A key to
Estonia

For millennia, Tallinn has been a gateway between East and West. Sokos Hotel Estoria is like a key that opens up phenomenon called Estonia. It is a unique and cosy business class hotel that provides high-quality service, opportunity to rest, relax, and learn something interesting about Estonia at the same time.

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Stories of Estonia

The biggest in Baltics – KUMU

Did you know that KUMU has been awarded the title of European Museum of the Year 2008?

The words KUnst and MUuseum have yielded KUMU, which has several further meanings in Estonian: reverberation, hearsay and sensation. The architectural masterpiece by Finnish architect Pekka Vapaavuori houses Estonia’s largest art museum.

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The world’s oldest Viking ship

Did you know that the world’s oldest Viking ship was discovered in the small town of Salme in Saaremaa in the autumn of 2008?

Dating from the first half of the 7th century, the sailboat is the oldest both in the Baltic Sea region and the world.

If you do not have a sailboat yet, have the islanders build one for you. Saaremaa’s harbours are waiting.

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Estonian sumo wrestler in Japan

Did you know that one of the most famous sumo wrestlers in Japan is the Estonian Kaido Höövelson?

Kaido Höövelson (sumo wrestler name: Baruto Kaito 把瑠都 凱斗,meaning “Man from the Baltic States” and also “Balti Sea”) is the first Estonian to become a professional sumo wrestler in Japan. Kaido went to Japan in 2004 and accomplished a meteoric rise to the level of ōzeki in 2010, winning the hearts of millions of fans in the process. Kaido, who ended his sumo career due to a knee injury, hosts guests in his native homeland at Barto Guest House in Lääne-Viru County and organises trips to Estonia through the travel agency Barto Tours.

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Oil shale and jelly lollies

Did you know that oil shale and jelly lollies both share a common origin in algae?

Estonia’s oil shale or kukersite was created 450 to 460 million years ago by algae deposited at the bottom of a shallow sea.

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The fifth season

Did you know that about one-fifth of all land in Estonia is covered by mires? In terms of the abundance of natural mires, we rank third in the world, after Finland and Canada.

The fifth season or high water happens in low-lying wetland areas in spring, mostly in April, when large quantities of water from melting snow pour into the valleys and lowlands. Then you can only get around without getting your feet wet if you use small watercraft or haabjad (dugouts).

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The world’s oldest variety of rye grown

Did you know that the world’s oldest variety of rye grown and cultivated to this day comes from Sangaste in Southern Estonia?

In 1875, Count Friedrich Georg Magnus von Berg, Lord of Sangaste Manor, bred a new variety of winter rye.  Frost-hardy, with long stalks and good yields, “Sangaste” won the Grand Prix at the World Exposition in Paris in 1889 and continues to be grown and cultivated to this day. Sangaste is Estonia’s rye village, and its gates open to visitors year-round.

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The miracle substance Panis Martius

Did you know that the oldest continuously operating café in Tallinn is Café Maiasmokk?

In 1806, the Swiss confectioner Lorenz Caviezel set up his confectioner’s workshop and shop front in the same location. In 1864, the business was bought by the Baltic German confectioner Georg Stude, who joined it to the building on the adjacent lot. It began to produce hand-crafted marzipan figurines and chocolate sweets and cakes, and a café was opened. It is like that to this day.

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From Peter I with love

Did you know that if Peter I had conquered Tallinn as early as 1703, St Petersburg would not have been built?

At the behest of Peter I, an Italianate Baroque palace and garden, something that was unique in the Nordic countries, was built at Kadriorg as a summer residence for the czars. In addition to the renowned Italian architect, Nicola Michetti, Czar Peter I was personally involved in the design of the palace. The entire palace and the park that surrounds it bears the name of the czar’s consort, Catherine I.

In the twentieth century, the palace was the home of the first president of the Republic of Estonia, and for some decades afterwards it belonged to the Art Museum of Estonia. Currently, the palace houses exhibits which showcase Western European art, with the highlights being a collection of art from the Low Countries, a collection of Germany prints, and Russian art from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries.

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James Bonds camera from Estonia

Did you know that the world’s most famous mini camera, Minox, was invented in Estonia?

The story of the invention of the mini camera dates to the World War II Estonia where the inventor of the camera, a Baltic German by the name of Walter Zapp, lived as a young man.

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