From top to bottom: Viru Gate, Old Town of Tallinn, City Center
|First appeared on map||1154|
|• Deputy Mayor||Taavi Aas (Centre Party)|
|• City||159.2 km2 (61.5 sq mi)|
|Elevation||9 m (30 ft)|
|Population (1 June 2016)|
|Time zone||EET (UTC+2)|
|• Summer (DST)||EEST (UTC+3)|
|Area code(s)||(+372) 64|
Tallinn (// or //, Estonian pronunciation: [ˈtɑlʲˑinˑ]; names in other languages) is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It is situated on the northern coast of the country, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, 80 km (50 mi) south of Helsinki, east of Stockholm and west of Saint Petersburg. From the 13th century until 1918 (and briefly during the Nazi occupation of Estonia from 1941 to 1944), the city was known as Reval. Tallinn occupies an area of 159.2 km2 (61.5 sq mi) and has a population of 440,950. Approximately 32% of Estonia's total population lives in Tallinn.
Tallinn was founded in 1248, but the earliest human settlements are over 5,000 years old, making it one of the oldest capital cities of Northern Europe. Due to its strategic location, the city became a major trade hub, especially from the 14th to the 16th century, when it grew in importance as part of the Hanseatic League.
Tallinn's Old Town is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tallinn is the major political, financial, cultural and educational center of Estonia. Often dubbed as the Silicon Valley of Europe, it has the highest number of startups per person in Europe and is a birthplace of many international companies including Skype. Providing to the global cybersecurity it is the home to the NATO Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. It is ranked as a global city and has been listed among the top 10 digital cities in the world. The city was a European Capital of Culture for 2011, along with Turku in Finland.
- 1 Toponymy
- 2 History
- 3 Geography
- 4 Climate
- 5 Administrative districts
- 6 Demographics
- 7 Economy
- 8 Education
- 9 Tourism
- 10 Transport
- 11 International relations
- 12 Image gallery
- 13 See also
- 14 References
- 15 External links
In 1154, a town called Qlwn or Qalaven (which may be derivations of Kalevan or Kolyvan) was put on the world map of the Almoravid by the Arab 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 Quwri may have denoted a predecessor of the modern city. The earliest names of Tallinn include Kolyvan (Russian: Колывань), which is known from East Slavic chronicles and which may have come from the Estonian mythical hero Kalev.
Up to the 13th century, the Scandinavians and Henry of Livonia in his chronicle called the town Lindanisa (or Lyndanisse in Danish, Lindanäs in Swedish and Ledenets in Old East Slavic. According to some poetical suggestions, this name was derived from Linda, the mythical wife of Kalev and the mother of Kalevipoeg, who in an Estonian legend carried rocks to her husband's grave, which formed the Toompea hill. It has been also suggested that the archaic Estonian word linda is similar to the Votic word lidna, meaning a castle or town. According to this suggestion, nisa would have the meaning 'niemi' (or 'peninsula'), producing Kesoniemi, the old Finnish name for the city. Another ancient historical name for Tallinn in Finnish is Rääveli. The Icelandic Njal's saga mentions Tallinn and calls it Rafala, which is a variant of the name Raphael.
After the Danish conquest in 1219, the town became known in the German, Swedish and Danish languages as Reval (Latin: Revalia). The name originated from (Latin) Revelia (Estonian) Revala or Rävala, the adjacent ancient name of the surrounding area.
The name Tallinn(a) is Estonian. It is usually thought to be derived from Taani-linn(a), (meaning 'Danish-castle or town' (Latin: Castrum Danorum), 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 or town'), or talu-linna ('house/farmstead-castle or 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 names in German Reval (help·info) and Russian Revel (Ревель), were replaced after Estonia became independent in 1918. At first both forms Tallinna and Tallinn were used. The United States Board on Geographic Names adopted the form Tallinn between June 1923 and June 1927. Tallinna in Estonian denotes the genitive case of the name, as in Tallinna Reisisadam ('the Port of Tallinn').
