Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Test yourself - How much has Tallinn changed?


Tallinn changes and develops constantly, and even in a few short years, some places can change beyond recognition. In order to show how much has changed in the capital, this test features a collection of images from Tallinn's recent and more distant past. They are set in a comparative test with modern photographs. Put your memory and logic to the test!


Monday, 14 August 2017

Tammsaare's "Truth and Justice" currently filming in Mõniste


If you love Anton Hansen Tammsaare's epic work Truth & Justice then you'll be pleased to know that a new film version is currently being filmed in Mõniste Municipality, south-eastern Estonia. The film is based on volume one of the five book series that was originally published in 1926.

The cast of the film adaptation includes Priit Loog as Andres, Priit Võigemast as Pearu, Maiken Schmidt as Krõõt, Ester Kuntu as Mari and Simeoni Sundja as Juss.

"Truth and Justice" is scheduled to premiere in February 2019.

More information (in Estonian) can be found here: Tõe ja õiguse - filmimine on raske nagu eestlase elu 

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Muhu Island - One of 8 Places in the World Where You Can Get Some Peace and Quiet

Great to see Muhu Island feature on the list! It's a truly beautiful place.


Muhu Island, Estonia
Just 45 minutes from Saaremaa, the country’s bigger island known for its spruce trees and beer, Muhu feels like a fairytale with its old trestle windmills and squat wooden houses. The centuries-old Pädaste Manor, the only five-star hotel outside Tallinn, offers gourmet cuisine, a wood-burning sauna and private horse rides around the island, says Tepper.


Here's the top eight locations from the Travel and Leisure website:

Burgenland, Austria

The Cotswolds, England

Muhu Island, Estonia

Beara Penninsula, Ireland

Lofoten Islands, Norway

Pylos, Russia

Scottish Highlands, Scotland

Pueblo Garzón, Uruguay

To read the full article, please click here:
8 Places in the World Where You Can Get Some Peace and Quiet

Monday, 7 August 2017

Erik Thomas Kirkman perfectly captures Estonia's natural beauty


Feel inspired to visit Estonia by watching this breathtaking video by Norwegian filmmaker Erik Thomas Kirkman. The filmmaker visits Estonia several times each year to spend time with his wife's family who live near Haapsalu. Estonia has become his second home. 

It's hard not to fall in love with Estonia's natural, unspoilt beauty. The more you visit, the more you will want to go back.

VIDEO: Cleveron's drone delivery service at Viljandi beach

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Driverless buses made Tallinn debut on Saturday


Introduced as part of the Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU, Easymile driverless buses began operating a limited route in Central Tallinn just after noon on Saturday. The buses are free to use and available between the Mere puiestee (Mere Avenue) stop and Tallinn Creative Hub. Operating hours are from 8:30 a.m - 5:30 p.m, Monday to Saturday. The trial shuttles are scheduled to remain in service through to the end of August and then will be returned to France. During the first three days of operation, the buses had a few close calls but nothing that required an emergency response.

Source: ERR News

Sunday, 30 July 2017

First synthetic rubber was synthesised in Estonia


Did you know that the first synthetic rubber that had commerical success was synthesised in Estonia?

Ivan Lavrentyevich Kondakov (1857–1931) took a post as pharmaceutics professor at the University of Tartu in 1895. In 1900, he became the first in the world to synthesise a product that had similar properties to natural rubber. He published his discovery in 1901 and wrote the first monograph on synthetic rubber in Tartu in 1912. The method he used, resulting in methyl rubber, is known today as the Kondakov process.

The Kondakov’s invention quickly took on commercial significance, as demand for scarce and costly natural rubber outstripped supply in the early 20th century, especially due to the booming automotive industry. The Kondakov’s invention was the first synthetic rubber that entered production on an industrial scale.

Today there are more than 200 types of synthetic rubber available. The most common products made from these materials include bicycle and automobile tyres


Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Estonian vocabulary for your next trip to Tallinn

The Estonian language is beautiful but can be quite tricky to pronounce. To help you during your next trip to Tallinn, Visit Tallinn has put together this very useful list of Estonian phrases. They're sure to come in handy!


Short summer vocabulary

Basics
Hi  - Tere
How are you? - Kuidas läheb?
Good - Hästi
I’m on a holiday - Olen puhkusel.
I like summer. - Mulle meeldib suvi.
I like it here - Mulle meeldib siin.

Weather
Lovely weather - Ilus ilm
Sun is shining - Päike paistab.
It’s cloudy today - Täna on pilvine.
It is raining - Sajab.
I like thunder and rain - Mulle meeldib äike ja vihm.
Stormy sea is awesome! - Tormine meri on äge!
Winter is coming - Talv tuleb.

