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The unique value of Tallinn’s Old Town lies first and foremost in the well-preserved completeness of its medieval milieu and structure, which has been lost in most of the capitals of northern Europe. Since 1997, the Old Town of Tallinn has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

Its powerful defensive structures have protected Tallinn from being destroyed in wars, and its lack of wooden buildings has protected it from burning down. But it is also crucial that Tallinn hasn’t been massively rebuilt in the interest of dispensing with the old and modernising the town.

Tallinn is one of the best retained medieval European towns, with its web of winding cobblestone streets and properties, from the 11th to 15th centuries, preserved nearly in its entirety. All the most important state and church buildings from the Middle Ages have been preserved in their basic original form, as well as many citizens’ and merchants’ residences, along with barns and warehouses from the medieval period.

The golden era in Tallinn’s history lies in the period between the early 15th and mid 16th centuries. Tallinn had attained fame and a powerful role in the Baltic Sea area through its membership in the Hanseatic League. Economic might carried with it both the need to defend the city and the opportunity for a rich period of architectural and artistic creativity.


Estonia

Estonia, the most northerly of the Baltic states, regained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. It is a mainly flat country on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea, with many lakes and islands. Much of the land is farmed or forested.

The Estonian language is closely related to Finnish, but bears no resemblance to the languages of the other Baltic republics, Latvia and Lithuania, or to Russian. About one quarter of the population is of Russian-speaking origin.

The capital, Tallinn, is one of the best-preserved mediaeval cities in Europe, and tourism accounts for 15% of Estonian GDP. The main sectors of the economy are engineering, food products, metals, chemicals and wood products.
Throughout history, many other nations who ruled the region – Danes, Germans, Swedes, Poles and Russians – have influenced Estonian cuisine. Among the traditional dishes are marinated eel, blood sausage and sauerkraut stew with pork.
Famous Estonians include the writer Jaan Kross whose work has been translated into 20 languages, the author of the national epic (Kalevipoeg) Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald, and the writer, film-maker, diplomat and politician Lennart Meri.
(Source:travelbaltics & Tourism.Tallinn)

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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