In Russian, the spelling of the name was changed from Таллинн to Таллин (Tallin) by the Soviet authorities in the 1950s, and this spelling is still officially sanctioned by the Russian government, while Estonian authorities have been using the spelling Таллинн in Russian-language publications since the restoration of independence. The form Таллин is also used in several other languages using the Cyrillic script. Due to the Russian spelling, the form Tallin is sometimes found in international publications; it is also the official form in Spanish.
|Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn|
|Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List|
|UNESCO region||Europe and North America|
|Inscription||1997 (21st Session)|
The first traces of human settlement found in Tallinn's city center by archeologists are about 5,000 years old. The comb ceramic pottery found on the site dates to about 3000 BCE and corded ware pottery c. 2500 BCE.
As an important port for trade between Russia and Scandinavia, it became a target for the expansion of the Teutonic Knights and the Kingdom of Denmark during the period of Northern Crusades in the beginning of the 13th century when Christianity was forcibly imposed on the local population. Danish rule of Tallinn and Northern Estonia started in 1219.
In 1285, the city, then known as Reval, became the northern most member of the Hanseatic League – a mercantile and military alliance of German-dominated cities in Northern Europe. The Danes sold Reval along with their other land possessions in northern Estonia to the Teutonic Knights in 1346. Medieval Reval enjoyed a strategic position at the crossroads of trade between Western and Northern Europe and Russia. The city, with a population of 8,000, was very well fortified with city walls and 66 defence towers.
During the Great Northern War, plague stricken Tallinn along with Swedish Estonia and Livonia capitulated to Imperial Russia in 1710, but the local self-government institutions (Magistracy of Reval and Chivalry of Estonia) retained their cultural and economical autonomy within Imperial Russia as the Governorate of Estonia. The Magistracy of Reval was abolished in 1889. The 19th century brought industrialization of the city and the port kept its importance. During the last decades of the century Russification measures became stronger.
On 24 February 1918, the Independence Manifesto was proclaimed in Reval, soon to be Tallinn, followed by Imperial German occupation and a war of independence with Russia. On 2 February 1920, the Tartu Peace Treaty was signed with Soviet Russia, wherein Russia acknowledged the independence of the Estonian Republic. Tallinn became the capital of an independent Estonia. After World War II started, Estonia acceded to the Soviet Union (USSR) in 1940, and later occupied by Nazi Germany from 1941 to 1944. After the Nazi retreat in 1944, it was annexed by the USSR. After annexation into the Soviet Union, Tallinn became the capital of the Estonian SSR.
During the 1980 Summer Olympics, the sailing (then known as yachting) events were held at Pirita, north-east of central Tallinn. Many buildings, such as the "Olümpia" hotel, the new Main Post Office building, and the Regatta Centre, were built for the Olympics.
In August 1991, an independent democratic Estonian state was established and a period of quick development to a modern European capital ensued. Tallinn became the capital of a de facto independent country once again on 20 August 1991.
Tallinn has historically consisted of three parts:
- The Toompea (Domberg) or "Cathedral Hill", which was the seat of the central authority: first the Danish captains, then the komturs of the Teutonic Order, and Swedish and Russian governors. It was until 1877 a separate town (Dom zu Reval), the residence of the aristocracy; it is today the seat of the Estonian parliament, government and some embassies and residencies.
- The Old Town, which is the old Hanseatic town, the "city of the citizens", was not administratively united with Cathedral Hill until the late 19th century. It was the centre of the medieval trade on which it grew prosperous.
- The Estonian town forms a crescent to the south of the Old Town, where the Estonians came to settle. It was not until the mid-19th century that ethnic Estonians replaced the local Baltic Germans as the majority among the residents of Tallinn.
The city of Tallinn has never been razed and pillaged; that was the fate of Tartu, the university town 200 km (124 mi) south, which was pillaged in 1397 by the Teutonic Order. Around 1524 Catholic churches in many towns in Estonia, including Tallinn, were pillaged as part of the Reformational fervor: this occurred throughout Europe. Although extensively bombed by Soviet air forces during the later stages of World War II, much of the medieval Old Town still retains its charm. The Tallinn Old Town (including Toompea) became a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 1997.
