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Estonia - Ancient Land, Modern World

World  (tags: estonia, people, places, travel )

- 1638 days ago -
The ancient land of Estonia is a small country described by some large numbers. From the length of the coast line to the number of vowels used in its language, Estonia is a great place.

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Kit B (276)
Sunday November 24, 2013, 8:48 am
Map Credit:

5 Facts You Might Not Know About Estonia:

1) Estonia has 3,794 kilometers of coastline. It is bordered by the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland with a variety of inlets, bays and straits. It also boasts more than 150 islands off shore as well as more than 1,500 lakes and a variety of bogs within its interior. If you like beaches, Kabli is a coastal town in the southwest with a scientific bird ringing center near its secluded beaches.

2) Ice Roads are real in Estonia. In the winter, the Baltic Sea freezes and ice roads are created for travel between the islands and the mainland. For safety reasons, cars are only allowed on the road every one to two minutes. In 2010 the 16 mile long ice road to Hiiumaa island was open for only 11 days.

3) The medieval street system from the 13th to 15th centuries is still intact in Tallinn's Old Town. This is the most complete medieval city remaining in Europe with many of the houses still the same sizes as originally built. Perhaps more interesting are the governmental buildings and churches from the Medieval era still in existence. The city celebrates its past with music festivals and gives tourists a chance to become a Viking for a day.

4) The Estonian language is part of the Finno-Ugric language family and uses more vowels than any other language in Europe. Non-native speakers frequently find find themselves stumbling over pronunciation. Don't worry too much if you find yourself in Estonia having trouble with the language. Just say 'Palun aidake' and someone will lend you a hand. By the way, 'Palun aidake' means 'I need help.'

5) Estonia loves museums. Even though the population of the country is only 1,3 million, the country boasts more than 250 museums. There are art museums, local lore museums, beer museums and even a motorcycle museum.


Estonia is mainly a lowland country that is bordered by the Baltic Sea, Latvia, and Russia. It has numerous lakes and forests and many rivers, most draining northward into the Gulf of Finland or eastward into Lake Peipus, its largest lake.


Parliamentary democracy.

History: (short history)

Estonians resisted the assaults of Vikings, Danes, Swedes, and Russians before the 13th century. In 1346, the Danes, who possessed northern Estonia, sold the land to the Teutonic Knights of Germany, who already possessed Livonia (southern Estonia and Latvia). The Teutonic Knights reduced the Estonians to serfdom. In 1526, the Swedes took over, and the power of the German (Balt) landowning class was reduced. But after 1721, when Russia succeeded Sweden as the ruling power under the Peace of Nystad, the Estonians were subject to a double bondage—the Balts and the czarist officials. The oppression lasted until the closing months of World War I, when Estonia finally achieved independence after a victorious war (1918–1920). But shortly after the start of World War II, the nation was occupied by Russian troops and incorporated as the 16th republic of the USSR in 1940. Germany occupied the nation from 1941 to 1944, when it was retaken by the Soviets.

Estonia declared independence from the Soviet Union in March 1990. Soviet resistance ensued, but after recognition by European and other countries, the Soviet Union acknowledged Estonian nationhood on Sept. 6, 1991. UN membership followed on Sept. 17. The newly independent nation embraced free-market reforms. Fueled by foreign investments, economic advances continued. In 2004, Estonia became a member of the European Union as well as of NATO. In Sept. 2006, Toomas Hendrik Ilves was elected president, defeating incumbent Arnold Rüütel.

In March 2007, Estonia allowed Internet voting for Parliamentary elections, becoming the first country to do so. Prime Minister Andrus Ansip's Reform Party narrowly won the election, taking 31 out of 101 seats, just two more than the Centre Party.

Violent protests erupted in April when Estonian officials moved a controversial bronze statue of a Soviet soldier from a park in Tallinn and placed in it a military cemetery. One person died in the protests and dozens were injured. Ethnic Russians—as well as the Russian government—say the memorial honors Red Army soldiers who died fighting Nazi Germany and object to its relocation. Estonians, however, believe the statue glorifies Soviet occupation of Estonia.

