10 facts about Estonia
‘After 7 centuries of German, Danish, Swedish, Polish and Russian rule, Estonia attained independence in 1918. Forcefully annexed into the USSR in 1940, it re-gained independence in 1991 through its Singing Revolution , a non-violent revolution that overthrew an initially violent occupation.
Since the last Russian troops left in 1994, Estonia moved to promote economic and political ties with Western Europe. It is now one of the more-prosperous former communist states, enjoying a high-tech environment, an open and liberal economy and a transparent government system.’ /wikitravel/
There are considerably more women in Estonia than men. There are only 84 men for every 100 women, which means that Estonia is the second place in the world has has such a low percentage of men. Estonia is only surpassed by a small American community in the Pacific Ocean. Women also live on average 10 years longer than men, which can be the reason for the statistics. Funnily enough, Estonia is the top nation per capita for the number of international fashion models.
Estonians are known for two relatively bizarre sports – kiiking and wife-carrying, which we consider to be worthy of the Olympic Games, but others may question it. ‘Kiiking involves fastening yourself to an enormous standing steal swing (kiik means swing in Estonian) which has a full 360 degrees of rotation to it. To swing a kiiker the contestant must pump by squatting and standing up on the swing. The swing gains momentum taking the person in full circle by his skillful pumping.’ /source/
Although wife-carrying was first introduced in Finland, the winning method has been invented by Estonians is thus called ‘Estonian-style’ (the wife hangs upside-down with her legs around the husband’s shoulders, holding onto his waist). The idea is to carry your female teammate through obstacles and the winner is who does it the fastest. Who is interested – you can read more from here.
We are one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe – an average of 29 people per square kilometer. Only Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden ‘beat’ us with it. Considering our size, 45,200 km2, the other countries similar in size are 135 per km2 in Denmark (43,000 km2), 416 in the Netherlands (41,500 km2) and 111 in Slovakia (49,000 km2).
We were the first country in the world to vote online, starting already in 2005.
We are one of the least religious countries in Europe and the world. Surveys have shown that only 16% of Estonians consider themselves religious, compared to, for example, 27% in the UK or 65% in the Americans. It’s not that we don’t believe in anything, but historically we tend to show more faith in nature and we worship our special places and traditions connected to forest, trees etc.
Estonia is a place where you can enjoy one of the cleanest air in the world. This is largely due to the small population and over half of our country’s territory is covered with forests, thus also being one of the greenest countries in Europe. Estonia is a good place to come to unwind and hike the several trails leading through forests and bogs, set around hundreds of lakes and over numerous rivers.
Speaking of the latest news about rescuing wolves, we are one of the countries in Europe where wolves live freely in nature. We have about 200 individuals divided into 20-25 herds. From our closest neighbours Finland has around 100, Latvia 600, Lithuania 300-400, Sweden 300, Norway 70 wolves. Wolves are mainly extinct in half of the Western Europe.
Tallinn’s Old Town is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Northern Europe and certainly is the top tourist attraction for Estonia. In 2018, Lonely Planet named it one of the best value destination and the place to visit in 2018.
In Estonia, production of craft beers have become immensely popular and the selection is growing by the year. So, when visiting Estonia, finding something interesting for a sauna should not be a problem. Although Estonia is also known to its immediate neighbours for producing quality vodka.
Estonia has the highest number of meteorite craters per land area in the world. The most famous of them is Kaali crater in Saaremaa. Speaking of the islands, they are special in their culture and traditions, being a good reason to rent a car and drive outside Tallinn’s Old Town to catch a ferry to another world filled with smoked fish and junipers.
So, this is my little selection of facts about Estonia. The lack of pictures are due to the fact that I try to use as much of my own pictures as possible, but I left my most precious belonging – hard drive, to Belgium, so I’m stuck with the pictures that I had on my computer.