At the end of the 15th century a new 159 m (521.65 ft) high Gothic spire was built for St. Olaf's Church. Between 1549 and 1625 it may have been the tallest building in the world. After several fires and subsequent periods of rebuilding, its overall height is now 123 m (403.54 ft).
Tallinn is situated on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland, in north-western Estonia.
The largest lake in Tallinn is Lake Ülemiste (9.44 km2 (3.6 sq mi)). It is the main source of the city's drinking water. Lake Harku is the second largest lake within the borders of Tallinn and its area is 1.6 square kilometres (0.6 sq mi). Tallinn does not lie on a major river. The only significant river in Tallinn is Pirita River in Pirita, a city district counted as a suburb. Historically, the small Härjapea River flowed from Lake Ülemiste through the town into the sea, but the river was diverted for sewage in the 1930s and has since completely disappeared from the cityscape. References to it still remain in the street names Jõe (from Jõgi, river) and Kivisilla (from Kivisild, stone bridge).
Tallinn has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb) with warm, mild summers and cold, snowy winters. Winters are cold but mild for its latitude, owing to its coastal location. The average temperature in February, the coldest month, is −4.3 °C (24.3 °F). During the winter months, temperatures tend to hover close to the freezing mark but mild spells of weather can push temperatures above 0 °C (32 °F), occasionally reaching above 5 °C (41 °F) while cold air masses can push temperatures below −18 °C (0 °F). On average there are 3–6 hours of above freezing throughout the day and 6 hours when the temperature reaches or drops below −17 °C (1 °F). Snowfall is common during the winter months. Winters are cloudy and are characterized by low amounts of sunshine, ranging from only 0.5 hours of sunshine per day in December to 4.1 hours in March. At the winter solstice daylight lasts for only 6 hours.
Spring starts out cool, with freezing temperatures common in March and April but gradually becomes warmer in late May when daytime temperatures average 15.2 °C (59.4 °F) although nighttime temperatures still remain cool, averaging −1.0 to 5.2 °C (30.2 to 41.4 °F) from March to May. Snowfall is common in March and can occur in April.
Summers are mild with daytime temperatures hovering around 19 to 21 °C (66 to 70 °F) and nighttime temperatures averaging between 9.6 to 12.7 °C (49.3 to 54.9 °F) from June to August. The warmest month is usually July, with an average of 17.2 °C (63.0 °F). Periods of hot weather are rare during the summer months, with only 31 days per year where the temperature reaches or exceeds 21.0 °C (69.8 °F). During summer, partly cloudy or clear days are common and it is the sunniest season, ranging from 7.4 hours of sunshine in August to 10.1 hours in June although precipitation is higher during these months. As a consequence of its high latitude, at the summer solstice, daylight lasts for more than 18 hours and 30 minutes.
Fall starts out mild, with a September average of 11.3 °C (52.3 °F) and increasingly becomes cooler and cloudier towards the end of November. In the early parts of fall, temperatures commonly reach 15 °C (59 °F) on some days and at least one day above 21 °C (70 °F) in September. In the latter months of fall, freezing temperatures become more common and snowfall can occur.
Tallinn receives 618 millimeters (24.3 in) of precipitation annually which is evenly distributed throughout the year although March and April are the driest months, averaging about 30 millimeters (1.2 in) while July and August are the wettest months with 74 millimeters (2.9 in) of precipitation. The average humidity is 81%, ranging from a high of 88% to a low of 69% in May. Tallinn has an average windspeed of 3.5 metres per second (11 ft/s) with winters being the windiest (around 4.0 metres per second (13 ft/s) in January) and summers being the least windiest at around 2.9 m/s (9.5 ft/s) in July and August. Extremes range from −31.1 °C (−24.0 °F) in January 1940 to 34.3 °C (93.7 °F) in July 1994.
