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Estonia

                                                      

 

                                                                 

              

Estonia has borders to the south with Latvia and Russia to the east. It is separated from Finland in the north by the narrow Gulf of Finland and from Sweden in the west by the Baltic Sea.

  • Official name: Republic of Estonia
  • Total area: 45 227 square kilometres
  • Population: 1,342,000
  • Official language: Estonian (a Finno-Ugric language), English is widely spoken
  • The biggest ethnic groups: Estonians 67.9%, Russians 25.6%, Ukrainians 2.1%, Byelorussians 1.3%, Finnish 0.9%
  • Capital: Tallinn (402 000 inhabitants)
  • Number of islands: 1 521
  • Highest point: Suur-Munamägi (318 m)

 

 

Useful links

Maps of Estonia

Video presentations of Estonia

Photo gallery of Estonia

Brochures about Estonia

 

 

 

WHY ESTONIA:


1. The Old Town – Great cultural heritage in the centre of Tallinn

The Old Town covers the areas of the Lower Town and Toompea with its numerous thoroughly restored buildings it is the evidence of the long and very changeable history of the city. The medieval centre of Tallinn is said to be the most beautiful and attractive city centre in the Baltic countries. There is a reason for it being one of the most popular destinations in north Europe. The most attractive places for tourists in the lower part of the Old Town are St. Nikolas Church , situated at the bottom of the Cathedral Hill, the Holy Ghost Church right in the centre and the beautiful St. Olav’s church in the north. Other attractions are the Town Hall with its lively Town Hall Square and the guild houses.Toompea Hill, which is approx. 50 meters high, has for centuries been the throne for the ruler in Tallinn. Today you should visit the late gothic Dome Church the beautiful castle and the mighty Aleksander Nevskij’s Cathedral. The hill with its beautiful buildings, dominating the townscape, can be seen from the distance. The historic Old Town was declared the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.

2.Toompea Castle. One of the major tourist attractions of Tallinn

The Toompea Castle is one of the major tourist attractions of the capital city of Estonia. The history of the Toompea Castle in Estonia dates back to the 10th or the 11th century. It is presumed that the first castle in Toompea was built by the residents of the county of Revalia in Estonia. This castle in Estonia has a tall tower, the Pikk Hermann, which stands on the top of the castle. The name Pikk Hermann also literally means a tall tower. The Toompea Castle in Estonia presently houses the Estonian Parliament and is one of the most important places in the country.

3. Kadriorg Park and Palace. One of the finest examples of the Baroque architecture in the Northern Europe

Kadriorg Park covers an area of about hundred hectares, which is approximately equal to two hundred and forty seven acres of land. The Kadriorg Park at Estonia consists of picturesque landscape gardens, a Flower Garden as well as a very popular Swan Lake. The area surrounding the Kadriorg Park of Estonia has been a popular tourist resort since centuries. All the visitors to the Kadriorg Park are able to view many more populent properties in its area. There is also a very famous Palace by the name of Kadriorg Palace. The Russian Tsar Peter I, in 1718, began constructing Kadriorg Palace and the Kadriorg Park in the honor of his empress Catherine I. Both the Park and the Palace are designed by the Italian architect Niccolo Michetti. The building was greatly inspired by the Italian villas. The Kadriorg Park and the Palace stand as one of the finest examples of the Baroque architecture in the Northern Europe. In the year 1921, the rooms of the Palace were given to the Art Museum of the land of Estonia. In 2000, the palace was renovated and opened as a foreign art collection of the Art Museum.

4. Rocca-al-Mare Open Air Museum. Enjoy the village atmosphere

Rocca-al-Mare Open Air Museum was opened to the visitors in the year 1964. The entire territory of the museum  is fractioned into four different parts that correspond to the typical village types. These types include the Western Estonia, Southern Estonia, Northern Estonia and the islands. In each region, farmyards of different wealth and age stand in the central position. There are also twelve farmyards that are exhibited presently. For the purpose of creating a true rural milieu, an inn, a church, a schoolhouse, a fire station several mills and net-sheds have also been transferred to the Rocca-al-Mare Open Air Museum in Estonia. The Rocca-al-Mare Open Air Museum of Estonia is one of the few open air museums in Europe as well as the world, which remains open to the visitors round the year with almost no off days. Even the handicraft shop and the Kolu korts, serving Estonia's national food also continue to be open every day. The Rocca-al-Mare Open Air Museum provides a complete picture of Estonia's village life. Different activities and celebrations of the traditional calendar holidays add a special touch to the village atmosphere.

