Northern Estonia

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Northern Estonia
Country Estonia
Capital Tallinn, Rakvere, Jõhvi
 • Total 11,324 km2 (4,372 sq mi)
Population (2014)
 • Total 780,392
 • Density 69/km2 (180/sq mi)

Northern Estonia (Estonian: Põhja-Eesti) is a geographical region of Estonia, consisting of the three northernmost counties - Harju County, Ida-Viru County and Lääne-Viru County. The largest towns of Northern Estonia are Tallinn (capital of Estonia), Narva, Kohtla-Järve and Rakvere. Northern Estonia is the most populous area in Estonia, with 60.3% of the population living there.

Northern Estonia has two main ethnic groups - Estonians and Russians. Ida-Viru County, most notably, has a large Russian population. The population of Ida-Viru County is 72.8% Russian, unlike other Estonian counties, where 80% of the population is Estonian. Harju County also has a large Russian population (31,2%), mainly of it resides in Tallinn. Lääne-Viru County, however, only has 9.5% Russian population.


Northern Estonia covers about a quarter of Estonia. It is located on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland. The shoreline is characterized by many peninsulas, most of these are located in the westernmost part (Harjumaa). There are also numerous islands, largest are Naissaar, Aegna and Pakri Islands. The highest point in Northern Estonia is Emumägi (166m). The area is mainly covered by forests.

Ida-Viru County has large deposits of oil shale. Estonia has one of the largest deposits of oil shale in the world. In 2008, Estonia was the second largest producer of oil-shale products. In 2009, 80% of oil shale used globally was extracted in Estonia. In 2005, the oil-shale-fired Narva Power Plants accounted for 95% of the country's electrical generation.


The most common language spoken in Northern Estonia is Estonian. Russian is the second most spoken language, mainly in Tallinn and Ida-Viru County. The northeastern coastal dialect is also spoken, the Middle Estonian dialect is sometimes spoken in Lääne-Viru County. The East Estonian dialect (similar to the Votic language) sometimes also reaches Ida-Viru County.