|Climate data for Tallinn, Estonia|
|Record high °C (°F)||9.2
|Average high °C (°F)||−1.0
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−3.3
|Average low °C (°F)||−5.9
|Record low °C (°F)||−31.4
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||45
|Average rainy days||11||8||8||8||7||8||11||11||12||11||14||14||123|
|Source: Estonian Weather Service |
(1 June 2016)
|1. Haabersti||18.6 km2 (7.2 sq mi)||44,406|
|2. Kesklinn (centre)||28.0 km2 (10.8 sq mi)||60,591|
|3. Kristiine||9.4 km2 (3.6 sq mi)||32,636|
|4. Lasnamäe||30.0 km2 (11.6 sq mi)||119,012|
|5. Mustamäe||8.0 km2 (3.1 sq mi)||67,352|
|6. Nõmme||28.0 km2 (10.8 sq mi)||39,394|
|7. Pirita||18.7 km2 (7.2 sq mi)||18,150|
|8. Põhja-Tallinn||17.3 km2 (6.7 sq mi)||59,409|
For local government purposes, Tallinn is subdivided into 8 administrative districts (Estonian: linnaosad, singular linnaosa). The district governments are city institutions that fulfill, in the territory of their district, the functions assigned to them by Tallinn legislation and statutes.
Each district government is managed by an Elder (Estonian: linnaosavanem). He or she is appointed by the City Government on the nomination of the Mayor and after having heard the opinion of the Administrative Councils. The function of the Administrative Councils is to recommend, to the City Government and Commissions of the City Council, how the districts should be administered.
The admisistrative districts are further divided into subdistricts or neighbourhoods (Estonian: asum). Their names and borders are officially defined. Currently there are 84 subdistricts in Tallinn.
|Largest ethnic minority groups|
|Ethnic Minority||Population (2015)||%|
The registered population of Tallinn on 1 June 2016 was 440,950.
According to Eurostat, in 2004 Tallinn had one of the largest number of non-EU nationals of all EU member states' capital cities with Russians forming a significant minority (~37% belong to the Russian ethnic group, but a majority now hold Estonian citizenship). Ethnic Estonians make up about 55% of the population (as of 2014[update]).
The official language of Tallinn is Estonian. In 2011, 206,490 (50.1%) spoke Estonian as their native language and 192,199 (46.7%) spoke Russian as their native language. Other spoken languages include Ukrainian, Belarusian and Finnish.
Tallinn is the financial and business capital of Estonia. The city has a highly diversified economy with particular strengths in information technology, tourism and logistics. Daily Mail called Tallinn one of world's seven smartest cities. Currently, over half of the Estonian GDP is created in Tallinn. In 2008, the GDP per capita of Tallinn stood at 172% of the Estonian average.
In addition to longtime functions as seaport and capital city, Tallinn has seen development of an information technology sector; 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 Estonian start-ups originating from Tallinn. Many start-ups originated from the Soviet-era Institute of Cybernetics. In recent years Tallinn has gradually been becoming one of the main IT centre of Europe, with CCD COE of NATO, EU Agency for large-scale IT systems and IT development centres of large corporations, such as TeliaSonera and Kuehne + Nagel being based in the city. Smaller start-up incubators like Garage48 and Game Founders have helped to provide support to teams from Estonia and around the world looking for support, development and networking opportunities.
Tallinn receives more than 1.5 million visitors annually, a figure that has grown steadily over the past decade.
Tallinn's Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a major tourist attraction; others include the Seaplane Harbour of Estonian Maritime Museum, the Tallinn Zoo, Kadriorg Park, and the Estonian Open Air Museum. Most of the visitors come from Europe, though Tallinn has also become increasingly visited by tourists from Russia and the Asia-Pacific region.
Tallinn Passenger Port is one of the busiest cruise destinations on the Baltic Sea, serving more than 520,000 cruise passengers in 2013. From year 2011 regular cruise turnarounds in cooperation with Tallinn Airport are organised.
Eesti Energia, a large oil shale to energy company, has its headquarters in Tallinn. The city also hosts the headquarters of Elering, a national electric power transmission system operator and member of ENTSO-E, the Estonian natural gas company Eesti Gaas and energy holding company Alexela Energia, part of Alexela Group. Nord Pool Spot, the largest market for electrical energy in the world, established its local office in Tallinn.
