Tallinn, the oldest capital in Northern Europe was first marked on the world map in 1154 by an Arabian geographer called al-Idrisi. The Old Town of Tallinn, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, is one of the most authentically preserved medieval city centres in Europe. The sights well worth visiting in the area are a 2-kilometres-long route along the old city wall and its 26 watchtowers, a Dominican monastery built in 1246, the 600-year-old Gothic Town Hall Square, one of the oldest still active pharmacies in Europe found on the Town Hall Square and numerous churches. It’s a very walkable city, which is handy for cruise-ship tourists and the large number of day-trippers who catch the ferry from Helsinki.
The city is also an exciting mix of old and new. There’s an evident respect for history, and it’s one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval cities – yet Estonia is one of the most internet-savvy countries in Europe, with Tallinn one of the best-connected Wi-Fi cities, and home to Skype, the free internet telephone service.
Tallinn has made a name for itself as one of world’s most technology-oriented cities. Thanks to a wealth of innovative companies and skilled programmers, Tallinn has become known as the ‘Silicon Valley of the Baltics’. The creative use of modern technology and innovation has drastically simplified the working life, if we talk about registering a new business online in minutes, paying for various products and services (like parking, public transportation) by mobile phone or signing a legally-binding contract with your digital signature based on ID-card. A number of foreign companies also outsource to Estonia for custom applications and web design.
Besides ICT there are few more key areas, whose contribution to the development of Tallinn is substantial and whose development has a major influence on other economic activities. These are mechatronics, biotechnology, creative industries, maritime operations and logistics and financial services.
Tallinn has a richness to be a home for most of creative companies in Estonia, supported by providers of higher education in the field of visual culture and development centres in all the main sub sectors of creative industries in Estonia (architecture, audio-visual, design, performing arts, entertainment IT, publishing, cultural heritage, art, music and advertising). As a result, creative industries play a considerable role in regional development and tourism. Tallinn is attractive for both creators and consumers due to its large market with a great variety of creative spheres being represented. Creativity and culture are beginning more and more to be seen as a way to increase the added value of products, to make the living environment more pleasant and attractive for everyone.