The Baltic Review - Estonia
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Welcome to Estonia

Estonia, the Republic of Estonia, a country in the north-western part of Europe. Ukraine is washed by the waters of the north Gulf of Finland, in the west - the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga, borders with Latvia to the south and Russia - to the east. The coastal line of 3794 km. The structure is 1521 Estonian island in the Baltic Sea a total area of 4.2 thousand square meters. km. The largest of them - Saaremaa and Hiiumaa.


Estonia is situated in the East European Plain. Surface height is gradually increased from the coast and the Gulf of Riga in the east and south-east. Average surface height of 50 m above sea level Western parts of the island and have an average height of less than 20 m above sea level In the post-glacial time is stable lifting surface at approx. 1.5 m for 100 years, shallower coastal area, some islands are connected either to the mainland.

Prevalent in Western Estonia marine, abrasion, moraine and swampy plains. In the formation of the relief of Estonia has played a particularly important role of Pleistocene glacial activity. In the central and southern regions, along with moraine plains traced finite moraine ridges, eskers and drumlins chain ridges. In the southeast, the outputs of the Devonian sandstone dominated hilly moraine topography with elevation Haanja, where the highest point - Mount Suur Munamägi (318 m above sea level). To the south of it can be traced outwash plain, formed as a result of melted glacier water. In the north, on the surface there are limestone bedrock is Ordovician and Silurian, exposed in steep ledges (Glint) along the entire coast of the Gulf of Finland.


Estonia - the transition from maritime to continental. Winter - relatively mild summer - moderately warm. The average July temperature of approx. 16 ° C on the coast and approx. 17 ° C in the interior of the country, with an average February temperature range from -4 ° C to o.Saaremaa to -8 ° C in Narva, in the north-east. Annual precipitation varies from 510 mm in the western islands of up to 740 mm in the most elevated parts of the southeast.


With a variety of source rocks, hydrological conditions and the conditions of the relief in Estonia formed mottled soil. So, in the south is dominated by sod-podzolic and sod-gley soils in the northern part - the typical turf-carbonate, leached sod-carbonate and ashed sod-calcareous soils, interspersed with patches of podzolic, podzolic bog and marsh soils. In the extreme north and northeast, there are areas of rocky podzolic soils. In general, wetlands soils occupy more than half the area of Estonia, and these marshes - approx. 22%.

Water resources.

Estonia has a dense river network. River North and West Estonia (Narva, Pirita, Kasari, Pärnu, etc.) flow directly into the bays of the Baltic Sea, and the rivers flow east Estonia have inland water bodies: Lake Võrtsjärv south (r.Pyltsamaa) and Chud (r.Emayygi ) and Pskov in the east. The longest river - Pärnu has a length of 144 km and flows into the Gulf of Riga Baltic Sea. The most abundant of the river - Narva, through which the flow is directed to Peipsi Gulf and Emajõgi. Navigable only r.Emayygi, and below the city of Tartu. During spring floods the water level in the rivers increases significantly (up to 5 m).

In Estonia, there are more than 1,150 lakes and more than 250 ponds. The lakes are mainly of glacial origin and occupy approx. 4.8% of the territory. Large lakes Peipus (or Peipsi) is located to the east and forms a natural and historic border with Russia. Peipsi area 3555 square meters. km, of which 1,616 square meters. km belong to Estonia. The largest inland body of water in Estonia - oz. Võrtsjärv - has an area of 266 square meters. km.


Estonia is situated in the zone of mixed coniferous-deciduous forests. Are few indigenous forests. The most fertile sod-calcareous soil, which once grew broadleaf forests, are currently engaged in arable lands. In general, under forest is approx. 48% of the country. The most characteristic tree species - pine, spruce, birch and fluffy, aspen and oak, maple, ash, elm, linden. As part of the undergrowth growing mountain ash, wild cherry, willow. More rarely, mostly in the west, in the undergrowth yew berry, wild apple, rowan Scandinavian and Aria, blackthorn, hawthorn.

Forests are the most common in the east of the country - in the central and southern Estonia, where they are mixed fir and spruce and deciduous forests. On sandy soils in the south-east of the country are growing pine forests. In Western Estonia is extensive peculiar landscape - a combination of upland meadows with patches of thin forests. In the north-west and north of the country is widespread meadow vegetation. Lowlands periodically flooded coastal strip occupied coastal meadows. It is common specific flora, transferring soil salinization.


A characteristic feature of Estonian society for many centuries was the lack of a national aristocracy. Estonians living in villages and on farms or were lower class urban population. Only in the late 19th century. there were intellectuals and the middle class. Prior to 1940 in Estonia in the population dominated peasants.


The first trade union associations emerged in Estonia in 1920-1930's, but their activities are heavily regulated by the state. In the Soviet period, the trade unions have played an important role in the life of the country, especially in the recreation workers. Trade unions have strong network of sanatoria, rest houses, guest houses, hostels. In the mid-1990s in Estonia was created independent Confederation of Estonian Trade Unions.

Religious life

In the 13-14 centuries., During the rule of Danish kings and Teutonic crusaders, Estonians had converted to Catholicism. In the 16. Estonia (Estonia) became Lutheran country, and at the head of the church until 1918 were the Germans. From the 18th century., After the Estonia to Russia, has spread and Orthodoxy. Since 1925, the church was separated from the state. During World War II the church suffered heavy personnel losses: approximately 85% of Lutheran pastors were deported to Siberia. In Soviet times, despite the official propaganda of atheism and control by the state and religious communities managed to survive. In the late 1980s, they played a role in the revival of Estonian identity.


