ESTONIA

Date of establishment: February 24, 1918

Brief history:

13th century: Estonia was conquered by the Teutonic Order, which established a number of fortresses and towns in the region.

16th century: Estonia became part of the Livonian Confederation, which included various German and Baltic states. It then came under Swedish rule.

1710: Estonia was conquered by Russia and became part of the Russian Empire.

1918: After the collapse of the Russian Empire, Estonia declared independence.

1940: The Soviet Union annexed Estonia and incorporated it into the USSR.

1941-1944: Estonia was occupied by Nazi Germany.

1944: The Soviet army reoccupied Estonia and returned it to the Soviet Union.

1991: Estonia regained independence after the dissolution of the USSR.

2004: Estonia joined the European Union and NATO.

 

International abbreviation: EST

 

Currency: Euro (EUR)

Estonia became a member of the Eurozone in 2004, replacing its previous currency, the Estonian kroon.

 

Internet domain: .ee

 

Dialing code: +372

 

Time zone: GMT+2

 

Geography:

Estonia is located by the Baltic Sea. It shares borders with Russia to the east, Latvia to the south, and Finland across the Gulf of Finland to the north. It is one of the smallest countries in Europe.

The relief of Estonia is relatively flat and diverse. The country consists mostly of forests, lakes, marshes, and rivers.

The most significant cities in Estonia are Tallinn, Tartu, Narva, and Pärnu.

 

Highest peak: Suur Munamägi, 318 meters (1 043 feet) above sea level.

The highest peak in Estonia is called Suur Munamägi, which translates to “Great Egg Mountain.” It is in the southeast of the country, near the village of Haanja, in an area known as the Haanja Upland. Although it is the highest point in Estonia, it is relatively low compared to peaks in other European countries. However, Suur Munamägi offers a beautiful view of the surrounding landscape and is a popular spot for hiking and excursions.

 

Climate:

Estonia has a moderately continental climate with coastal influences. Winters are usually cold with freezing temperatures and snowfall. The average temperature in January ranges from -4°C (25°F) on the coast to -10°C (14°F) in the eastern part of the country. Summers are mild with average temperatures around 18°C (64°F), but they can be very humid and rainy. Average precipitation is high, reaching about 600 mm (24 inches) per year in northern areas and up to 1000 mm (40 inches) per year in the south and east of Estonia.

In winter, Estonia experiences frequent winds from Russia, called “koshava,” which can be very cold and dry. In summer, due to the influence of the Atlantic, frequent rainfall and passing storms occur.

 

Fauna and flora:

Forests cover more than half of the country, providing a habitat for many species of animals and plants. The most typical forest species include Scots pine, Norway spruce, silver birch, European beech, common oak, and European aspen.

Among the most notable animal species found in Estonia are the brown bear, moose, roe deer, wild boar, Eurasian lynx, gray wolf, red fox, and various species of game and birds. In the lakes and rivers and the coastal waters of the Baltic Sea, various fish species can be found, such as northern pike, European perch, Atlantic salmon, and European eel.

The Estonian coastline is also an important migration site for many bird species that travel between Europe and Asia. Typical species include the common eider, common shelduck, common and black-headed gulls, and Eurasian oystercatchers.

In terms of flora, Estonia is rich in various plant species, such as wild orchids, shrubs, mosses, and lichens. The most significant plant species include juniper, bilberry, spindle tree, hazel, and several species of crocus and lily.

 

Agriculture:

Agricultural areas are mainly located on the southern and eastern coast and inland of the country.

The most important crops include cereals (particularly barley, wheat, and oats), potatoes, sugar beets, rapeseed, and various types of vegetables and fruits (apples, cherries, currants and strawberries). Livestock such as beef cattle, pigs, and poultry are also raised.

In recent years, Estonia has become a leading producer of biofuels in Europe. Rapeseed oil and ethanol from grains are mainly used. The country is also striving to develop organic farming and improve traditional farming practices to minimize soil and water pollution.

 

Natural resource extraction:

Estonia has limited natural resources, but it mines several important raw materials that are vital to its economy.

The most significant resource is oil shale gas. This fossil fuel source is found in the Idla region in northeastern Estonia. Shale gas mining is conducted underground, which means traditional mining methods are not used, and gas production is relatively expensive. Nevertheless, Estonia is one of the world’s largest producers of oil shale gas.

Another important resource is phosphate ore, which is mined in the Maidla region in northeastern Estonia. This resource is primarily used as a fertilizer for agricultural crops.