Foods of Estonia:

Depending on the rhythm of life, different Estonians also have different preferences in meal times and meals. Typically Estonians have a light breakfast before going to work or school. Between noon and three o’clock they have their most important meal of the day, lunch.

At lunch, some prefer red meat and potato porridge, thick flour or bacon sauce. Others might prefer light soups, salads, pasta, chicken and fish dishes. Pizza and American and Chinese fast food are also available. Dinner usually takes place around six or seven o’clock in the evening. Since people have more time, they might use it to relax and enjoy a hearty meal or they might have a small snack before or after working out in the gym.

Traditional meals include barley porridge with sour milk, boiled unpeeled potatoes with curds or salted Baltic herring or smoked herring. On festive days butter, brawn, roast pork, sauerkraut, fried cabbage or black pudding are served.

The traditional dishes and customs are still in use during the more significant festivals of the folk calendar, the most important being Christmas. Practically every Estonian is still very fond of black rye bread.

Cuisine background
Estonian cuisine has been influenced over the centuries by the traditions of more powerful neighbours (don't forget that Danes, Germans, Swedes, Poles and Russians have taken turns ruling parts of the country) but the main characteristic of the local fare is its peasant origin. Estonians were for the most part country folk before the last century, and since food was scarce, they had to be inventive in preserving and stretching what little meat they had on hand.Later, when urbanisation took hold, the kinds of fried chops and potatoes common in the rest of Europe became the standard. This is what you're likely to see on the lunch menu at the local pub these days, along with a side of cabbage. Thankfully though, the more uniquely Estonian recipes are still prepared in many families, and served in a number of restaurants around Tallinn.

For a lot of foreign visitors, traditional Estonian food can be, frankly, daunting. People from most parts of the world are simply not used to chowing down on marinated eel, or swallowing spoonfuls of jellied meat for that matter. And it goes without saying that a lot of people would flinch before attempting anything called 'blood sausage.' Most Estonians, on the other hand, wouldn't think twice before digging into these home-spun delicacies.

Howard Crosse (21)
Sunday November 24, 2013, 9:16 am
When our current dog crosses Rainbow Bridge (hopefully a few years yet) we are planning to spend a couple of months touring Eastern Europe and Estonia is definitely on the list.

Krish Away (43)
Sunday November 24, 2013, 9:30 am
Ancient indeed :)

Ben O (171)
Sunday November 24, 2013, 9:47 am
You know what? -I haven't been there...yet... I hope to get there one day, I mean, it's just on the other side of the Baltic Sea!

Ben O (171)
Sunday November 24, 2013, 9:51 am
Estonia country profile (BBC)

Past Member (0)
Sunday November 24, 2013, 10:59 am
Maybe a place i'll visit one day! Thx Kit 4 the tour

Pat B (356)
Sunday November 24, 2013, 12:46 pm
Enjoyed viewing the old streets, houses, churches and cathedrals. I would like to sit at their Town Square too. Thanks, Kit for the grand tour.!!

Nicole W (646)
Sunday November 24, 2013, 1:28 pm
yet again, another wonderful escapade, ty dear Kit

JL A (281)
Sunday November 24, 2013, 4:57 pm
Beautiful. Interesting that their independence day celebrations are every 5 years.

pam w (139)
Sunday November 24, 2013, 6:54 pm
Like Ben...I've never been there! I'd like to see that long, COLD coastline!

Giana Peranio-paz (398)
Sunday November 24, 2013, 11:42 pm
I've been there, Tallinn is a gorgeous city and the citizens are very beautiful.

lee e (114)
Monday November 25, 2013, 8:45 am
Love the trips you make possible - thanks Kit!

. (0)
Monday November 25, 2013, 8:55 am
Great video, Kit. Thanks for sharing.

Franshisca Dearmas (89)
Monday November 25, 2013, 1:51 pm
Wonderful video. TY Kit

Birgit W (160)
Monday November 25, 2013, 2:01 pm
Wonderful video. Thanks for sharing.

marie C (163)
Monday November 25, 2013, 2:39 pm
Amazing as always Thanks Kit

Sergio Padilla (65)
Wednesday December 4, 2013, 12:17 pm

Craig Pittman (52)
Thursday December 12, 2013, 8:06 pm
Lovely and fascinating. thanks Kit.
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