Tallinn is a beautiful city, with a magnificent old town with one of the most extensive medieval walls, much of which can be walked round. The Old Town is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tallinn’s medieval port was a significant trade hub in medieval times, and the city was the northernmost member of the Hanseatic League. Not all of its history is so positive, however. Estonia has been invaded and occupied time and again by various foreign powers. It was taken over by Sweden in 1561; by Imperial Russia in 1710 (after Sweden’s defeat by Peter the Great in the Great Northern War); and, after a brief period of Independence, by Germany in November 1918. It enjoyed another period of independence between the first and second world wars, but was occupied by Nazi Germany from 1941 to 1944, and, following Hitler’s defeat, by the Soviet Union until 1991. Now Estonia is relishing its independence, and Tallinn is proud to be a relaxed, modern, cultural city with a thriving IT industry. The horror of occupation can be experienced in the Museum of Occupations and Freedom, which is well worth a visit.
The population of Tallinn, as of 1 Jan 2021, was 438,341. Ethnic Russians make up around 30%. In Soviet times there was an attempt to control the Estonian population (and that of other republics) by means of ‘Russification‘ – i.e. diluting the native population with Russian immigrants. This means that Russian is widely spoken in the city, and a considerable number of Russians were born and bred there. Mixed marriages have resulted in many families speaking both languages fluently.
Students wishing to study in Tallinn are able to choose a range of accommodations to meet their needs. These include hotel, apartments, Airbnb, and Homestay (i.e. staying with a host family). Language Link will arrange Homestay accommodation. Please see the Accommodation section for approximate costs.
Featured image: Ivar Leidus (Iifar), CC BY-SA 3.0 EE https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ee/deed.en, via Wikimedia Commons