Food
Two scoops of ice-cream please - Kaks palli jäätist palun.
Chocolate - Šokolaad
Vanilla - Vanilje
Two more please - Kaks veel palun
Strawberry - Maasikas
Blueberry - Mustikas
Let's have a BBQ - Grillime
Shashlik - Šašlõkk
Burger - Burger
Beer - Õlu
Party - Pidu

Activities
I want to ride my bicycle - Tahan rattaga sõita.
Let’s rent bikes and ride by the seaside - Laenutame rattad ja sõidame mere ääres.
I’m going to the Pirita beach - Ma lähen Pirita randa.
I want to swim with the locals - Tahan kohalikega koos ujuda.
Let’s climb the towers of Old Town! - Ronime vanalinna tornides!
I’m afraid of heights - Ma kardan kõrgust.
Don’t be afraid - Ära karda.
I’ll hold your hand - Ma hoian sul käest kinni.
Let’s walk in Kadriorg park - Lähme jalutame Kadrioru pargis.
Will you come with me? - Kas sa tuled ka minuga?
We’re relaxing - Me tšillime.
We’re hanging out - Me hängime.

Source: Short summer vocabulary for your Tallinn trip

Monday, 24 July 2017

Estonia to get centenary web store - ERR NEWS


The Government Office is creating a web store for the Estonian centenary that will sell merchandise branded with the visual identity of the EV100 or Estonia 100 program.

The store will sell centenary merchandise and will have to guarantee the delivery of all the products as well as working logistics behind the scenes.

The Government Office has specified that the store needs to be available in Estonian as well as Russian and English, and that there needs to be a product search function. The web store also needs to work with all the “most common” browsers, and be adaptable for mobile display. An authentication feature for the customers is not required.

The public tender now open to bidders also includes customer service and correspondence in Estonian, Russian and English, and if needed a way to buy back goods.

What exactly they are planning to sell in the web store is not yet known. According to the tender, the list of products is open—though the state as the commissioning party retains the right to change the selection of the shop at any given time.


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

An Estonian in Budapest

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere then no doubt you are enjoying the summer and busy planning your next getaway. Last year I spent my summer holiday in Hungary. It's a country I've always been curious about but only recently set time aside to visit. As Estonian belongs to the Finno-Ugric  language group I wanted to see if I could detect any similarities but there are few. The only time I thought Hungariam resembled Estonian was when I heard it in the background on the TV and the melody of the language, the rising and falling of the pitch, reminded me of Estonian.

I must admit I knew very little about Hungary before my trip. In primary school I had a good friend, Suzanne, who was Hungarian and I remember she often ate desserts with lots of cinnamon. Once I arrived in Budapest I was very pleasantly surprised. It's a very popular city with tourists. I heard a lot of foreign languages spoken on the street and everyone seemed to speak English. Budapest is a very vibrant city full of intersting places to visit. Unfortunately in the three days I was there, I didn't have time to see them all. But there's always next time!

Castle Hill
Budapest is divided into two section by the Danube River - 'Buda' and 'Pest'.
I stayed in Pest.

The impressive Parliament Buildings.

 They contain the Hungarian Crown Jewels.


This underground station was the only thing I found that
vaguely resembled an Estonian word. 

Budapest has many charming old train stations. Some lines of the underground still 
use trains dating back to the 19th century. The wooden interiors and individual light 
fittings really felt like I was stepping back in time.

Chain Bridge
The stone bridge with the lion bridgeheads was the first permanent 
connection between Buda and Pest.

The Danube Promenade
60 pairs of steel sculpted shoes can be found here to commemorate 
the Jews who were shot here during WWII.

.
Heroes' Square and the Millennium Monument
This is a nice part of town featuring many interesting buildings, sculptures and gardens.

St. Stephen’s Basilica

Impressive interior. Visitors can climb to the top of the tower
 to gain an excellent view of the city.

Quaint church

Budapest has many lovely parks and gardens.

The Rubik Cube was invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor and professor 
of architecture Ernő Rubik.

Hungarian post box.

No trip to Budapest is complete without a cruise along the Danube river.
There are many different tours to choose from that depart regularly.

Budapest was an absolutely lovely city that surpassed my expectations.
I will defintely return one day!

This year I will spend my summer holiday in beautiful Poland. My brother has been living in Krakow for the past two years and we will hire a holiday cottage for a week. I am especially looking forward to visiting the salt mines, Zakopane and the enchanting Polish folk art village of Zalipie. Can't wait!

