Europe’s Capital of Culture 2011: Tallinn (Estonia) and Turku (Finland)

Monday, 3 January 2011 - 03:17 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Architecture, European Union, European Capital of Culture, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  6 minutes

© Tallinn 2011

© Tallinn 2011

Tallinn
Tallinn was appointed in November 2007 together with the Finnish City of Turku to one of the European Capital’s of Culture 2011. With the motto “Tales from the sea” numerous cultural events and festivals will be held in 2011, including the “Tallinn Maritime Days”, which will bring the city closer to the sea again. About a dozen architectural installations will be built in the city. Since independence, improving air and sea transport links with Western Europe and Estonia’s accession to the European Union have made Tallinn easily accessible to tourists. Estonia has made rapid economic progress since independence and this is reflected in local prices. Although not extortionate, neither are prices as cheap as in other former Eastern Bloc countries. The main attractions are in the two old towns (Lower Town and Toompea – UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites since 1997) which are both easily explored on foot. Eastern districts around Pirita and Kadriorg are also worth visiting and the Estonian Open Air Museum (Eesti Vabaõhumuuseum) in Rocca al Mare, west of the city, preserves aspects of Estonian rural culture and architecture.

Tallinn Harbor © Ralf Roletschek

Tallinn Harbor © Ralf Roletschek

Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It occupies an area of 159.2 km2 (61.5 sq mi) with a population of 412,000. It is situated on the northern coast of the country, on the banks of the Gulf of Finland, 80 km (50 mi) south of Helsinki, west of Saint Petersburg. In addition to longtime functions as seaport and capital city, Tallinn has seen development of an information technology sector in recent years; in its 13 December 2005, edition, The New York Times characterized Estonia as “a sort of Silicon Valley on the Baltic Sea”. One of Tallinn’s sister cities is the Silicon Valley town of Los Gatos, California. Skype is one of the best-known of several Tallinn IT start-ups.

To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsleter service and/or operate Facepage pages/Twitter accounts. Read more on City of Tallinn, Tallinn Tourism and Wikipedia Tallinn.





© Turku 2011

© Turku 2011

Turku
Turku is a city situated on the southwest coast of Finland at the mouth of the Aura River. It is located in the region of Finland Proper. It is believed that Turku came into existence during the end of the 13th century which makes it the oldest city in Finland. Turku quickly became the most important city in Finland and retained that status for hundreds of years until Finland became part of the Russian Empire in 1809 and the capital of the Grand Duchy of Finland was transferred to Helsinki in 1812. After that Turku continued to be the most populous city in Finland until the end of the 1840s. Today Turku remains a regional capital and is an important location for business and culture.

View from Turku Cathedral Tower © Markus Koljonen

View from Turku Cathedral Tower © Markus Koljonen

Because of its long history it has been the site of many important historical events and has extensively influenced Finnish history. For the year 2011, Turku has been designated to be the European Capital of Culture together with Tallinn. In 1996 it was declared the official Christmas City of Finland. Due to its location, Turku is a notable commercial and passenger seaport city with over three million passengers travelling through Port of Turku each year to Stockholm and Mariehamn. As of 31 October 2010, Turku’s population was 177,504, which makes it the fifth largest city in Finland by population. As of 31 August 2008 there were 303,492 inhabitants living in the Turku sub-region, which makes it the third largest urban area in Finland after the Greater Helsinki area and Tampere sub-region. The city is officially bilingual as 5.2 percent of its population identify as speaking Swedish as a mother-tongue.

To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facepage pages/Twitter accounts. Read more on Turku2011.fi, City of Turku, Turku Tourism, Wikivoyage Turku and Wikipedia Turku. Learn more about the use of photos.






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