Estonia is a small Baltic country with only 1,3 million people. Estonia just celebrated its 100th birthday, but the road to the independent state we have today was not that easy. As a perfect harbouring location, Estonia has been a sweet spot for the conquerors – we have been under the rule of Germans, Swedes, Danes and Russians. This is a story about a small country that makes up in great things.
Estonia is rarely mentioned in the world news, but we are for sure known for being the country of IT. It is natural for us that we can sit on a stump in deep forest (50% of Estonia are the woods) and surf Facebook or use Skype (that was invented in Estonia!). Actually, Estonian kids are taught to write the codes from the age of seven. We are really surprised when other countries go to vote in the offices since we do everything on the Internet. In Estonia, we don’t even have to go out – we mostly work from home, order the food home from the shops, vote online, and small robot couriers drive around the streets to get us our packages.
In spite of being technically evolved, Estonians haven’t forgotten their roots, and we have always been good farmers. Being poor and oppressed in the past, we have depended on what Mother Earth gives us. And since it’s a horribly cold country (-20 degrees is great weather), it doesn’t give us much. But we can always rely on potatoes. And man, we love our potatoes. Estonia has a lot of world-class a la carte restaurants. We have shrimps, sushi, pasta and every delicacy you could imagine, but we never forget our roots. There are about five thousand foods you can make from potatoes – mashed potatoes, potato soup, baked potato, fried potatoes… Another food the Estonians love is sour cream. You can’t have anything without it, especially not the potatoes. Also, we have a weird thing about blood. Once a year, we have some blood sausages (with our potatoes). I’m not sure if anyone really likes the Estonian national food, but we stay true to it. It’s a matter of principle.
It may come as a surprise to many, but Estonia is one the most pagan countries in the world. As many as 70,8% of Estonians don't believe in God, and after many tries of Christians to make us a religious land, we have stayed loyal to our old ways. For example, in June, during the longest night of the year and the most important holiday, when the sun never sets, we burn the fires and jump over them singing loudly and horribly. But it’s funny since Estonia has a lot of churches that we still visit in the Christmas time. Fun fact – an Estonian church Oleviste in Tallinn was the highest building in the world in 1549 (Suck it, Burj Khalifa!).
For a small country, Estonia has a lot of diversity and no joke – we even have different dialects few hours’ drive away. The southern part of Estonia has its own culture, including its own queen. Not to mention islands, like the biggest island Saaremaa where you should check out Kaali crater where meteorite hit in the year 1530 BC. Saaremaa is also the place where most of the best rappers of Estonia come from – they have a funny way of saying "Ö" instead of the letter "Õ". Weird, right?
From the business districts to the magical Game-of-Thrones-style old towns, to bogs and endless green forests, Estonia is a small Baltic country that makes up in great things. Estonia offers a lot to discover. And although we appear to be serious people, we have our own little jokes that we always laugh about – for example that the Latvians have six toes (it cracks everybody up, funny every single time!)
Cover picture © Credits to iStock/ Pel_1971
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