Sunday, 26 July 2020

St. Madeline's Wooden Church in Ruhnu

Estonia has many charming old churches but perhaps one of the most interesting is St. Madeline's on the island of Ruhnu. Built in 1644 during the time of Swedish rule, St. Madeline's was constructed from the timber of old shipwrecks. Today, St. Madeline's is the oldest surviving wooden building in Estonia. 

There is very little chance of going inside the church as it's usually closed but visitors can always peer through the windows to catch a glimpse of a bygone era.  

Church services are held in the stone church that was built next door.

Thursday, 23 July 2020

Video: A super quick history of Estonia

Is it possible to summarise Estonian history in under 6 minutes? Mr History did a pretty good job!

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Interview: President Kersti Kaljulaid speaks with Dennis Wholey

This is a good interview that took place last year between President Kaljulaid and Dennis Wholey from This is America and The World. The interview covers a broad range of topics and highlights some of Estonia's best features. The internview made me feel proud to be Estonian. 

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Skype co-founder Toivo Annus dies aged 48

Estonia lost one of its great countrymen last Sunday. Toivo Annus, one of the masterminds behind the invention of Skype died suddenly from an unexpected illness. He was one of the men who revolutionised the telecommuncations industry and brought us Skype.

Skype was launched in Estonia in 2003 by two Scandinavian entrepreneurs, the Dane Janus Friis and Swede Niklas Zennstrom, and four Estonian developers – Ahti Heinla, Priit Kasesalu, Jaan Tallinn and Toivo Annus.

Annus played a major role in managing the first Skype office in Tallinn and overseeing the engineering and core peer-to-peer network team. After he left the company, Toivo invested privately in a number of ventures across the world and was very active in Singapore.

In 2010, former Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves bestowed Toivo with the Order of the White Star, fifth class.

RIP Toivo. You made people dream bigger.

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Archaeologist Marika Mägi reminds us of our Viking past

When the world thinks of the word 'Viking', countries such as Norway usually spring to mind but Vikings were not exclsuively from Scandinavia, Estonia had Vikings too. Estonian archaeologist Marika Mägi has been on a mission for many years to bring to light the history of Vikings in Estonia. Thousands of ancient relics belonging to Baltic Vikings have been frequently unearthed across Estonia.

Baltic Vikings were coastal warriors who lived in modern Estonia, Finland and Latvia.  In her 512 page book In Austrvegr: The Role of the Eastern Baltic in Viking Age Communication across the Baltic Sea, Mägi explores the cultural, mercantile and political interactions of the Viking Age (9th-11th century), focusing on the eastern coasts of the Baltic Sea.

Mägi's work has been praised for its cultural significance. In this photo she received the Estonian State Award for Research in the field of humanities from Prime Minister Jüri Ratas.

In Austrvegr: The Role of the Eastern Baltic in Viking Age Communication across the Baltic Sea by Marika Mägi is available here.

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Baltic States outperform the rest of Europe in dealing with the Coronavirus crisis

The world is currently facing the worst public health and economic crisis in a century. As of 20th June 2020, around 463,000 people had died from Covid-19 across the globe. Many countries responded swiftly to the crisis and took action whilst countries like the United States failed to act and are now experiencing the devastating results. All countries need to strengthen the resilience of their health systems and prevention programs. Estonia ranks number 5 in dealing with the COVID19 pandemic among OECD members, according to the Sustainable Development Report 2020. Well done.

You can read the full report here: Sustainable Development Report 2020

Sunday, 5 July 2020

How to make Estonia rye bread from a starter (DIY- Cooking with Tammo)

I thought I would share this video today as it shows how Estonians living abroad (Canada in this case) continue to keep Estonian traditions alive in their adopted homeland. I quite enjoyed watching this video as I picked up a few tips. Thanks Tammo!