Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia, situated on the northern coast of the country, with a population of some 430,000 people. The city is a real magnet in this country of 1.5 million, which won its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. As a historic port city, Tallinn has become an important bridge between East and West.
The city is a unique mix of a Hanseatic old town connected to a thriving business centre with skyscrapers, hotels, conference and leisure venues. The capital generates 51% of the country’s GDP from its manufacturing, retail trade, transport, construction and shipbuilding sectors. Its well-educated labour force and low taxes have helped to develop the IT sector—establishing Tallinn among the Top 10 digital cities in the world. Skype is one of the best-known Estonian start-ups. However the city and country face high level of emigration to neighbouring Finland, due to better salaries and quality of life. This brain drain is a particular problem among the young, qualified workforce. The local unemployment rate is 13.5%.
As European Capital of Culture in 2011, the city has an emerging cultural scene and well-preserved heritage. Its picturesque Old Town is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and cultural tourism is an important earner for the city. The Estonian capital has good educational facilities, including the Tallinn University of Technology, the Tallinn University Baltic Film and Media School, one of Europe’s largest—and Northern Europe’s only—English-language film and media school, and the Estonian Arts Academy.
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