Aphrodisiacs, arousing love and passion

Did you know that orchids in Estonian folk tradition are known for being aphrodisiacs, arousing love and passion?

Orchids are thought to symbolise allure, resilience, and rare and fragile beauty. They are the subject of numerous legends and beliefs to this day. Common spotted-orchid, Dactylorhiza fuchsii.

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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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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.

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Open Air Museum

Did you know that Tallinn has one of Estonia’s oldest wooden churches?

Located at the Estonian Open Air Museum, Sutlepa Chapel is one of two wooden churches to have survived in Estonia from Swedish times. Originally located in the Village of Sutlepa in Lääne County, the chapel is mentioned in archival sources as early as 1627, while the year on the outside of the door frame is 1699.

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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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Space-faring nation

Did you know that Estonia is a space-faring nation?

Completed as a result of collaboration between the University of Tartu and Tartu Observatory, the ESTCube-1 student satellite flew into orbit on board Vega, the newest launcher of the European Space Agency (ESA) on 7 May 2013.

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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.

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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.

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Extremely endangered species

Did you know that the only place in the world to have succeeded in propagating and preserving three extremely endangered fern species from the island of Kaua’i (Hawaiian Islands) is Tallinn Botanic Garden?

There, you can enjoy one of the biggest plant collections in the Baltic States.

Once a year, the Queen of the Night entrances visitors with its beauty.

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