Sillamäe is a town in Ida-Viru County
Ida-Viru County
Ida-Viru County , or Ida-Virumaa, is one of 15 counties of Estonia. It is the most north-eastern part of the country. The county contains large deposits of oil shale - the main mineral mined in Estonia. As oil shale is used in thermal power plants, the earth in Ida-Viru literally holds the largest...

 in the northern part of Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

, on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland
Gulf of Finland
The Gulf of Finland is the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea. It extends between Finland and Estonia all the way to Saint Petersburg in Russia, where the river Neva drains into it. Other major cities around the gulf include Helsinki and Tallinn...

. It has a population of 16,183 (as of 1 January 2010) and covers an area of 10.54 km². Sillamäe is located at the mouth of Sõtke River
Sõtke River
The Sõtke is a long river in Ida-Viru County, Estonia. Its source is near Isandajärv....


During the Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 regime in Estonia, Sillamäe was a closed town mainly because of the chemical factory (Silmet) in there which produced fuel rods and nuclear materials for the Soviet nuclear power plant
Nuclear power plant
A nuclear power plant is a thermal power station in which the heat source is one or more nuclear reactors. As in a conventional thermal power station the heat is used to generate steam which drives a steam turbine connected to a generator which produces electricity.Nuclear power plants are usually...

s and weapon
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

 facilities. During 1946–1952, locally-mined Dictyonema
Basidiolichens are lichenized members of the Basidiomycota, a much smaller group of lichens than the far more common ascolichens in the Ascomycota. In arctic, alpine, and temperate forests, the most common basidiolichens are in the agaric genus Lichenomphalia and the clavarioid genus Multiclavula...

An argillite is a fine-grained sedimentary rock composed predominantly of indurated clay particles. Argillaceous rocks are basically lithified muds and oozes. They contain variable amounts of silt-sized particles. The argillites grade into shale when the fissile layering typical of shale is...

 (a type of oil shale
Oil shale
Oil shale, an organic-rich fine-grained sedimentary rock, contains significant amounts of kerogen from which liquid hydrocarbons called shale oil can be produced...

) was used for uranium production. Later uranium was imported from various locations from the Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

, mainly Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

. Uranium ore from the Bihor
Bihor County
Bihor is a county of Romania, in Crişana, with capital city at Oradea. Together with Hajdú-Bihar County in Hungary it constitutes the Biharia Euroregion.-Demographics:...

 mine operated by Sovromcuarţ (one of the SovRoms operated jointly by the Soviet Union and Romania
Communist Romania
Communist Romania was the period in Romanian history when that country was a Soviet-aligned communist state in the Eastern Bloc, with the dominant role of Romanian Communist Party enshrined in its successive constitutions...

) was also processed at Sillamäe. Rumor has it that the first Soviet nuclear bomb was created from the uranium mined at Sillamäe.

There are several seaside resort
A resort is a place used for relaxation or recreation, attracting visitors for holidays or vacations. Resorts are places, towns or sometimes commercial establishment operated by a single company....

s located near Sillamäe (e.g. in Toila
Toila is a small borough in northeastern Estonia. It is located in Ida-Viru county, some 10 km northeast from the town of Jõhvi. Toila is the administrative centre of Toila Parish and has a population of 896 .- Tourism :...

 and Narva-Jõesuu
Narva-Jõesuu is a town in Ida-Viru County, Estonia, located on the country's northern Baltic Sea coast near the Russian border. The name of the town in Estonian and Russian means "mouth of the Narva River"....

), especially popular during the Soviet era.

In 2005, a port was opened in Sillamäe. From 2006 to 2007 there was a regular ferry service between Sillamäe and Kotka
Kotka is a town and municipality of Finland. Its former name is Rochensalm.Kotka is located on the coast of the Gulf of Finland at the mouth of Kymi River and it is part of the Kymenlaakso region in southern Finland. The municipality has a population of and covers an area of of which is water....

, Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...


The current mayor of Sillamäe is Jelena Koršunova from the Centre Party
Estonian Centre Party
The Estonian Centre Party is a centrist, social liberal party in Estonia. Keskerakond is a member of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party. It has the largest membership of an Estonian party, with over 12 000 members....



External links

(available in Estonian
Estonian language
Estonian is the official language of Estonia, spoken by about 1.1 million people in Estonia and tens of thousands in various émigré communities...

, Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

and English)
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