written by Siiri Jaakson
The Republic of Estonia in numbers:
Area 45 000 km²
Total population 1,300 000
Population density: 30 people per km²
EU accession: May 1, 2004
The Estonian state language – Estonian
The population is divided: Estonians: 67,9%, Russians: 25,6%, Ukrainians: 2,1%, Byelorussians: 1,3%
This year, 2019, Estonia celebrates its 101st birthday. The celebration of independence is very important for Estonians because the nation has lost its independence under the Soviet rule.
Estonian Restoration of Independence
In 1940 the Baltic states were occupied by the Soviet Union.
Since inclusion in the USSR in 1940, the inhabitants of the Baltic states were forced to live under the dictatorship of the Communist Party where freedom of thought and speech was restricted.
At 19:00 on 23 August 1989 approximately two million inhabitants of the Baltic states joined hands forming a human chain from Tallinn through Riga to Vilnius.
The people joined their hands to form The Baltic Way spanning 675.5 kilometers across the three Baltic states – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, which were considered at the time to be constituent republics of the Soviet Union.
The Baltic Way was organized by the national movements of the Baltic states. It proved that faith in democratic ideas unifies the inhabitants of the Baltic states. A sense of brotherhood, unity and a common goal strengthened by such a campaign became an important factor of political participation which led to the restoration of independence of the Baltic states.
The Singing Revolution is the poetic name for patriotic mass meetings in Estonia during 1988-1991. There the common singing of patriotic songs was an important feature.
The Singing Revolution played an extremely important role in regaining Estonia’s independence, expressing the sentiment and attitude of the people and thus influencing both the local and the Kremlin authorities.
The term ‘singing revolution’ is also used to generalize the important role of patriotic songs in the similar processes of regaining of independence in Latvia and Lithuania during the same time period.
The Estonian Song Festival is one of the largest amateur choral events in the world, a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. It is held every five years in July on the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds (Lauluväljak) simultaneously with the Estonian Dance Festival. The joint choir has comprised more than 30,000 singers performing to an audience of 80,000.
Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It is located on the northern coast of the country, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland. From the 13th century until 1918 (and briefly during the Nazi occupation of Estonia from 1941 to 1944), the city was known as Reval.
Tallinn occupies an area of 159.2 km2 and has a population of 453,033.
It is not easy to determine the beginning of Tallinn history. The location probably attracted attention as a suitable port area long before the first written sources mention a settlement there. However, historians have is archaeological data of the settlement.
Tallinn has been under the rule of:
- King of Denmark and German Order
- Swedish Crown
- Under Russian State
Tallinn was the Capital of the Republic of Estonia in 1918-1940.
Tallinn as an old Hansa city has had a very strong influence on who Estonians are today. Tallinn is also famous for its silhouette from the sea. And sprats (small fish) brought fame to Tallinn all over the world. Sprats were considered as a business long time ago. In 1826, salesmen sold nearly 40,000 kilos of sprats to St. Petersburg.
Tallinn’s best-known view, called “Sprat Can“-silhouette, was conserved already at the beginning of the 20th century. The silhouette what you can see on the can of sprats today has remained unchanged since 1970.
Welcome to Tallinn!