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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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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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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The trade all the way to Arabia

Did you know that trade in goods on the Gulf of Finland has been going on as long ago as prehistoric times, reaching all the way to Arabia?

The ancient trade in goods is suggested by silver hoards found in our soil. Present-day architecture is testimony to the bootleg spirits that enriched coastal folk in the early 20th century.

In the early 20th century, prohibition was in effect in Finland, the USSR, Iceland, Norway, Hungary and the United States. All those countries saw the trade of illegal alcohol flourish. The smuggling that spread on the Gulf of Finland resulted in an improvement in the standard of living for coastal folk in both Estonia and Finland.

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Hotel Viru and the KGB

Did you know that once upon a time, there was a hotel called Viru.

The year was 1972 and a little less than 20 years remained until the end of the Soviet era. The hotel for foreigners also had to suit the national security body – the KGB …

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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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One city in two countries

Did you know that Estonia has a city that spans more than one country? That city is Valga / Valka. We share the city amicably with Latvia.

Valga in the early 20th century

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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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