Interesting facts about Estonia
By geographic location we belong in the Baltic region. By language we belong in Scandinavia. By allies we belong in Europe. By the prevailing religion we belong in Germany. By history we belong in Sweden, Denmark, Livonia and Russia. By climate we belong in the North.
Estonia is the best kept secret of Scandinavia
Our country boasts the 3000-year-old crater of an iron meteorite that influenced the religions and customs of the Baltic Sea region. We have one of the most authentic Medieval Old Towns. The Kunda and Pärnu settlements are older than most cradles of the European civilisation. Our language contains about a thousand words that date back to the last ice age. Our capital has one of the most seamless wireless Internet networks in the world. And about 90% of our population pay their taxes via Internet...
Estonia is a small country with a rich inner life. As a young state that has for long remained in the shadow, the introduction of our inner riches to the whole world is essential in regard to the preservation of Estonia's uniqueness and the growth of its people.
Being part of several different cultural areas at once, our country offers a wide range of sights and experiences.
Interesting facts about Estonian traditional culture
- Estonians have one of the biggest needs for personal space in the world – a good example of that being settlement density that is 4 times less compared to Denmark and 12 times less compared to The Netherlands.
- Estonia is small, both by area and population, but it has more than a hundred historical parishes, each one with its own traditional clothing.
- The joint choir of the General Song Festival has the biggest number of singers in the world.
- Juniper berries are believed to help cure 99 diseases, overcome witchcraft and the devil, as there is a cross on top of each berry.
- The power of the blast of the Kaali meteorite was comparable to that of a nuclear bomb. Clearly the influence of such an explosion on the beliefs and understanding of life of ancient people was enormous, influencing the tales of neighbouring nations. The ex-president of Estonia, late historian Lennart Meri, in his research has even suggested that the fall of the “skystone” is related to the fall of Phaeton, son of the sun god in the distant Greek mythology.
Interesting facts about Estonian food culture
- For Estonians the word bread stands for a dark rye bread. The food commonly referred to as bread in the rest of the world has a separate word in Estonian – sai (white bread).
- The estate owner of Sangaste manor, the so called rye count Friedrich Georg Magnus von Berg (1845–1938) created the rye of Sangaste. This is the first-known rye breed in the world that is grown even today.
- Estonians still enjoy drilling birches and maples to drink their sap – a custom considered as unheard-of luxury in the old Europe.
Interesting facts about Estonian nature
- Estonian wooded meadows are among the richest biomes in the world – one square metre has more than 70 species. This figure at times exceeds the diversity in the tropics.
- Taking into account the farthest points and islands of Europe, the central point of Europe is in Saaremaa, Mõnnuste village.
- Hiiumaa as Nordic Bora Bora – on an area of a thousand square kilometers and barely 10,000 inhabitants on this island each visitor can easily find a paradise beach of his own not packed with tourists. For example, the beaches of Luidja or Tahkuna.
- Kaali meteorite crater – the last giant meteorite in the world that fell into a high density area. The power of the blast was comparable to that of a nuclear bomb, leaving clear evidence to influence the tales of the local nations.
- Estonians believe in trees – for example the Tülivere oak tree near Kuusalu helped reconcile married couples. For that the couple had to spend a night standing inside the cavity of the tree.
- Fertility and eroticism-related beliefs are related to the thickest tree of Estonia, the Sipa lime tree.
- According to legends the burial place of the main god of ancient Scandinavians, Odin, is located on Osmussaare. Also the Swedish name of the island, Odinsholm (Odin’s Island), refers to it.
- On the hillsides and forests of Kääriku Skiing Centre meanders a skiing and hiking trail named after the Finnish president Urho Kaleva Kekkonen.