Theme Week Estonia

Monday, 25 April 2022 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Bon voyage, Theme Weeks, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  8 minutes

The Estonian Song Festival is UNESCO's Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity © A. Palu/cc-by-sa-3.0-ee

The Estonian Song Festival is UNESCO’s Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity
© A. Palu/cc-by-sa-3.0-ee

Estonia, officially the Republic of Estonia (Estonian: Eesti Vabariik), is a country in Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland across from Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea across from Sweden, to the south by Latvia, and to the east by Lake Peipus and Russia. The territory of Estonia consists of the mainland, the larger islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa, and over 2,200 other islands and islets on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea, covering a total area of 45,339 square kilometres (17,505 sq mi). The capital city Tallinn and Tartu are the two largest urban areas of the country. The Estonian language is the autochthonous and the official language of Estonia; it is the first language of the majority of its people, as well as the world’s second most spoken Finnic language.

The land of what is now modern Estonia has been inhabited by humans since at least 9,000 BC. The medieval indigenous population of Estonia was one of the last “pagan” civilisations in Europe to adopt Christianity following the Papal-sanctioned Livonian Crusade in the 13th century. After centuries of successive rule by the Teutonic Order, Denmark, Sweden, and the Russian Empire, a distinct Estonian national identity began to emerge in the mid-19th century. This culminated in the 24 February 1918 Estonian Declaration of Independence from the then warring Russian and German Empires, and, after the end of World War I, in the 1918–1920 War of Independence where Estonians were able to repel the Bolshevik Russian invasion and successfully defended their newborn freedom. Democratic throughout most of the interwar period, Estonia declared neutrality at the outbreak of World War II, but the country was repeatedly contested, invaded and occupied, first by Stalinist Soviet Union in 1940, then by Nazi Germany in 1941, and ultimately reoccupied in 1944 by, and annexed into, the USSR as an administrative subunit (Estonian SSR). After the loss of its de facto independence to the Soviet Union, Estonia’s de jure state continuity was preserved by diplomatic representatives and the government-in-exile. Following the bloodless Estonian “Singing Revolution” of 1988–1990, the nation’s de facto independence was restored on 20 August 1991.

Estonia is a developed country, with a high-income advanced economy; ranking very high in the Human Development Index. The sovereign state of Estonia is a democratic unitary parliamentary republic, it is administratively subdivided into 15 maakond (counties). With a population of just over 1.3 million, it is one of the least populous members of the European Union, the Eurozone, the OECD, the Schengen Area, and NATO. Estonia has consistently ranked highly in international rankings for quality of life, education, digitalization of public services and the prevalence of technology companies.

Central business district of Tallinn © khora/cc-by-sa-3.0 Kuressaare Castle in Saaremaa © Stefan Hiienurm/cc-by-sa-4.0 Ruhnu stave church, built in 1644 © Metsavend/cc-by-sa-3.0-ee Seat of the Parliament of Estonia in Toompea Castle in Tallinn © Kaupo Kalda/cc-by-sa-4.0 The Estonian Song Festival is UNESCO's Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity © A. Palu/cc-by-sa-3.0-ee University of Tartu © Ivar Leidus/cc-by-sa-3.0-ee
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The Estonian Song Festival is UNESCO's Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity © A. Palu/cc-by-sa-3.0-ee
The culture of Estonia incorporates indigenous heritage, as represented by the Estonian language and the sauna, with mainstream Nordic and European cultural aspects. Because of its history and geography, Estonia’s culture has been influenced by the traditions of the adjacent area’s various Finnic, Baltic, Slavic and Germanic peoples as well as the cultural developments in the former dominant powers Germany, Sweden and Russia, for this reason it aspires more to be considered a Nordic state. Today, Estonian society encourages liberty and liberalism, with a popular commitment to the ideals of the limited government, discouraging centralised power and corruption. The Protestant work ethic remains a significant cultural staple, and free education is a highly prized institution. As the mainstream culture in the Nordic countries, Estonian culture can be seen to build upon the ascetic environmental realities and traditional livelihoods, a heritage of comparatively widespread egalitarianism out of practical reasons (Everyman’s right and universal suffrage), and the ideals of closeness to nature and self-sufficiency (summer cottage). The Estonian Academy of Arts (Estonian: Eesti Kunstiakadeemia, EKA) is providing higher education in art, design, architecture, media, art history and conservation while the University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy has an approach to popularise native culture through such curricula as native construction, native blacksmithing, native textile design, traditional handicraft and traditional music, but also jazz and church music. In 2010, there were 245 museums in Estonia whose combined collections contain more than 10 million objects.

The architectural history of Estonia mainly reflects its contemporary development in northern Europe. Worth mentioning is especially the architectural ensemble that makes out the medieval old town of Tallinn, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In addition, the country has several unique, more or less preserved hill forts dating from pre-Christian times, a large number of still intact medieval castles and churches, while the countryside is still shaped by the presence of a vast number of wooden manor houses from earlier centuries.

Historically, the cuisine of Estonia has been heavily dependent on seasons and simple peasant food. Today, it includes many typical international foods. The most typical foods in Estonia are black bread, pork, potatoes, and dairy products. Traditionally in summer and spring, Estonians like to eat everything fresh – berries, herbs, vegetables, and everything else that comes straight from the garden. Hunting and fishing have also been very common, although currently hunting and fishing are enjoyed mostly as hobbies. Today, it is also very popular to grill outside in summer. Traditionally in winter, jams, preserves, and pickles are brought to the table. Gathering and preserving fruits, mushrooms, and vegetables for winter has always been popular, but today gathering and preserving is becoming less common because everything can be bought from stores. However, preparing food for winter is still very popular in the countryside.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on Government of Estonia, Estonia Tourism, Culture of Estonia, History of Estonia, History of the Jews in Estonia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_World_Heritage_Sites_in_Estonia, Tourism in Estonia, Estonian cuisine, Wikivoyage Estonia and Wikipedia Estonia. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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