand Years of History

In the 10th century, ancient Estonians established a port on the edge of the Gulf of Finland, together with a trading area. A fortress was built for protection away from the sea on a limestone cliff. The name of this place today is Toompea. Scandinavian chronicles have called it Lindanäs, Russian chronicles have used Kolõvan or Ledenets. Some of the roads which led to the former fortress later became city streets, such as Pikk jalg, Pikk, Harju, Pühavaimu, and Vene Street.

Medieval Capital

In 1219 the Danes, led by King Waldemar II, conquered Northern Estonia and founded their own stone fortress at the spot where Lindanis had stood. A populated city developed at the foot of Toompea. The Dome Church was built as a symbol of Christianity during this period.
During the Danish period (1219-1346), a street network developed within the city walls that has remained to the present day. A town hall, guild houses, churches and convents, storehouses and defensive structures were built. Residential buildings were mostly made of wood. The magistrate based city organization on the Lübeck city rights from 1248 at the latest.

The Oldest clock in Tallinn

In 1285 Tallinn became a member of the Hanseatic League. The city now received two names, two coats of arms, and two flags. The Estonians preferred the name Tallinn, while Germans and Danes preferred Reval or Revel, after the earlier county name.
During the period of the sovereignty of the Livonian Order (1347-1561), the Old Town's building up with stone buildings was brought to completion. Tallinn, with its 66 defense towers, belonged among the most powerful fortified towns in Northern Europe. The population grew to 7,000-8,000 by the end of this period. The Lutheran Reformation (1524) gave a boost to the rise of Estonian literary culture.

Battleground of Empires

During the Swedish period (1561-1710), Tallinn forfeited its previous mercantile prosperity in the course of wars. Construction work concentrated on developing a powerful zone of earth fortresses outside the medieval town wall. The silhouette of the city changed – baroque, swelling tower tips rose beside the needle-sharp spires of older towers. The tall Gothic A-frame residential houses were kept, but their interiors were modernized.
Churches and the Town Hall received new baroque interiors.

Tallinn capitulated to Russian forces in 1710, during the Northern War. Tsar Peter I confirmed all the city's earlier privileges, which had been granted by the Danish and Swedish kings and the lords of the Livonian Order. These privileges guaranteed Tallinn a fair amount of autonomy within Tsarist Russia, known as the special Baltic order. This preserved the local government, civil and criminal laws, the court and school system, the Lutheran church and the conducting of official affairs in German.

Towers of the Town Wall

The status of fortified town, and the building limitations that came with it, helped to preserve the Old Town and the chain of bastions surrounding it with an authentic original appearance.
An important change in the city's development was brought about by Tallinn's being taken off the list of fortified towns (1857) and by the establishment of rail connections with St. Petersburg. The rapid pace of industrial development was begun. Large factories were built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and the bulk of their production was sent to Russia. Tallinn became one of Russia's most important ports. A growing need for workers caused massive immigration – the city's population increased six-fold over the course of 50 years, reaching 160,000 people by 1917. Large numbers of industrial workers were sent to Tallinn from inner Russia. The portion of Russians and Estonians in the population grew dramatically, whereas the Baltic-Germans, who had previously played a leading role in the development of the town, became a minority lacking political influence. Russian urban law replaced the Lübeck city rights in 1877. German was replaced by Russian as the language used in schools and official business.

St. Olaf's Church

The best part of the Tsarist Russian legacy in Tallinn can be seen in architecture. Kadrioru palace and park, built on the orders of Peter I, the Estonian provincial government building on Toompea (currently the seat of Estonian government) and many churches, theatres, banks and schoolhouses date from this period.

The Twentieth Century

On February 24, 1918, the Estonian Salvation Committee declared the independent democratic Republic of Estonia, which was neutral in the ongoing war between Russia and Germany. On the very next day, the city was taken over by German kaiser forces who did not recognize Estonian independence. After the November Revolution in Germany, the occupying forces departed and the temporary Estonian government took power. The people's power immediately had to organize a defense against an attacking Russian Bolshevik army, and the Estonian War for Independence began. The War for Independence finished with the Tartu Peace Treaty, signed in Tartu on February 2, 1920. Russia gave up all rights to sovereignty over Estonia with the peace treaty. Tallinn became the capital of the Republic of Estonia.

The building of the 'Riigikogu'

Independence gave such a strong thrust to the development of the city that the architectural additions of the 1920s and 1930s, particularly in residential buildings, remain among the best of the city's buildings. However, peaceful development lasted but twenty years.
The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, signed in 1939, allowed the Red Army to establish navy bases in Tallinn. By this time, the city's population was 179,000. About 15,000 Baltic Germans were relocated back to Germany from Tallinn and the rest of Estonia. In June, 1940, Soviet troops occupied Estonia, abolishing independence and establishing a Soviet order.
The German occupation began on August 28, 1941.

A Soviet bomb attack on March 9, 1944, killed or wounded over 1100 people. 11% of the Old Town was shattered, 50% of the city's residential areas were destroyed, and 20,000 people lost their homes.
The German fascist occupation was replaced by Soviet occupation in September, 1944. 127,000 people remained in the city.

Estonia was occupied by the Soviet Union from 1944 to 1991. Under the pretense of rebuilding Tallinn and developing industry, massive immigration from Russia and other Soviet republics raised the population to 500,000, and brought the percentage of Estonians down to 48.5%. Soviet architecture includes new residential areas with standard high-rise buildings such as Mustamäe, Õismäe and Lasnamäe and heavy, gray industrial areas and army bases.
General repairs and clean-up took place in the late 1970s because the sailing regatta of the Moscow Olympic Games took place in Tallinn in 1980.
The Singing Revolution began in 1988, primarily at the initiative of creative unions and the Estonian Heritage Society.

The 'Three Sister's from a wealthy Hanseatic trademan's residence

On August 20, 1991, the Estonian Supreme Soviet declared the reestablishment of Estonian independence, on the basis of legal continuity, in Toompea Palace. In August 1994, the last Russian army troops left Tallinn. With this, World War II finally came to a close for Estonia.
One aspect of the legacy left by the Soviet occupation in Estonia was the radical changes undergone in the demographics of the population. The majority of Soviet army pensioners preferred to stay in Estonia after the reestablishment of independence.

The Old Town was taken under the heritage protection in 1971. In December, 1997, UNESCO placed Tallinn's Old Town on the World Heritage List. The Old Town covers only 0.7% of today's city territory, but it has remained the most interesting and most valuable part of the city. In the beginning of the year 2000, there were 4,000 people living in the Old Town of Tallinn. The large coat of arms of the city, with three blue lions against a gold background, comes from the coat of arms of the Danish king, who was once the ruling sovereign. The city's flag, with three blue and three white stripes is also derived from the large coat of arms. The small coat of arms, with a white Latin cross against a red background comes from the national Danish flag of dannebrog, which, according to legend, fell from the sky after a battle over Tallinn's fortress.

Reval Clinic - KT Kliinik
Kaluritee 5A Tallinn ESTONIA