Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Tallinn Town Hall celebrates its 700th anniversary

This year marks the 700th anniversary of the first mention of the Tallinn Town Hall in 1322. This majestic Gothic building is known for its large ornate meeting rooms and is the best preserved town hall in Northern Europe. The official anniversary of the Raekoda took place on 15 May but anniversary celebrations will continue throughout the year.

Tallinn Town Hall / Tallinna Raekoda

The Gothic arches and precious works of art reflect the wealth and ideals of the former Hanseatic city. The rarest items are the benches of aldermen dating from the 14th and 15th century.

In July and August, the Town Hall is open to visitors from the cellar to the attic. More information about Tallinn's Town Hall can be found here. It's well worth a visit!

Saturday, 25 June 2022

History of Coop in Estonia

If, 120 years ago, 17 Antsla farmers hadn't put their heads and money together and decided not to use the expensive goods of local merchants and instead buy scraps for hay making together, Coop would probably never have been born. Fortunately, men had the tendency to do this and community economy started. Watch the video to see how people worked for a common goal 120 years ago.

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Midsummer's Day is approaching!

St. John's Day or Jaanipäev as it is known in Estonian is one of the oldest and most celebrated day in Estonia. It is the second most important day on the Estonian calendar after Christmas. 

Due to its cultural significance Jaanipäev is a national holiday in Estonia, giving city dwellers the chance to head to the countryside to celebrate. People tend to spend the day with friends and family, either by enjoying a BBQ in their gardens or having a picnic in the forest. Jaanipäev parties (Jaanipidu) always begin on Midsummer's Eve and feature live music and massive bonfires. During Jaanipäev it is common to stay up until dawn.

Midsummer's Eve traditions and folk beliefs:

Young women looking for a glimpse into the future are advised to collect nine different types of flowers and place them under a pillow for the night, resulting in a predictive dream revealing a future spouse. 

Young lovers wander through the forest looking for a lucky fern flower said to bloom only on this night. If you are lucky enough to spot a glowworm, you may expect a great fortune. 

The more adventurous boys and girls are known to jump over the bonfire in hopes of achieving prosperity or to swing as high as possible on the village's wooden swing. 

More modern traditions include singing, dancing, and the telling of old folk tales.

Friday, 17 June 2022

Lonely Planet names Estonia's Prangli Island as one of Europe's most incredible remote getaways for 2022

Lonely Planet recently published an article 9 incredible remote escapes in Europe for 2022 and named Prangli Island as a great place for solo travellers who don't want to be bored. Located a mere 30 km from Tallinn, Prangli Island has a fascinating history having been settled by pirates, bootleggers, fishermen and sealers.

'Wagon of Tears' marks the 81st anniversary of the Soviet mass deportation of June 1941

The 'Wagon of Tears' on Tallinn's Freedom Square remembers the thousands of people who were deported on 14 June 1941 by the occupying Soviet regime. Over 10,000 people, including children, were crammed into cattle wagons and sent to remote parts of Russia. Many perished during the horrendous journey that took weeks and many more deaths followed as a result of the harsh livings conditions those Estonians were forced to endure. It was a crime against humanity we will never forget. 

Half of the tears in this year's wagon are in the Ukrainian colours to show solidarity for those suffering once again by Russian aggression.

Friday, 10 June 2022

New Estonian spy drama series 'Traitor'

When Estonia joins NATO in 2004 and becomes a top target for the Russian intelligence, an official at the Estonian Ministry of Defence turns into a Russian spy. Here begins a cat-and-mouse game between him and a determined young Estonian counterintelligence officer as they navigate the twists and turns of the action framed by challenges in both their personal lives. Traitor is a thrilling six-part spy drama series inspired by espionage scandals from Estonia’s recent history.

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Estonia's largest maze built in Saaremaa

In the village of Neemi, Estonian Indrek Nõgu has created a five kilometre maze. It took him a year to develop the project and he used a specially made tape measure, iron bar and strimmer to cut his pattern. The design was inspired by a pattern from a French convent. The maze was constructed on a one hectare field and is believed to be the largest in Estonia.

To learn more, watch this interview with Nõgu (in Estonian) Saaremaa mees rajas põllule Eesti suurima labürindi

Saturday, 4 June 2022

Happy Estonian Flag Day!

Today is the 138th anniversary of the 'sinimustvalge' Estonia's national flag. On this day we display our beautiful tri-colour flag with pride!

The origins of the Estonian flag date back to 1881 when the Estonian Students' Society in Tartu adopted blue, black and white as the colours of their fraternity. The flag achieved national importance at the beginning of the 20th century and in 1918 it became the flag of the Republic of Estonia. The first flag was consecrated in Otepää in 1884 and still exists today. During the Soviet occupation the original flag was hidden in a farmhouse chimney and is now at the National Museum of Estonia.

The Estonian flag is symbolic in nature. Blue represents the sky and loyalty to the homeland. Black refers to the soil and diligence. White means purity and hope for the future.  

The flag of Estonia is unique with its rare colour combination. Whilst red is the most common colour found on many world flags, Estonia chose colours it culturally identifies with. The only other country in the world that uses blue, black and white on thier national flag is Botswana.

The colours of the Estonia flag appear naturally on the Estonian landscape in winter.