Postcard of the Old Town of Tallinn, Estonia, sent from Maria.
Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It occupies an area of 159.2 km2 with a population of 411,196. The Tallinn Old Town (including Toompea) became a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 1997.
The origin of the name "Tallinn(a)" is certain to be Estonian, although the original meaning of the name is debated. It is usually thought to be derived from "Taani-linn(a)" (meaning "Danish-castle/town") after the Danes built the castle in place of the Estonian stronghold at Lindanisse. However, it could also have come from "tali-linna" ("winter-castle/town"), or "talu-linna" ("house/farmstead-castle/town"). The element -linna, like Germanic -burg and Slavic -grad / -gorod, originally meant "fortress" but is used as a suffix in the formation of town names. The previously used official German name Reval was replaced after Estonia became independent in 1918–1920. At first both forms Tallinna and Tallinn were used. The form Tallinna appearing in modern times in Estonian denotes the genitive case of the name, as in Tallinna Reisisadam (Port of Tallinn). [wikipedia]