Tallinn is the financial centre of Estonia and also a strong economic centre in the Scandinavian-Baltic region. Many major banks, such as SEB, Swedbank, Nordea, DNB, have their local offices in Tallinn. LHV Pank, an Estonian investment bank, has its corporate headquarters in Tallinn. Tallinn Stock Exchange, part of NASDAQ OMX Group, is the only regulated exchange in Estonia.
Port of Tallinn is one of the biggest ports in the Baltic sea region. Old City Harbour is being known as a convenient harbour since the 10th century, but nowadays the cargo operations are shifted to Muuga Cargo Port and Paldiski Southern Port. There is a small fleet of oceangoing trawlers that operate out of Tallinn.
Tallinn industries include shipbuilding, machine building, metal processing, electronics, textile manufacturing. BLRT Grupp has its headquarters and some subsidiaries in Tallinn. Air Maintenance Estonia and AS Panaviatic Maintenance, both based in Tallinn Airport, provide MRO services for aircraft, largely expanding their operations in recent years.
Liviko, the maker of Vana Tallinn liqueur, strongly associated with the city, is based in Tallinn. The headquarters of Kalev, a confectionery company and part of the industrial conglomerate Orkla Group, is located in Lehmja, southeast of Tallinn.
The city draws large numbers of shopping tourists from countries within the region. When new planned retail developments are completed, Tallinn will have almost 2 square metres of shopping floor space per inhabitant. As Estonia is already ranked third in Europe in terms of shopping space per inhabitant, ahead of Sweden and being surpassed only by Norway and Luxembourg, it will further improve the positions of the city as the major centre of shopping.
- NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE)
- European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice is based in Tallinn.
- Skype has its software development centre located in Tallinn.
- TeliaSonera has its IT development centre located in Tallinn.
- Kuehne + Nagel has its IT centre located in Tallinn.
- arvato Financial Solutions has its global IT development and innovation centre located in Tallinn.
- Ericsson has one of its biggest production facilities in Europe located in Tallinn, focusing on the production of 4G communication devices.
- Statoil has announced moving the group's financial centre to Tallinn.
Institutions of higher education and science include:
- Estonian Academy of Arts
- Estonian Academy of Security Sciences
- Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre
- Estonian Business School
- Estonian Maritime Academy
- Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church Institute of Theology
- National Institute of Chemical Physics and Biophysics
- Tallinn University
- Tallinn University of Technology
What can arguably be considered to be Tallinn's main attractions are located in the old town of Tallinn (divided into a "lower town" and Toompea hill) which is easily explored on foot. The eastern parts of the city, notably Pirita (with Pirita Convent) and Kadriorg (with Kadriorg Palace) districts, are also popular destinations, and the Estonian Open Air Museum in Rocca al Mare, west of the city, preserves aspects of Estonian rural culture and architecture.
Toompea – Upper Town
This area was once an almost separate town, heavily fortified, and has always been the seat of whatever power that has ruled Estonia. The hill occupies an easily defensible site overlooking the surrounding districts. The major attractions are the medieval Toompea Castle (today housing the Estonian Parliament, the Riigikogu), the Russian Orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the Lutheran St Mary's Cathedral, also known as the Dome Church (Estonian: Toomkirik).
All-linn – Lower Town
This area is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe and the authorities are continuing its rehabilitation. Major sights include the Town Hall square (Estonian: Raekoja plats ), the city wall and towers (notably "Fat Margaret" and "Kiek in de Kök") as well as a number of medieval churches, including St Olaf's, St. Nicholas' and the Church of the Holy Ghost.
This is 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) east of the city centre and is served by buses and trams. Kadriorg Palace, the former palace of Peter the Great, built just after the Great Northern War, now houses the foreign art department of the Art Museum of Estonia, the presidential residence and the surrounding grounds include formal gardens and woodland.