Estonian culture has been shaped by a strong Scandinavian and German influence. Greatly influenced by the proximity to St. Petersburg, where he had been educated many prominent Estonian cultural figures.

Education system

An important achievement was the establishment of the first republic of the national education system, including higher education, teaching in Estonian. In Soviet times, it helped Estonians avoid assimilation speaking population.

In 1997, the primary and secondary schools in Estonia studied 224 thousand children and adolescents in vocational schools - 18.6 thousand students. Schools teaching in Estonian preferred 67% of students in Russian - 33%.

In 1998, 10 public institutions of higher education were trained Estonia 34.5 thousand students (of which 52% - women). The largest and most famous universities of the country - Tartu University (founded in 1632 - 7.4 thousand students), Tallinn Technical University (6.8 thousand students), Tallinn Pedagogical University (3.1 thousand students), the Estonian Academy of Agriculture in Tartu (2.8 thousand students), Tallinn University of the Arts (500 students) and the Estonian Academy of Music in Tallinn (500 students). 80% of students were taught in Estonian, and the rest - in Russian. During the years of independent development in the country there were dozens of private institutions.

Literature and art

The birth of the Estonian national literature refers to the beginning of the 19th century. A significant event in the development of Estonian literature is publication in 1857-1861 F.Kreytsvaldom national epic Kalevipoeg (Kalev). In the second half of the 19th century. was developed poetry. Among the best known poets L.Koydula purchased (which is also the founder of the Estonian Drama) A.Reynvald, M.Veske, M.Under and B.Alver. In the early 20th century. poet G.Suyts led cultural movement "Young Estonia". In Soviet times, poetry has played a particularly important role (and poets P.E.Rummo Ya.Kaplinsky) because less censored. The prose of the 20th century. greatest achievement is the Truth and justice A.Tammsaare (written in 1926-1933) - a five-volume epic novel about the life of Estonians in 1870-1920's. The most famous Estonian writer - Ya.Kross, historical novels that reveal the moral problems of Estonian society. In the era of glasnost much attention has been paid to the fate of the deported Estonians. In the drama of the 1960s had a special significance theater of the absurd, in particular, play Game Cinderella P.E.Rummo.

Folklore plays a major role in the new Estonian culture. A major part of oral literature was published in the late 19th century., At the beginning of the next century began his scientific research and analysis. Estonian folklore themes inspired writers, painters, sculptors, and musicians.

Among the founders of the Estonian national art are Y.Keler artist (1861 - member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts) and the sculptor A.Veytsenberg, artistic education abroad. Vocational training in the art of Estonia itself was made possible after the foundation in 1919 in Tartu Art School "Pallas". In 1960 the Estonian charts such as T.Vint, V.Tolli M.Leys and have been recognized outside the USSR.

Estonian tradition of song festivals - regularly scheduled choral collections from all over the country to perform in Tartu and Tallinn, had both cultural and political importance. Since 1869 held 22 national festival of folk songs (called song festival) in recent decades, the number of speakers was about 30 thousand people, and listeners and viewers - 200-300 thousand of Estonian composers of the 20th century. best known E.Tubin (1905-1982). The next generation is particularly talented A.Pyart (r.1935). World-renowned conductor N.Yarvi (r.1937), actively promotes Estonian music abroad, in 1980 he emigrated to the United States.

Museums, libraries and science

Estonian National Museum, established in 1909 in Tartu, has a rich collection of ethnographic materials and is the largest of 114 museums. In Estonia, there are approx. 600 libraries. The largest of them - the Tartu University Library (5 million volumes), the National Library in Tallinn (4.1 million volumes) and the Academic Library of Estonia in Tallinn (3.4 million volumes).

In the 1920-1930-s leading research center in the country was the University of Tartu, with special emphasis on research in the Estonian philology and literature, history, ethnography and medicine. In Soviet times, the major research centers are institutes of the Academy of Sciences of the Estonian SSR in Tallinn and Tartu. At present, the Academy of Sciences was reorganized into a personal Academy and its institutions transferred to universities.


A dense network of roads was established in Estonia still under Russian rule in the 19th century., And then expanded in the 20th century. Currently, 29.2 thousand km of roads are paved. The number of vehicles in private use is growing rapidly: in early 1994, Estonia had 211 cars per 1000 inhabitants, in 1997 - 428 cars per 1000 inhabitants.

Broad railway network has a length of 1018 km (not counting the ways to ensure specialized manufacturing shipments), of which only 132 km are electrified track. In 2001 the Estonian railways were privatized by local and foreign capital.

In Estonia operates gas pipeline more than 400 kilometers, linking plant to develop shale gas in Kohtla-Jarve with Tallinn, Tartu and other cities, as well as the Russian pipeline network.

Estonia has developed a year-round sea links. The main ports of the country: 6 ports in Tallinn, including a new cargo port Tallinn and Muuga Paldiski, Pärnu, Haapsalu and Kunda. Operates regular ferry to Helsinki and Stockholm. Merchant navy Estonia has 44 of a vessel over 1,000 gross tons each (total displacement of 253,460 gross tons). Summer, there is navigation on Lake Peipsi and the lower reaches of the estuary to r.Emayygi Tartu. In 2002 opens on the route Tartu - Pskov.

Developed, both domestic and international flights. Through Tallinn Airport offers flights to many European capitals and cities of the CIS.