Dutch & Latvian team to design Estonia's first movable pedestrian bridge in Tallinn


A team comprising Witteveen+Bos, plein06 and Novarc Group recently won a global competition to design Estonia's first movable pedestrian bridge in the old harbor of the Tallinn capital. Their winning scheme, “New Balance 100” — whose name pays tribute to the country's ongoing centennial celebration — was chosen for its aesthetic form and technical balancing solutions. According to the team, the bridge is currently scheduled for completion in late 2018.

To learn more, please click here: Estonia's first movable pedestrian bridge in Tallinn

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Lydia Koidula & the 100 kroon Estonian banknote

A banknote collector recently contacted me with an interesting question. He asked if I had an English translation for the text written on the back of the old 100 kroon Estonian banknote. I must admit I didn't know the answer off the top of my head, but I soon found out!


The extract is taken from the poem 'Unenägu' (Dream) written by Estonian poet Lydia Koidula. 


English translation
United stand the ends of the bridge (Silla otsad ühendatud)
Bearing a single fatherland (Kandes ühte isamaad)
The truth´s temple hallowed … (Tõe templiks pühendatud …)
Dream – when shalt thou become true?! (Nägu – millal tõeks saad?!)

'Unenägu' (Dream) was written by Lydia Koidula in 1881.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Juhan Liiv's poem 'Ta lendab mesipuu poole' (He flies to the beehive)

Juhan Liiv (30 April 1864 - 1 December 1913) is one of Estonia's most famous poets. His poem  'Ta lendab mesipuu poole' (He flies to the beehive) is often sung at the Estonian Song Festive. It's a soul touching song loved by many. The below image features text taken from the first verse.


English translation:

He flies from flower to flower
And flies toward the bee tree;
And the frock shines up -
He flies toward the bee tree.
And thousands also fall on the road:
Thousands are coming home
And they will endeavor and care
And fly to the bee tree.


Juhan Liiv - Ta lendab mesipuu poole (1910)

Ta lendab lillest lillesse
ja lendab mesipuu poole;
ja tõuseb kõuepilv ülesse —
ta lendab mesipuu poole.
Ja langevad teele ka tuhanded:
veel koju jõuavad tuhanded
ja viivad vaeva ja hoole
ja lendavad mesipuu poole.

Kuis süda mul tuksud sa rahuta,
kuis kipud sa isamaa poole!
Kesk kodumaad — siiski nii koduta,
mis ihkad sa tema poole!
kuis püüad sa välja kahtlusest,
kuis ikka leiad sa tema eest,
kuis rõhub rusuja voole
sind, tungides tema poole!

Oh sina, kes oled sa väljamaal,
kuis õhkad sa isamaa poole!
kes väljamaal oled raskel a'al —
kuis ihkad sa tema poole!
Ja puhugu vastu sul surmatuul
ja lennaku vastu surmakuul —
hing tõuseb isamaa poole!

Ei ole sa, süda, väljamaal,
kust ihkaks sa kodu poole.
Sa oled kodu, kesk isamaa raal
ja otsid teed tema poole.
Teed otsin, oh teed otsin ma
ja suren ja ärkan tund tunniga:
kuid kuhu mind viskab ka voole:
hing tõuseb säält sinu poole.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Estonian Youth Song and Dance Festival 2017


So much joy filled the streets of Tallinn over the weekend during the 12th Youth Song and Dance Festival. There were many smiles, flowers, Estonian flags and beautiful clothes seen everywhere that it was easy to get carried away by the amazing atmosphere. 


This year's theme of the Youth Song and Dance Celebration is 'Mina Jään'  - Here I`ll stay.


Nearly 40,000 performers shared their love of song, dance and the Estonian homeland at the festival.


Estonian youth choirs from 17 countries participated in the event.


The beautiful tri-colour Estonian flag waved with pride.


Despite the rain on Saturday and the cancellation of the second show, some dancers decided to carry-on and did a spontaneous performance at Freedom Square. 


Performers range from the age of 7 - 27 years.


The song and dance festival is a truly wonderful Estonian tradition dating back to 1869. In 2019 we will see some more amazing performances at the adult version of the festival. 2019 will mark the 150th anniversary of the Estonian Song Festvial 

If you missed this year's song festival, you can watch it here: 

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Estonia Assumes the European Union Presidency

Estonia holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first time from 1st July 2017 until the end of December. Taking over the leadership of this role is important for the Estonian state and its people. On Thursday a grand concert took place on Freedom Square to mark the start of the presidency. 


