The Oldest Theatre

Did you know that every Estonian goes to the theatre at least once a year? Why? A powerful and time-old belief persists that Estonians’ lives can be made more substantial by going to see theatrical performances.

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Where meteorites drop down

Did you know that the first scientifically proven meteorite impact craters in Europe are located in Estonia?

Here, meteorite impact craters number approximately 400 times the average on Earth. Saaremaa has Estonia’s biggest natural rarity, the Kaali Crater, the meteorite origin of which was the first to be proven in Europe and the second in the world after the Arizona craters in the United States.

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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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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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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.

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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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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.

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Good mud in Haapsalu

Did you know that scientific research into curative mud began in Haapsalu?

For centuries, locals had been soaking their sore limbs in sea mud heated by the sun or in the sauna. Under the leadership of the Haapsalu physician Carl Abraham Hunnius, the first mud treatment establishment was set up in Haapsalu in 1825. To this day, Estonia’s oldest resort is famous for its healing sea mud.

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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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