Saturday, 29 April 2017

Ilus Eesti! 24 Photos That Will Make You Fall in Love with Estonia's National Parks

Estonia is renowned for its beautiful forests and photogenic landscapes. Over fifty percent of Estonia's landmass is covered in forest.  To really capture the essence of Estonia's natural beauty, a trip Estonia's Lahemaa National Park is a must! Travel website Culture Trip recently put together a collection of 24 of the best photographs taken in Estonia's National Parks - check it out!

To view all 24 photosgraphs from the collection, please click here: 

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Estonian film “November” to be released in cinemas in North America later this year

Great news! The Estonian film 'November' which had its world premier at the Tribeca Film Festival recently has now been picked up by distributor Oscilloscope Laboratories for cinema release. 'November' is due to screen in cinemas in the US and Canada later this year.

The film 'November' is based on the Estonian bestselling novel Rehepapp by Andrus Kivirähk. The story is a mixture of magic, black humour and romantic love. In a pagan village where werewolves, the plague, and our ancestral spirits roam, lives a young farm girl named Liina. She is hopelessly in love with village boy Hans and lives out her desperate longing as a werewolf, running after her beloved, ready to die in the name of love. The main problem for the villagers is how to survive the cold, hard winter and, for that, neither stealing nor cheating nor losing one’s soul is taboo. Where does love fit into this world of pragmatism where anything goes?

Estonian pagan and European Christian mythologies come together in this film. Both mythologies look for a miracle, for an ancient force that gives one a soul.

Film details and credits:
Original title: November
Genre: fantasy, romance
Language: Estonian
Director: Rainer Sarnet
Screenwriter: Rainer Sarnet
Based on: Rehepapp by Andrus Kivirähk
Cinematographer: Mart Taniel E.S.C
Art Directors: Jaagup Roomet, Matis Mäesalu
Editor: Jaroslaw Kaminski
Music by: Jacaszek
Sound design: Marco Vermaas
Main cast: Rea Lest, Jörgen Liik, Dieter Laser, Arvo Kukumägi, Katariina Unt, Heino Kalm Producer: Katrin Kissa
Co-producers: Ellen Havenith, Lukasz Dzieciol
Produced by: Homeless Bob Production (Estonia), PRPL (The Netherlands), Opus Film (Poland)

Monday, 24 April 2017

Tõnis Mägi song "KOIT" (Dawn) with English translation

Last year I was contacted by a reader asking if I had an English translation for the popular Estonian song 'Koit'. At the time of enquiry I had never seen an English translation of the lyrics and was unable to assist. A few days ago I came across this video online.

For those unaware, 'Koit' is a moving and powerful song, dear to the hearts of many Estonians. It was the main song during the Estonian Singing Revolution when Estonians fought to regain their independence from the Soviet Union between 1988 and 1991.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Tartu University develops new online translating tool

Greta news! Language technologists from the Institute of Computer Science at the University of Tartu have developed a new translation tool making it even easier to understand the Estonian language!

Estonia from Above - Aerial Drone 4K Film

Monday, 17 April 2017

Estonia 100 kicks off with national hike - ERR News

The Estonia 100 centennial program began Sunday with a national day of hiking in springtime snow along the former border which once divided modern-day Estonia into the Governorate of Estonia and the Governorate of Livonia.

"One hundred years ago, North Estonia and South Estonia were separated by a governorate border which we will symbolically erase from the map with this hike," said Margus Kasterpalu, Estonia 100's director of major events, according to a Government Office press release. "In this way, we will celebrate the emergence of our country, which was an important milestone on the road to independence."

Groups of hikers headed out along the over 400 kilometer long former border which ran from the northwestern shore of Lake Peipus to Tõstamaa in Pärnu County. Hikers carried GPS devices which allowed others to follow their paths on a virtual map as the border line was erased by hikers on the move.

To read the full ERR news story, please click here: Estonia 100 kicks off with national hike

Estonian government endorses bill to disband county governments - ERR News

The Estonian government on Thursday gave its nod to a bill that will disband Estonia's 15 county governments and divide up their current functions between municipalities and state institutions; the bill was thereafter forwarded to the Riigikogu.

The government has decided to terminate county governments as of Jan. 1, 2018. The reorganization of county governments will not eliminate counties as administrative units, however.

