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Published on Feb 1, 2011
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 411,980. 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.Historical names
In 1154 a town called Qlwn or Qalaven (possible derivations of Kalevan or Kolyvan) was put on the world map of the Almoravid by cartographer Muhammad al-Idrisi who described it as a small town like a large castle among the towns of Astlanda. It has been suggested that the Quwri in Astlanda may have denoted the predecessor town of today's Tallinn.
The earliest names of Tallinn include Kolyvan (Russian: Колывань) known from East Slavic chronicles, the name possibly deriving from the Estonian mythical hero Kalev.
Up to the 13th century the Scandinavians and Henry of Livonia in his chronicle called the town Lindanisa: Lyndanisse in Danish, Lindanäs in Swedish, also mentioned as Ledenets in Old East Slavic. According to some theories the name derived from mythical Linda, the wife of Kalev and the mother of Kalevipoeg. who in an Estonian legend carried rocks to her husband's grave that formed the Toompea hill. It has been also suggested that in the context the meaning of linda in the archaic Estonian language, that is similar to lidna in Votic, had the same meaning as linna or linn later on meaning a castle or town in English. According to the suggestion nisa would have had the same meaning as niemi (meaning peninsula in English) in an old Finnish form of the name Kesoniemi.
Other than Kesoniemi known ancient historical names of Tallinn in Finnish include Rääveli. The Icelandic Njálssaga mentions Tallinn and calls it Rafala, which is a variant of the name Raphael. SOURCE : WIKIPEDIA