The main building of the Art Museum of Estonia, Kumu (Estonian: Kunstimuuseum, Art Museum), was built in 2006 and lies in Kadriorg park. It houses an encyclopaedic collection of Estonian art, including paintings by Carl Timoleon von Neff, Johann Köler, Eduard Ole, Jaan Koort, Konrad Mägi, Eduard Wiiralt, Henn Roode and Adamson-Eric, among others.
This coastal district is a further 2 kilometres north-east of Kadriorg. The marina was built for the Moscow Olympics of 1980, and boats can be hired on the Pirita River. Two kilometres inland are the Botanic Gardens and the Tallinn TV Tower.
Tallinn has a few music venues for live music such as Kultuurikatel/Kanala, Ptarmigan, Tapper, EKKM – Museum and nightlife, DM Baar. Yearly festivals like Tallinn Music Week and Stalker Festival take place.
Panorama of the central Town Hall Square (Raekoja plats)
The city operates a system of bus (64 lines), tram (4 lines) and trolley-bus (5 lines) routes to all districts. A flat-fare system is used. The ticket-system is based on prepaid RFID cards available in kiosks and post offices. Starting from January 2013 public transport for citizens registered to live in Tallinn is completely free. That includes buses, trams and trolleybuses, and also the rail services within city limits.
The Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport is about 4 kilometres (2 miles) from Town Hall square (Raekoja plats). There is a local bus connection between the airport and the edge of the city centre (bus no. 2). The nearest railway station Ülemiste is only 1.5 km (0.9 mi) from the airport.
The construction of the new section of the airport began in 2007 and was finished in summer 2008.
There has been a helicopter service to and from Helsinki operated by Copterline and taking 18 minutes to cross the Gulf of Finland. The Copterline Tallinn terminal is located adjacent to Linnahall, five minutes from the city center. After a crash near Tallinn in August 2005, service was suspended but restarted in 2008 with a new fleet. The operator cancelled it again in December 2008, on grounds of unprofitability. On 15 February 2010, Copterline filed for bankruptcy, citing inability to keep the company profitable. In 2011 Copterline started again operating the Tallinn-Helsinki flights.
Several ferry operators, Viking Line, Linda Line Express, Tallink and Eckerö Line, connect Tallinn to Helsinki, Mariehamn, Stockholm, and St. Petersburg. Passenger lines connect Tallinn to Helsinki (83 km (52 mi) north of Tallinn) in approximately 2–3.5 hours by cruiseferries.
St. Petersburg, Russia
The Elron railway company operates train services from Tallinn to Tartu, Valga, Türi, Viljandi, Tapa, Narva, Orava, Koidula and Pärnu. Buses are also available to all these and various other destinations in Estonia, as well as to Saint Petersburg in Russia and Riga, Latvia. The Go Rail company operates a daily international sleeper train service between Tallinn-Moscow.
Tallinn also has a commuter rail service running from Tallinn's main rail station in two main directions: east (Aegviidu) and to several western destinations (Pääsküla, Keila, Riisipere, Paldiski, and Kloogaranna). These are electrified lines and are used by the Elron railroad company. Stadler FLIRT EMU and DMU units are in service since July 2013. The first electrified train service in Tallinn was opened in 1924 from Tallinn to Pääsküla, a distance of 11.2 km (7.0 mi).
The Rail Baltica project, which will link Tallinn with Warsaw via Latvia and Lithuania, will connect Tallinn with the rest of the European rail network. A tunnel has been proposed between Tallinn and Helsinki, though it remains at a planning phase.
Frequent and affordable long-distance bus routes connect Tallinn with other parts of Estonia.
On 9 October 2013, the 320-meter-long Ülemiste tunnel was first opened.
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Twin towns – sister cities
Tallinn participates in international town twinning schemes to foster good international relations. Partners include:
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral built in 1894–1900.
The Raeapteek, built in 1422, is one of the oldest continuously running pharmacies in Europe.
Kiek in de Kök defence tower.
City wall with temporary garden exhibition
"Pikk Hermann" (Toompea)
The ruins of Pirita Convent
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