Estonia is, well, a little different than most countries. Though it appears to be a small coastal country on the Baltic Sea, it actually includes approximately 2,222 islands and islets. Additionally, it has 2 Independence Days – February 24th (1918) was its initial Independence Day and August 20th (1991) is the restoration of Independence Day, both from the Soviet Union. And, at least, in theory, 3 capitals (Tallinn, the official capital, Tartu, the ‘cultural capital,’ and Parnu, the ‘summer capital’).
Estonia is good at sports, even if they have to invent the sport. Considering Olympic sports, Estonia has a “strike rate” of 25.5 medals per million residents, but Estonia also excels in somewhat alternative sports. Among these sports are wife-carrying, where a husband has to carry his wife through an obstacle course in the fastest possible time – Estonia won the Wife carrying World Championships for 11 straight years, from 1998 to 2008 – and Kiiking, where people attach themselves to 360-degree rotating manual-powered swings.
Estonian men seem tough, but ironically, there is a shortage of them in the country. While it is not uncommon when considering lifestyles, careers, and simple biology that women live longer than men, in Estonia, the numbers are a little shocking: not only do Estonian women live approximately 10 years longer than men, but, looking at the population, there are only 84 men per 100 women, which is second only to the Northern Mariana Islands.
Though Tallinn has a large UNESCO-recognised medieval town centre, it is also known as the Silicon Valley of Europe. Instrumental in the development on Skype and Hotmail, Tallinn has more start-ups per head than anywhere else in Europe. Furthermore, all Estonian school are connected to the Internet, free nationwide WiFi (even in the woods!), virtually anything can be paid for with a mobile phone, and Estonia was the first country in the world to use online political voting. Without an attempted connection, let us also mention that Estonia has the highest number of meteorite craters per land area in the world.
Furthermore, Estonia has the largest collection of written folk songs in the world. Considering this source of national pride, it is no surprise that mass demonstrations, later referred to as the Singing Revolution, to obtain their independence from the Soviet Union, involved the singing of these national folk songs.
Without Estonia, Christmas would had never been the same. One of the enduring symbols of the holiday that is used worldwide is the Christmas tree, which likely originated in Estonia (unless you are Latvian, in which case, you think it is Latvia). According to record and legend, “the Christmas Tree on Town Hall Square was erected by the Brotherhood of Black Heads guild already in 1441, making it the first public Christmas tree ever put on display in Europe,” where it was promptly set on fire to mark the end of the mid-winter season feasting and drinking.
Planning a winter vacation in Estonia or interested in other facts about the country itself or the Estonian language, our in-house Estonian translators and Estonian interpreters are here to help.
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