20 Facts About Estonia


Located on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea is the progressive country of Estonia. Considered as a symbol of the Baltic region’s future, Estonia is a must-see country, and one that oozes charm, and beauty. Keep on reading to learn 20 facts about Estonia. 

Fact 1: Estonia is a country on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe. 

  • The Republic of Estonia is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia, and to the east by Lake Peipus and Russia.

Fact 2: The territory of Estonia includes, the actual mainland of the country, and 2,222 islands in the Baltic Sea. 

  • The country covers a total area of 45,227 km2 (17,462 sq miles), and is influenced by a humid continental climate. 

Fact 3: Early settlements in the Estonian territory date back to 9,000 B.C.

  • Then, the Ancient Estonians were some of the last European pagans to be Christianized, following the Livonian Crusade in the 13th century. For many years, Estonia was under the rule of Germany Sweden, Denmark, Poland, and Russia. It wasn’t until the 19th and early 20th century when a distinct Estonian national identity began to emerge. 

Fact 4: With a population of 1.33 million in 2019, Estonia is still one of Europe’s least crowded countries. 

  • It has a population density of 28.4 people per square kilometre.

Fact 5: In Estonia, women outnumber men. 

  • In 2015, there were more women than men of working age in the country: 511,000 women, compared to just 473,000 men. Estonian women live 10 years longer than men on average, which explains some of this trend.

Fact 6: Estonia takes the Olympic games seriously and have one 38 medals so far. 

  • 13 Gold medals have been claimed by athletes from this country over the years.

Fact 7: Estonians are unstoppable in the wife-carrying championships. 

  • The Wife Carrying World Championships are held every summer in the small Finnish town of Sonkajärvi. The event, which sees husbands from around the world racing down an obstacle course, while carrying their wives has been a hit. The grand prize for the man is, the woman’s weight in beer.

Fact 8: During the Second World War, Estonia was occupied by Germany and incorporated into Reichskommissariat Ostland. 

  • In 1941, Estonians were conscripted into the 8th Estonian Rifle Corps and in 1941–1944 to the Nazi German forces. There were many casualties and losses in Estonia during World War II. Around 25% of the population was estimated to have been lost, Estonia was among the highest proportion in Europe to suffer extreme loses.

Fact 9: It’s one of the world’s most digitally advanced countries. 

  • In fact, in 2005, Estonia became the first country to hold elections over the internet, and in 2014, it became the first country to provide e-residency.

Fact 10: The oldest known settlement in Estonia is the Pulli settlement which is found along the banks of the river Parnu.

  • The settlement dates back 11,000 to 13,000 years ago when the ice from the last glacial era melted.  

Fact 11: Kiiking is a sport invented in Estonia by Ado Kosk in 1993, and has been promoted throughout the whole country over the years.

  • The sport involves an individual standing up on what looks like a large swing, and then swinging themselves around a central bar. As you can imagine to make a swing, swing right around, you need a lot of momentum and practice… so don’t try this one.  

Fact 12: It’s home to the critically endangered European mink. The European mink has been successfully reintroduced to the island of Hiiumaa to keep it safe. 

  • You can find many other animals around the place too including, grey wolves, lynx, brown bears red foxes, badgers, wild boars, moose, red deers, roe deers, beavers, grey seals, and the ringed seal.

Fact 13: Over 50% of Estonia’s territory is covered by green forest land. 

  • Interestingly, 40% of the country’s forestland is organic. 

Fact 14: Suur Munamägi, which is 318 metres from above the sea level, is the highest point in the Baltics.

  • It’s located near the village of Haanja, in Võru County in the south-eastern corner of Estonia, close to the borders of both Latvia and Russia.

Fact 15: Seegi Maja, or the Almshouse, is known to be the oldest building in Estonia.

  • It was built in 1658 on the remains of the old almshouse of the Holy Spirit’s Church as a shelter to the sick.

Fact 16: Estonia is home to two Unesco World Heritage sites. 

  • First, we have the historic old town of Tallinn, that is well known for its wonderfully preserved medieval architecture. The other is, the Struve Arc, which is a chain of survey triangulations stretching from Hammerfest in Norway to the Black Sea. It goes through 10 countries and is set over 2,820 km of land. 

Fact 17: Like its Baltic neighbours, Estonia also has two independence days. 

  • The first one is celebrated every February 24th, and the second one is on August 20th.

Fact 18: Estonia ranks number two in adult literacy out of the 200 countries in the world.

  • Some countries that have an excellent literacy rate include, Andorra, Finland, Vatican City, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Norway.

Fact 19: Estonia is one of the least religious countries in the world.

  • Only 16% of its total population say that religion is an important aspect of human life for them. However, and far more humbling to know is, 69% of Estonians believe that trees have souls. 

Fact 20: The national flag of Estonia is tricoloured, it features three equal horizontal bands of blue, black, and white. 

  • The flag of Estonia was officially adopted on May 8, 1990. 

References:

Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4

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