Performers include popular Estonian artists and groups: Vaiko Eplik, Kadri Voorand and Mari Jürjens with the Estonian Cello Ensemble, Kukerpillid, Genka, Winny Puhh, Estonian Voices, NOËP, Frankie Animal and Miljardid. The audience was greeted by Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission and Jüri Ratas, the Prime Minister of Estonia.

President Tusk surprised the audience with a poem spoken in perfect Estonian  
'Me laheme läbi mere!' at the concert.


You can watch concert here via ERR News: Opening concert of Estonia's 2017 EU presidency


Estonia is committed to a strong and unified European Union. As a leader in digital innovation, Estonia will pave the way forward in the digital sphere. The Estonian government recently approved the programme for the EU presidency, you can view it here: www.eu2017.ee/programme

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

12th Youth Song and Dance Festival / XII noorte laulu- ja tantsupidu ''Mina jään''

The time has almost arrived! The 12th Youth Song and Dance Festival will take place from 30th June 30 - 2nd July 2017 at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds and Kalev Central Stadium. The 12th Youth Song and Dance Festival, titled "Here I'll Stay" ("Mina jään"), is focused on the younger generation's ties with its land, culture and older generation, all of which are tied to the central theme of "roots."


The 12th Youth Song and Dance Festival will bring to Tallinn nearly 40,000 singers, dancers, gymnasts and musicians as well as tens of thousands of spectators.

Here are ten reasons to attend the festival:

1. The Youth Song and Dance Celebrations only take place every five years.
2. The theme of the 12th Youth Song and Dance Celebrations is Here I`ll stay.
3. Meet 40,000 dancers and singers at a time.
4. Five kilometers of procession.
5. The stage can fit up to 20000 singers and the whole area of the grounds can hold 120 000 people.
6. UNESCO World Heritage Event.
7. The unforgettable Estonian National Clothes.
8. Tradition dating back 1869.
9..Best time to visit Estonia.
10. Summer, sun, beautiful songs, interesting dancers, friendly spectators, fantastic view on the sea- what a great way to experience the most important cultural event of Estonia.

For more information, please refer to the ifficial website: XII noorte laulu- ja tantsupidu ''Mina jään''

Monday, 26 June 2017

Estonia to Issue New 2 Euro Commemorative Coin

On the 26th June 2017 a new 2 Euro coin dedicated to Estonia's independence will enter circulation. A total of 1.5 million coins have been minted with 10,000 coins available in an attractive collectors card. The coin bears an image of an oak tree and oak leaves. Estonia is one of the northermost places in the world where oak can grow which is one of the reasons why the tree is sacred to Estonians.


The new commemorative coin can be purchased directly from the Eesti Pank online shop. For more information please refer to their website. Eesti Pank

Friday, 23 June 2017

How to celebrate Jaanipäev like a true Estonian

All Estonians love to celebrate Jaanipäev! It's a highlight on the Estonian calendar that usually sees Estonians retreat to their country houses or head to the islands to party all night long. Travel website 'Visit Tallinn.ee' recently published an interesting article about Jaanipäev that is full of interesting tips and facts. Have a great night everyone!

In Estonia, the Midsummer festivities are as popular as Christmas, and probably just as important.  Every summer, St John’s Eve (Jaanilaupäev) is celebrated on June 23 and St John’s Day (Jaanipäev) June 24. It is a celebration filled with fun activities, Estonian music, good food and company, traditions, magic and romance. Estonians celebrated midsummer long before Christianity reached the Baltics and the old traditions are still going strong.

Midsummer is a magical time and has always offered a chance to rest and have some fun after all the work has been done in the spring, with summer about to start. Whole villages and communities have traditionally celebrated together. Going back, no one was allowed to work on the special day.

Today St John’s Eve and Day are celebrated with friends and family at home or at bigger gatherings called jaanituli. Many Estonians head from the cities to the countryside, meaning Tallinn can seem abandoned by the locals. But don’t worry, we’ll tell you where to find Estonians and how to celebrate St John’s Day in Tallinn like a true Estonian. Follow our lead and spend an unforgettable midsummer in Tallinn.


1. Go to a jaanituli (bonfire) on St John’s Eve
Take part in local midsummer bonfire festivals at Viimsi Open Air Museum and Kalev Stadium. For the most traditional St John’s Eve festivities, go to the Estonian Open Air Museum. These celebrations show what Midsummer means in Estonia. You’ll get to see bonfires, enjoy music and dance performances, eat good food, play midsummer games and meet locals. At the Estonian Open Air museum you’ll get to swing in the village swing with locals dressed in traditional folk costumes.

