Top 10 AMAZING Facts About ESTONIA
In this video, we’re going to dive into the beautiful history and marvelous attractions of Estonia. From free public transportation, to traditional Estonian cuisines, in this video, we will cover top 10 interesting facts about Estonia.
A Singing Revolution
The Singing Revolution is a commonly used term for the events which transpired between 1987 and 1991 that led to the restoration of Estonia’s, Latvia’s, and Lithuania’s independence from the USSR. From 1987 forward, mass demonstrations of spontaneous singing soon collected crowds exceeding 300,000 participants. In Tallinn, it was forbidden to sing national songs and hymns. September 11th, 1988 marks one of the happiest days in Estonia’s history. Hundreds of thousands of people joined together for the “Song of Estonia” festival which was held in a major arena within the countries capital. On that monumental day, even political leaders actively participated in the events and insisted on restoring Estonia’s independence. Despite coup d’état attempts by the Communists, Estonia’s independence was declared late in the evening on August 20th, 1991. This is yet another example of how just a few brave people can start a revolution, a life changing event.
While we are on the topic of Estonian inventions, they are also responsible for creating a sport. Kiiking is one of the most popular of all Estonian sports. It was created there in 1996 by Ado Kosk. A kiik is the ‘adult’ version of a swing. The competitor is strapped to the swing by their feet and are adjoined with two long steel arms. The kiik allows an individual to swing in a full 360 degrees around the fulcrum. In order to correctly swing on the kiik, whoever is strapped in must pump by squatting and then standing tall. In time you will have spun around upside down several times without having to use as much force. Although not everyone has the nerves or abilities to take part in such an activity, it provides a source of entertainment for most Estonians.
As we have mentioned before, Estonians are very well introduced to computers and skilled in the technology field. In the early days of the internet, long before Myspace and Google were popular, there was a file-sharing program called Kazaa. This program was created by an Estonian team, although they did end up selling its rights. Years later, an application known as “Skype” was born. This program allows free calls as long as there was internet connection and even face to face video streaming. Skype was founded by a Dane, a Swede and 3 Estonians and was first released in August of 2003.
Johann Urb may likely be the most well known Estonian besides their political officials and Olympic athletes. He was born in Tallinn, Estonia on January 24th, 1977. At age ten his mother and step-father moved with Johann to Finland. Just seven short years later he settled in the United States to start his modeling career. Urb has starred in several popular movies and TV shows. This list includes but is not limited to: “2012”, a movie released in 2009 that has much to do with controversial apocalyptic warnings, “Family Guy”, an adult oriented cartoon show, “Zoolander”, which also starred Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller, and NCIS, a fictions yet well made crime show that features a murder investigation each episode as a team of investigators try to uncover the killers identity. Other famous Estonians include Carmen Kass, Kerli, and Kaia Kenepi.
Estonian Tourist Attractions
The Old Town portion of Tallinn, Estonia is by far the most popular landmark when it comes to tourism. While much of the old medieval architecture of Europe has been lost due to a number of reasons, many of the streets and structures have remained well preserved, almost frozen in time. The town is alive with festivals and many other activities which include getting a taste of Europe’s finest beverages at the local pubs and breweries. Many Roman Catholic cathedrals and Russian Orthodox churches can be visited in the city and most are all within walking distance. The Cathedral of Mary the Virgin is among the oldest, it is believed to have been erected in 1233.
Traditional Estonian cuisine has always closely imitated other European countries; by this we mean that they are a predominantly a meat and potatoes type of society. In some coastal and lakeside areas fish is also added into their dishes. Black pudding, a type of blood sausage made from oatmeal and actual pork blood, is also very common in Estonia. Cabbage with mushrooms is one meal certainly unique to Estonia as well. Above all, rye bread is a very traditional food to Estonia. While the French will wish you Bon appétit, which translates to “good apetite”, an Estonian will say jätku leiba, which means, “May your bread last”.
Wife Carrying Competition
Each year, several European countries get together to participate in a rather strange sport called “wife carrying.” This sport is as odd and obvious as its name sounds. The idea of it is to have the male contestant carry his wife or girlfriend through an obstacle course and try to do this in as little time possible. Although introduced in Finland, and still held there annually, it goes without saying that Estonians are the champions of this sport. The fastest run ever made was 55.5 seconds, and this was done by an Estonian couple who beat the previous Finnish record by a mere 1.2 seconds. A prize is awarded after every competition to the fastest runners. What is this prize, you may ask? Your wife’s weight in beer! Furthermore, 3 types of positions are typically used in this competition: the classic piggy-back, fireman’s carry – or over the shoulder – and Estonian-style, where the female is positioned upside down with her legs over the mans shoulder.
Law enforcement officers in Estonia, just like most other places in the world, are pretty concerned about keeping the road safe. Obviously, an individual is not allowed to get behind the wheel if visibly intoxicated, but they take safety precautions to a whole new level. Because of the extended amount of time the country is draped in darkness, a law was put into place that requires all pedestrians and bikers to have safety reflectors attached somewhere to their body at all times. Those who do not follow this rule are often subject up to a $400 or 490 euro fine.
Estonia is a very tech savvy country. Almost all citizens have access to the internet via personal computers which have been installed in most classrooms and are commonly found at home. Likely the most interesting thing in relations to Estonia’s fondness of technology is that citizens have been given the option to vote online since 2005, and is the first country to put it into use for general elections. All votes are encrypted to preserve anonymity. Despite worries of voter fraud due to the hacking of their system, most Estonians are rather pleased with the process and use it to their advantage. The government issued ID they are given for online voting can also be used to file taxes and pay public library fines.
The local government of Tallinn, Estonia, the country’s capital, came up with a genius idea in order to help the environment and increase the citizens overall happiness and standard of living. What the city now does is offer free public transportation to anyone who is a registered resident. Despite an increase to the municipalities’ debt, more money is actually made off of tax revenue because of the large number of people that are attracted to live locally due to this privilege. Fewer cars are on Tallinn’s roads, meaning that the chances of an accident occurring are much less. The money saved on gasoline is a contributing factor as to why local businesses have seen an increase in customers and sales.