Estonia: the richest Baltic country

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Main facts:

  • Capital city: Tallinn

  • Language(s): Estonian

  • Currency: Euro, EUR

  • Population: 1,320,000

  • Timezone: UTC+2

  • Main religion: Orthodoxy (16%)

  • Standard of living (subjectively): high

Top 10 interesting places and activities:

Approximate costs (person/day):

~€ 25-70

~€ 1-5

~€ 5-13

~€ 5-15

Sights map of Estonia

Travel around Estonia

Estonia is the smallest in terms of population of the Baltic states, but the richest in per capita income. About 1.3 million people live here, of which one third are located in the capital Tallinn. In other major cities - Tartu, Narva and Pärnu - less than 100 thousand people live in each. The official language is Estonian, religions are Orthodox (for non-locals) and Lutheran (for locals). Estonia is a member of the European Union, NATO and the Schengen Agreement, and celebrating its 100th anniversary of independence in 2018.

 

Throughout history, Estonians have constantly suffered from conquerors. Initially, the ancient Aesti tribes were captured by the knights of the Teutonic Order, who controlled their political and economic activities until their defeat from the Poles. Then the territory of Estonia was occupied by the troops of Sweden, which after the Great Northern War gave it to the Russian Empire. And only after the collapse of the Russian Empire and the two world wars, Estonia gained its current administrative structure and complete independence. The prosperity of the country provided a large seaport of Revel (now Tallinn), whose favorable geographical position and rich heritage in the Hanseatic League made it one of the largest on the Baltic coast. To this day, this city is the richest in the country, providing more than half of gross GDP and a high standard of living for the entire population. In addition to business Tallinn, Estonia still has many centers of metallurgy and engineering, forestry and fisheries, and the ecology in the country is one of the best in Europe.

 

According to the Human Development Index, Estonia is included in the list of the most developed countries in the world, which can be seen very well in reality. There are practically no poor areas, all the sights and buildings have been restored and well-groomed, the streets are clean and tidy, and many foreign tourists admire the perfectly preserved medieval architecture.

The capital of the country, city of Tallinn, is a very beautiful and picturesque city: ancient stone walls with high towers surrounding the Old Town, cobbled streets, many Cathedrals and an incredibly beautiful central square! The huge castle-fortress Toompea threatens over the city, and in the neighboring palace is located the National Assembly of the country. Here, samples of classical architecture coexist with beautiful palaces, monumental fortifications and small cozy squares. Old city is very compact, and therefore walking along its winding medieval streets is a real pleasure. If you want to take a break from ancient buildings, then you can go to the modern business district, taste Baltic seafood in restaurants, see the classic Kadriorg Palace in baroque style or look at the huge ferries with thousands of people traveling between Estonia and neighboring Finland and Sweden.

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There are not so many places in Estonia that worth a visit. But there are those, to miss such would be a big omission. First of all, this is the famous resort city on the Baltic Sea - Pärnu, where many Estonians go for sea holidays every summer. Secondly, it is just necessary to visit the fortress city of Narva. Today Narva is part of Estonia, but it was once a Russian large city, built under the protection of a huge military fortification to protect the lands of the Novgorod principality from the Swedes and German knights. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the city of Narva was left to the Estonians, and the Russian border town of Ivangorod remained opposite. It is worth going to Narva in order to see two monumental fortresses on the banks of the river separating the countries. Narva Castle and Ivangorod Fortress towering here in opposite of each other, recalling the difficult times of war in these places.

The history of Estonia is a story of survival in the dense and marshy lands, partisan wars and the struggle for independence for hundreds of years. The heritage of that time can be seen today in several castles scattered throughout the country. The Bishop's castle in Kuressaare, which was a stronghold of the Catholic faith in these lands, the remains of the ancient fortress of Rakvere, the county castle and palace of Taagepera - all these places are ready to share with you their interesting and fascinating stories.

In addition, all over the country there are many national parks, which attract with its harsh northern beauty. Thick coniferous forests of Soomaa and Lahemaa, high waterfalls of Valaste and Jägala, winding coasts and sandy beaches of the Baltic Sea in the national parks of Kõpu, Vilsandi and Kihnu Island. Every traveler will find in Estonia a place for a quiet and secluded rest on the beautiful nature!

Estonia is a model of the Scandinavian approach to social organization and government. Here, the social structure is based on a model of the welfare state, common among neighboring Finland and Sweden. Here are high taxes, but free healthcare and education, an excellent system of social guarantees and excellent public transport. So, the latter works like a clock and is completely environmentally friendly, the fare is paid only through plastic cards (as in Sweden), and for local residents since last year the fare on public transport has become free! Perhaps Estonia is an example of a competent social policy that improves the well-being of an already not poor people.

 

In Estonia, there is little Russian-speaking population, and the language belongs to the Finno-Ugric group and therefore is completely incomprehensible for most tourists. However, there are hospitable people who speak English, great food and amazing sights that you can't take your eyes off. Estonia is a beautiful, environmentally friendly and cozy country, which is a real decoration of the Baltic region!