5. Tartu. The intellectual centre of Estonia

With its about 100.000 inhabitants, Tartu is the second largest city in Estonia. It is situated in the south west part of Estonia and experts like to call it the intellectual centre of the country. There couldn’t be a more suitable title for this city. The reason is very simple: Tartu and its university have been internationally renown for centuries. The classicist university buildings in the heart of the Old Town reflect the academic spirit of the city and are regarded as a supra-regional landmark of successful history of research and teaching.  But that is not the only thing the city on the banks of the River, has to offer. The modern shopping streets, pubs, bistros and the market hall create a lively, but at the same time a very relaxed atmosphere. Those visitors who are interested in culture will be delighted by the city of Tartu. They will find theatres, cinemas and about 20 museums Modern and classical meet in Tartu and make the city worth seeing.

6. Pärnu. Estonia’s “Summer Capital“

The seaside resort, situated in the south west of the country lies in the mouth of the River Pärnu and disposes of approximately three kilometers of beautiful sandy beaches. This is a geographical advantage that the people in Pärnu are well aware of and know how to make use of.  “Summer Capital of Estonia” is the unofficial title of the city that has been a very popular spa and seaside resort for almost two centuries.  The spa-tradition is most probably the reason why numerous other recreation and leisure facilities have developed here over time. The lovely seaside resort has several public parks, beautiful long beaches, hotels, cafés as well as bars and night clubs to offer.  Those interested in art should visit the Museum of New Art that shows works by Witkin, Rustin, Picasso, Corneille, Ono and many more. Cross-country skiing tracks and spa hotels make Pärnu a lovely winter resort. Besides fun and relaxation, those who love white landscapes will certainly find the most beautiful scenery here. People in Pärnu know how to spend the best time of the year in an exclusive atmosphere of holiday and relaxation. Pärnu is worth visiting in every season of the year.

7. Saaremaa island - large holiday island with a long tradition

On Saaremaa, around 40,000 people live on an area of just under 2,700 square kilometres. It is by far the largest and most populous island in Estonia and the traditional tourist centre is Kuressare, a town situated in the south of the island. Being formerly known as Arensburg, the spa and health resort has since 1840 been attracting local and foreign visitors looking for relaxation. The town of around 16,500 inhabitants offers lots of sights, hotels and restaurants – the most famous sight being the Episcopal Castle with its mighty walls.  But before you can start exploring the island, you have to cross the Baltic Sea. First, you have to go from the mainland port of Virtsu to the smaller island of Muhu. From there, one can easily access Saaremaa via a more than a 100-year old embankment, which will guarantee you dry feet throughout the journey.

8. Lahemaa National Park. One of the last untouched places in the Baltic region

Located in the very north of Estonia, Lahemaa National Park covers the area of almost 726 square kilometers along the coast. It is about a one hour drive from Tallinn, approx. 70 kilometers east wards. The nature reserve, which was founded under the Soviet rule in 1971, consists of almost two thirds of wooded area and approx. one third of lakes. After having been there, one will probably agree that protecting and preserving the north Estonian landscape, with its high trees, lakes and the soil, covered by rampant grasses and moss, is really important. Lahemaa National Park is one of the last untouched places in the Baltic region. It is very enjoyable not only because of its diverse nature but also because of the mythic stories, passed on and cultivated by local people for generations. Here, nature is diverse and very special. There are thick woods, hill moors, lakes, waterfalls as well as elks, wild boars and at least 200 species of birds to discover.

9. Palmse Manor. Estonia’s top manor house

Palmse is Estonia’s top manor house. The Lahemaa National Park organisation began fixing it up in 1972 and by the end of the 1980s, the entire complex was renovated: the main building, sheds and barns, the owner’s house and chevalier’s house, glasshouse and other buildings. In addition, the big wooded park with pavements and pavilions was cleaned up. In this form it was the first complex which gave a full overview of a typical Estonian manor throughout the centuries. The present form of the building stems from rebuilding in 1782 to 1785. Before 1850, the Ilumäe chapel, located four kilometres away, corn-garner, distillery with a high chimney, horse barn, carriage house and shelter were built. Next to the pond a pillared rotunda and bathing house were constructed (which at the moment is a café). Today, Palmse is one of the manors which receives the highest number of visitors. There is a museum in the mansion and the Lahemaa National Park’s visitors centre is located in the barn. The former distillery was converted into a hotel in 1995. A walk in the park within the beautiful surroundings is good for the body and soul.

10. Altja Fishing Village. Traditional Estonia coastal village

The coastal fishing village of Altja was first documented in 1465 when it was called Rootsipea. Now part of the Lahemaa National park, much of it has been beautifully restored and represents a traditional Estonia coastal village, with roads running parallel to the coastline and several small farms surrounding the area. Today there are only around twenty inhabitants, most of whom depend either on fishing, agriculture or the tourist trade. The centre of the village’s activity is the fully restored tavern, which serves fine traditional dishes to visitors.

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Neringa Medeišytė
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