As little as a century ago, the Paljassaare peninsula was in fact two small islands: Suur-Paljassaar and Väike-Paljassaar. However, in the course of constructing the Mine Harbour, the straits between the islands were filled in.
The Special Conservation Area was established in 2005 and it is a birdlife site that is of pan-European importance; 231 different species have been recorded here, 84 of which are protected in Estonia.
This area draws birds with its excellent resting and feeding opportunities, provided by its varied landscape (reed bed, meadows, bushes, the shallow sea) and its location on the birds' migration route.
A section of narrow-gauge railway is preserved on the jetty, known as Catherine's Pier. Neighbouring Pikakari beach is gaining popularity among city residents as a bathing area.