Traditional and unique housing

Did you know that Estonians’ traditional housing is unique in the world?

The mighty building, merging with nature, accommodated nearly the entirety of a farmer’s household under the one roof; it is not without reason that the popular designation of a farmhouse was multivalent: elu (life). Outside Estonia, this kind of distinctive dwelling is only common in the areas of the former Governorate of Livonia, in North Latvia.

Read more

Peaceful place for great Russians

Did you know that for centuries world-famous figures from Russian culture and society have enjoyed spending time in peaceful Estonia?

Andrei Tarkovsky shot his Stalker in Tallinn, Piotr Tchaikovsky went on holidays to Haapsalu, Fyodor Dostoyevsky nurtured his health in ‘Revel’s baths’, Pushkin’s great-grandfather Abraham Hannibal taught mathematics in Pärnu, and Alexandr Solzhenitsyn wrote The Gulag Archipelago in his friend’s home outside Tartu. Of the various possessions of his state, Peter I, Russia’s first Emperor, it is Estonia that he visited most often.

Read more

A cousin of the Eiffel Tower in Hiiumaa

Did you know that Tahkuna Lighthouse is a cousin of the Eiffel Tower in Paris?

Russia commissioned Tahkuna Lighthouse based on what had been seen at the 1871 World Exposition in Paris. The cast-iron plates of the enclosure were cast in Paris in 1873/1874 and were subsequently erected on a small island named Hiiumaa, which at the time was under the control of imperial Russia. It was said that some parts of the lighthouse were manufactured by the company that also produced the Eiffel Tower.

Read more

When a child talks?

Did you know that a child talks when a chicken takes a pee?

In times gone by, a well-behaved child had first and foremost to be quiet and polite. What have young artists aged between just fourteen and nineteen got to say these days?

Tallinn plays host to Eksperimenta!, a unique triennial of contemporary art by school-age youngsters.

Read more

The model for the world – Luscher & Matiesen

Did you know that in the 1930s the model for the world’s juice industry was set by the fresh juices made by Luscher & Matiesen in Tallinn?

In 1934, Dimitri Matiesen began to produce unfermented and unpasteurised fruit and berry juice for his uncle’s winery. In 1936, a congress on unfermented juices was held in Berlin, with 22 countries participating and the world’s renowned experts and specialist researchers repeatedly citing Luscher & Matiesen’s achievements as an example for others.

Read more

The lake formed by the tears of a woman

Did you know that there is a lake right beside Tallinn Airport that was formed by the tears of a woman?

One of the best known sites of tradition is Linda’s Stone in Lake Ülemiste, dropped by Linda – mother of Estonians’ mythical national hero, the strongman Kalevipoeg – who shed a lake of tears around it.

Tallinn, which presses up against the lake, however, must never be completed – or else, the Old Man of Ülemiste living in the lake will flood the whole city. Estonia’s landscape abounds in wonderful and interesting stories, which you can learn more about at the Estonian Folklore Archives or by using the various databases compiled by folklorists, which are available at www.folklore.ee/ebaas.

Read more

The first refracting telescope

Did you know that the world’s first modern refracting telescope is housed in the Tartu Observatory? By using it, the distance of Earth from another star was determined for the first time.

This Fraunhofer refractor was purchased for the Observatory in 1824, and its setup, or design, became immediately known as the “German structure” around the world. From 1824 to 1839, it was the world’s biggest and best telescope of this type, and with minor modifications would enjoy general use for another hundred years.

Read more

The world’s all-time longest …

Did you know that the world’s all-time longest wrestling match, lasting 11 hours and 40 minutes, was held by Estonian Martin Klein and Finn Alfred Asikainen at the Stockholm Olympic Games in 1912?

The match between Klein and Asikainen in the under-75kg finals (which consisted of three participants) began at 10:30 in the morning and ended at 10:10 at night with Martin Klein’s victory. Neither Klein nor Asikainen were capable of continuing the match, and so the Swede Claes Johanson, the third to make it to the finals, became the Olympic champion. Martin Klein is shown in a white singlet.

Read more

The world’s biggest repository of intangible national culture

Did you know that the world’s biggest repository of intangible national culture is the National Library of Estonia? Limestone is Estonia’s national stone.

If all 1.3 million inhabitants of Estonia wished to use printed publications that are kept at the National Library at the same time, we could provide everyone with least two of them. All the literature published in Estonia is there.

Read more