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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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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A mediaeval sepulchre in Tartu

Did you know that a mediaeval sepulchre may be visited in Tartu?

It all began in 2008, when archaeologist Martin Malve was investigating the cultural layer amongst the ruins of the Dome Cathedral and found a mediaeval tombstone.

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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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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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Your and our Tallinn

Did you know that the oldest capital city in the Baltic Sea region was in fact mostly inhabited and ruled by foreigners – Danes, Germans, Swedes, Russians – from the 13th to the 19th centuries, and Estonians could only begin to claim Tallinn as their own city from the 1920s?

There were most likely earlier Estonian settlements during the 11th and 12th centuries on the present day location of Tallinn – Estonian clans used the area of what is now the Tallinn as a marketplace, and they utilised the natural harbour and maintained a wooden fortress on Toompea hill. 1154 – Tallinn is first mentioned in historic records by Arab cartographer al-Idrisi (Tallinn as Qlwr, Kolyvan, Koluvan, Kalewen by Lindanäs/Lyndanise)

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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 Kingdom within the Republic

Did you know that the Kingdom of Setomaa lies Estonia’s southeast corner?

Living where East meets West, Seto people also call themselves the King’s people or a vool (free) people. The country is ruled by Peko, the Seto fertility god. On the first Saturday of August, King Peko calls together his people in Setomaa from everywhere and the Seto Kingdom is visited by the President of the Republic of Estonia, who is received by the ülembsootśka.

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Sport is good

Did you know that estonians are sport fanatics?

Estonians believe that sport is good, and great athletes always draw much public attention in these parts. Yes, both special sport stars and special sport events are held in esteem in Estonia!

Competing is within everyone’s powers! For example mosquito catching is gaining popularity as a sport. In 2011, Estonia even hosted the World Championships in this event. In this event, everyone can set records – whoever catches the most mosquitoes in two minutes wins!

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