Estonia also extracts limestone and dolomite, which are used in industry and construction. Iron ore mining was also carried out in the past, but it was halted in the 1990s due to low market prices.

 

Industry:

The most significant industrial sectors include IT, and the food, wood-processing, chemicals, and electronics industries.

Estonia specializes in the production of high-value-added food products, such as fish, dairy products, and meat products.

The wood-processing industry focuses on the production of timber, plywood, and furniture.

The chemicals industry includes the production of fertilizers, plastics, and various chemicals.

The electronics industry focuses on the production of computers, components, and software.

Due to its geographical location and well-developed infrastructure, Estonia has become a popular destination for foreign investors seeking opportunities for manufacturing and distributing their products in Europe.

 

Services and other areas of the economy: telecommunications, banking, services, and information technology

 

Natural and historical attractions:

Estonia offers many natural beauties, historical monuments, cultural, and cultural-historical attractions that attract tourists from around the world.

The main tourist center in Estonia is its capital city, Tallinn, and of particular note is the old town. Other tourist attractions include cities like Tartu and Pärnu, the Baltic Sea coast with its beautiful beaches, and national parks such as Lahemaa and Soomaa, where many species of animals and plants can be observed.

Estonia is also popular for cycling and hiking. There are numerous hiking trails that offer breathtaking views of the countryside and nature. Additionally, Estonia is a favored location for sports events such as marathons, triathlon races, and sailing competitions.

 

 

Form of government: Parliamentary republic

The main institutions of power are the president, the government, and parliament. The president is the head of state and is directly elected by the citizens for a five-year term. Their role is primarily ceremonial and representative, but they also have certain powers in the areas of foreign policy and the judiciary.

The government is made up of the prime minister and ministers. The prime minister is appointed by the president based on the election results, and their government must have the support of parliament. The government is responsible for the administration of the state and the implementation of laws. The unicameral parliament is called the Riigikogu and consists of 101 members. The members of parliament are elected by the citizens every four years. Parliament has powers in legislation and the oversight of the Government.

Estonia has an independent judicial system, which includes local courts, county courts, an appellate court, and the Supreme Court. The courts are responsible for the administration of justice and the application of laws.

Estonia is divided into municipalities and the city of Tallinn, which have certain autonomous powers and are governed by local representative bodies.

 

Capital city: Tallinn

Tallinn is the capital city of Estonia and is located on the northeastern coast of the Baltic Sea. The city has a rich history and cultural heritage and is one of the most beautiful Central European metropolises. The historical center of the city, called the Old Town, is full of picturesque streets, squares, and landmarks. Among the most notable landmarks are Tallinn Castle, St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, St. Andrew’s Cathedral, and many other churches, towers, and gates. Other significant tourist attractions include Tallinn’s amusement parks, the Estonian Museum, the National Museum, the Museum of Deceptions, the Maritime Museum and historical ships, botanical gardens, and many more. Tallinn is also a popular destination to visit during the Advent season when the traditional Christmas market takes place in the historical center of the city, featuring numerous stalls with crafts, food, and drinks. The city also has a modern side, with plenty of trendy cafes, restaurants, shops, and clubs. Tallinn is also an important port for ferries and ships, making it a crucial transportation hub in the Baltic Sea region.

Area: 45 339 km2 (17 505 square miles)

 

Population: 1 326 000 (2022 estimate)

The majority of the population (around 70%) are Estonians, while the rest mainly consists of Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians. Estonia is also one of the least religiously affiliated countries in the world, with approximately half of the population identifying as having no religion. In recent years, Estonia has become a popular destination for immigrants, especially from countries of the former Soviet Union and other parts of the world. Most immigrants reside in Tallinn and Narva. Immigrants represent approximately 25% of the total population and contribute to the cultural and ethnic diversity of the country.

 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites: 2

 

  1. Historic Centre of Tallinn (1997) – The historic center of Tallinn is located in the capital city of Estonia and is one of the most beautiful and well-preserved medieval cities in Europe. The city walls, towers, gates, and streets are examples of medieval architecture and urbanism. In the historic center, you can find many landmarks such as cathedrals, churches, town halls, and squares, most of which are over 500 years old.
  2. Struve Geodetic Arc (2005) – A project that was conducted in the 19th century. Its aim was to measure and determine precise geographic coordinates along a long stretch from northern Norway to the Black Sea.

 

National Parks: 6

 

  1. Lahemaa National Park
  2. Karula National Park
  3. Matsalu National Park
  4. Soomaa National Park
  5. Vilsandi National Park
  6. Alutaguse National Park