In accordance with the bill, the function of organization of public transport via public transport centers will be handed over to the National Road Administration, while supervision over educational institutions will be taken over by the Ministry of Education and Research, the coordination of the organization of educatin to Foundation Innove, the issuance of activity permits in the social sphere and supervision thereof to the Social Insurance Board, land reform and procedures with land to the Land Board and the analysis of youth work, programs and subsidies to the Ministry of Education and Research and the Estonian Youth Work Centre.

To read the full ERR News article, please click here: 

Friday, 14 April 2017

Happy Easter! Häid lihavõtteid!

In Estonia, Easter marks the beginning of spring- it's a time of celebration and tradition. Some of these 19th century traditions are still practised today! 

Easter is referred to by many different names in Estonian: Ületõusmispüha (Resurrection), Lihavõtted (literally meaning meat-taking holiday, marking the end of Lent), Munadepüha (egg holiday), and Kiigepühad (swing holiday, referring to the tradition of swinging on the large wooden village swing on Easter Sunday).

Easter Sunday in Estonia is usually celebrated with a long lunch, egg painting, and an old fashioned Easter egg hunt. It's common to decorate your own eggs, typically the eggs are painted with natural colourings like onion skins or beetroot juice, then put in a basket as a centerpiece for the table. Having real eggs on the table is crucial for the after meal egg-knocking competition, where each year a new champion emerges. It's simple, you tap the end of your egg against your opponent's and the shell that doesn't crack is the winner!

Many of the Easter customs, like egg-knocking, that are still practised today come from old folk traditions. Egg rolling, though not widely practised, has the same principle as egg knocking, trying to crack your opponent's egg. An egg is rolled down a pile of sand to try and hit other eggs- how intricate the ramp is, is completely up to you. The person whose egg remains intact, wins!

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Estonian National Museum turns 108 tomorrow! Palju õnne Eesti Rahva Muuseum!

The Estonian National Museum will turn 108 years old on April 14. This will be the first year the museum will celebrate its birthday at its new location. Palju õnne!

To read more, in Estonian, please click here: Palju õnne, Eesti Rahva Muuseum!

Ühenkoorid - Isamaa ilu hoieldes (X noorte laulupidu 01.07.2007)

The working week has come to an end and the Easter holidays are about to begin. Getting into the festive mood I've spent my afternoon listening to some classic Estonian songs. This one I've played about five times. I love it! 

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

12 April 2017 marks one hundred years since the two Estonian-speaking territories were merged into a single entity

On 12 April 1917, the Russian Provisional Government approved the law on the provisional autonomy of Estonia. Based on this law, the Governorate of Estonia and the Estophone northern part of the Governorate of Livonia (Tartumaa, Võrumaa, Pärnumaa, Saaremaa) where joined together.

In other words, this date marked the beginning of the preparations for the proclamation of the independence of the Republic of Estonia on 24 February 1918. 

This day is celebrated in Mihkli Parish for the reason that, back in the old days, this parish was the only one of which a half belonged to the Governorate of Estonia and a half to the Governorate of Livonia.

Click here to read the speech by Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas: 
The founding of the Republic of Estonia would have been inconceivable without our sense of unity

The lands settled by Estonians were unified and the Estonian contour was created.

Additional reading. 
A hundred years ago the lands settled by Estonians were divided between the Governorate of Estonia and the Governorate of Livonia. Even though Estonians lived and the Estonian language was spoken both in the Governorate of Estonia and the northern part of the Governorate of Livonia, those settlements were separated by a strict border. After the February Revolution in Russia in 1917, Estonian nationalists started to demand that the Russian Provisional Government establish a unified and autonomous national governorate. To this end, a demonstration was organised in Petrograd on April 8, 1917, after which on April 12 the Russian Provisional Government issued a decree to join the counties of Pärnu, Saare, Tartu, Viljandi and Võru in the Governorate of Livonia with the Governorate of Estonia. The lands on which Estonians had lived for thousands of years were once again united, and we could now enjoy the sea views, the silence of the marsh and the scent of our spruce and pine forests without a dividing border.

Source: EV100

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Winner of the new Baltic two Euro centenary coin announced

In 2018 the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will celebrate their centenaries. To mark the occasion, a competition was held to produce a special 2€ commemorative coin. Each of the Baltic States submitted two designs and a public vote took place online to choose the winner. 