2. Make your future bright and happy
Estonians are quite superstitious and have many beliefs related to midsummer and especially bonfires. For example, according to legend, if you don’t go to jaanituli it will bring you misfortune; your house may burn down! You should walk from your home to the bonfire for good health. Once you get there go around the bonfire three times, then do another three rounds backwards. This will bring you great success, it is believed.

If you have something to throw into the fire as a sacrifice, it could be a small branch or flower wreath, then all your wishes will come true. The fire and smoke will also give you strength for the coming summer and year. It also brings relief to injuries and back pains. This is why older people sometimes sit with their backs turned to the fire.


3. Enjoy and have fun!
Eat: If you are trying to have an authentic Estonian St John’s Eve you should eat something with dairy, like pastries with quark, cheese etc. But nowadays the traditional Estonian summer dishes are shashlik, barbequed meat, sausages and vegetables served with potatoes and fresh salad made with sour cream, tomatoes and cucumber. Flush them down with cooling kvass (bread drink) or local beer. In the olden days every man used to brew their own beer for midsummer!

Play: Dance around the bonfire and sing along to Estonian pop music, nostalgic schlagers and mesmerising folk music.  Take part in local traditional midsummer games and sway in the big village swing. If possible, go to the sauna. In the sauna you should use a traditional viht, or a bunch of leafy birch branches, to gently beat yourself and stimulate your skin, or get a friend to help if you prefer. It relaxes your muscles and feels good, believe it or not. If the viht causes leaves to stick to your skin, you can use them to make someone fall in love with you. Ain’t the Estonian midsummer great?

Don’t sleep: This is the shortest night of the year, the sun barely sets. Make the most of it and stay up all night. Children love midsummer especially because they are also allowed to stay up until dawn. If it doesn’t rain in the night it will bring everyone good luck! So cross your fingers!


4. Search for the fern flower
It is a common misconception that ferns don’t bloom, but actually they do, once every year. And yes, you guessed it right, ferns bloom on St John’s Eve, but only for a short moment. You should be totally focused on this mission, as if you get distracted you’ll miss your chance. The one who finds the fern flower will instantly gain wealth, new abilities and will understand the secret languages of animals.

5. Jump over the bonfire
While you have been looking for the rare flower, the bonfire has almost gone out. This is the perfect time to jump over the bonfire. It will bring you happiness and health. A little advice on the romantic side: think about the one you love while you jump over the fire, and they will fall in love with you!

6. Roll in the morning dew
The dawn of St John’s Day is special. You can feel the dewy grass under your toes. The dew has a magical power, use it to wash your face to gain beauty, or turn a somersault on the ground to avoid back injuries. You can also collect the dew in a small bottle and take it home with you. Store it out of direct sunlight and you can use it for up to 50 years and it won’t lose its magical power.

7. Meet the love of your life in your dreams
Before heading to bed in the morning collect nine different flowers from the meadows and forests. You should do this alone and secretly for the magic to work. Place the flowers under your pillow and you’ll see your future love in your dream. This method has been shown to work by many Estonians!

8. Find a friend in Jaan!
There are almost 5000 men named Jaan in Estonia. So you are bound to meet a Jaan while staying in Estonia. Jaan is the Estonian version of John and Jaanipäev (St John’s Day) is the day of the Jaans. Famous Jaans include Jaan Tõnisson (politician), Jaan Poska (politician), Jaan Teemant (politician), Jaan Kross (writer), Jaan Koort (sculptor), Jaan Kaplinski (poet), Jaan Pehk (musician), and Jaan Tätte (artist), to name but a few. So go and find yourself a Jaan on Jaanipäev!


Thursday, 22 June 2017

Estonian National Museum Opens Largest Folk Costume Exhibition of all Time


On June 22, the Estonian National Museum will open Estonia's largest national costume exhibition. 150 folk costume sets will be on display from all Estonian parishes that reflect the diversity of national costumes geographically and throughout the year. The exhibition is divided into four thematic spaces - summer, winter, spring and autumn.

One hundred years ago, the Estonian National Museum managed to collect the richness of unlimited wealth, patterns, traditions and fashion in peasant clothing. But only now, in a new museum building, can they exhibit this richness in its entirety.

Alongside the exhibition, the museum offers information on folk costumes and their culture of worship in the form of numerous books, catalogs, instructional materials and workshops.

For more information, please click here: Eesti Rahva Muuseum / Estonian National Museum

 

New book! Eesti rahvariiete ajalugu is considered to be the most comprehensive book written about the history of Estonian folk costumes. It can be purchased from the museum's online giftshop for 70€. ERM: Eesti rahvariiete ajalugu