The winning design was produced by Lithuanian artist Justas Petrulis and shows a symbolic plait in which the fates of the three Baltic sisters intertwine.  

The winning design: 'Baltic sisters with plaited hair'.

During the two weeks of online voting, 14 302 votes were received. People from every continent except Antarctica voted for their favourite design. Alongside voters from Europe were others from Japan, Australia, Argentina, Canada, India, Morocco and the United States. The vast majority of 93% of the votes came from the three Baltic states, with 36% of the votes coming from Estonia, 32% from Latvia, and 25% from Lithuania.

In total, 4277 votes were cast for the work by the young Lithuanian designer Justas Petrulis; this is his debut in coin art.

Petrulis expressed the idea of his work in a poem:

Baltic sisters plaited their hair
As if one story – joint plait.
Mutual past, present and future,
Century of States unites three Baltic daughters.

The 'Three Hands' & ''Three Pines' were Estonia's coin submissions.

The two-euro coin with the winning design will be minted in all three Baltic States and will enter circulation in early 2018.

100 random participants from the online vote will each receive a gift pack of three commemorative coins in special souvenir packaging – a coin from each of the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian mints.

For more information, please click here: New Centenary Baltic Coin

If Tesla were a country it would be Estonia!

Friday, 7 April 2017

5 exciting new attractions coming soon to Estonia

Estonia has always been a country full of pleasant surprises. With each visit comes the opportunity to discover something wonderful and new. During the next few years Estonia will be opening a range of exciting new attractions making, the country even more appealing than before. Here are five of the best:

1. Skypark  - Giant Ferris Wheel 

Due to open October 2018, the giant Ferris wheel stands at 120 metres tall and will be the largest public object displaying the EV100 logo. The Ferris wheel will be part of the 6,000 square metre Skypark complex, featuring large indoor trampolines, various ball games, a 4D cinema and science centre.

2. Sea Star Centre 

Meritäht Dirhamis
Meritäht /Seastar

The 'Meritäht' / 'Sea Star' complex will be Estonia's first multi-functional marine centre under one roof. Due to open in 2019, it will include an ocean fish aquarium, water park, adventure park, science centre, a diving centre and an indoor beach.

3.Kosmopark (Space Park) 

The Kosmo Park in Põltsamaa is set to be the largest indoor space-themed amusement park in the Baltic region. Due to open in the autumn of 2018, the park will offer a unique combination of wind tunnel and thematic attractions. Experience what it's like to be an astronaut and float in a weightless state, or try the virtual climbing wall. Many adrenalin filled activities await you!

To learn more, you can watch the promo video here: Kosmopark - kosmoseteemaline perepark Põltsamaal

4.Wow Centre Kuresaare

Wow Centre Kuresaare

The Wow Centre is sure to thrill those interested in optical illusions. Here you can experience walking in the rain without getting wet, climb underwater and experiment with space.  The Wow Centre will also include a planetarium, 4-D movie theatre and "Selfiedrome" in which visitors can take pictures of themselves participating in historical and other exciting scenes.  Hours of fun for the entire family!

5. Noblessner Virtual Reality Experience Centre

The Noblessner Virtual Reality Experience Centre will enable visitors to step back in time and experience life in the 19th century. The centre has 15 experience points where you can try everything from a hot air balloon ride to controlling an aircraft.  Use your problem solving abilities to complete tasks in different environments. The centre is set to open in Tallinn by the end of 2018.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Tallinn shortlisted for European Green Capital 2019 & European Green Leaf 2018 Awards

The finalists for the European Green Capital Award (EGCA) 2019 and European Green Leaf Award (EGL) 2018 have been announced. Ghent (Belgium), Lahti (Finland), Lisbon (Portugal), Oslo (Norway) and Tallinn (Estonia) are the five finalists shortlisted for the EGCA. For the EGL, the finalists are Leuven (Belgium), Ludwigsburg (Germany) and Växjö (Sweden).

The shortlisted cities will now have to convince the Jury of their overall commitment to ongoing environmental improvement and sustainable development, their capacity to act as a role model, and their strategy for communicating with the public. This year’s winners will be announced at an award ceremony on 2 June 2017 in Essen, Germany, the current European Green Capital.

To learn more, please click here: European Green Awards

Estonia: Mythology Case Study

Claasical music in Estonia - introduction by composer Rasmus Puur