There are many well-known member countries of the European Union, but one of the smallest and lesser known is Estonia. There is an expansive history in Estonia, with proof of humans living there over 10,000 years ago. Similar to other Northern European countries, there is evidence of Vikings that roamed the land and sailed the seas 1,000 years ago. Estonia is one of most northern countries in Europe, South of only the Baltic Sea and Finland. It is bordered by only two other countries, Latvia and Russia. Throughout the long history of Estonia, and in Europe, historical wars and changing powers has led to many different political leaders in Estonia. Many other European powers took control over Estonia throughout modern history. Finally, in 1991, Estonia declared independence and has had a stable government system since then.
1. Estonia Has Some of the Cleanest Air in The World
Because the trees and forests cover almost 50% of the land, the air in Estonia is considered one of the top cleanest air countries. The forests and trees help process the carbon that goes into the air and filters it into fresh air to breathe. Because there are so many trees and very few sources of air pollution in Estonia, the air gets filtered cleanly all year, a fun fact about Estonia. There are over 90 native species of trees in Estonia, Iicluding Christmas trees, known as the Evergreen Conifer.
2. There are Over 1,500 Islands Off of the Coast of Estonia
A geographic feature that is very rare to find in such a small country is the amazing amount of islands off the coast of Estonia in the Baltic sea. Many of the islands are uninhabited because they are so small, but other islands have become popular spots for fishing companies and shipping across the Baltic Sea. These islands were especially important to the history of Estonia because they were home to many of the Vikings in ancient history.
3. There Is Plenty of Open Space to Live
Unlike some of the largest cities around the world with large population and small spaces, Estonia is the opposite. There is a total population of about 1.3 million people in the entire country. While it is a small country, reports show that there is only about 32 people per square kilometer, a fun fact about Estonia. In New York City, there are over 38,000 people per square kilometer.
4. In Winter, there is Not Much Sunlight
In the winter time in Estonia, the country gets very little sunlight. The daytime gets shorter and shorter close to the winter solstice. Because of Estonia is closer to the North Pole than most countries, it gets very cold in the winter time and experiences a lot of snow. Without the sun shining for many hours, it can be even colder and darker for most of the day in the middle of winter. It is recorded that the shortest amount of sunlight in one day can go below five hours. However, near the summer solstice, Estonia can receive over 18 hours of sunlight in one day.
5. This Country is Home to Giants!
Some research has proven that the citizens of Estonia are the third tallest in the world, behind only Latvia and the Netherlands. The average height for a man in Estonia is 181cm and average height for women is 175cm. A previous country census determined that Estonia is home to many people working as international supermodels, an interesting fact about Estonia. Their tall height might be one quality that helps them find success in this career.
6. Internet Access Is Everywhere
When the internet was created, it became widely popular in Estonia. Now, it is common to be able to access high-speed internet from nearly anywhere inside the country, even in the middle of a forest. Large towers transmit wireless internet signals that people can connect to at almost any location. The Wi-Fi service provided is free for everyone to use. The internet is so important, that many school teach computer etiquette so students can develop a variety of computer skills. The software company Skype was founded by Estonians. The citizens can also vote for their elections online, a system that many other countries are still developing today.
7. There is an Influential Russian Culture Connection
Besides native Estonian citizens, one quarter of the population is Russian immigrants. Because of this large portion of the population being Russian, many cultural practices are shared between the two. Russian is the second most spoken language in Estonia. It is common for people to speak both Estonian and Russian. Holiday traditions are shared by both cultures. Due to their close distance, Russia and Estonia share a lot of common cultural practices, but practices from other parts of Russia can be a more unique influence on Estonia.
8. Estonians Hold on to Their Ancient Heritage
Through arts such as song and dance, Estonia remains tied to the ancient Nordic influence. The style of traditional festival clothing and foods has been passed down through many generations. The style of their homes and farmhouses has modernized on the interior, but on the outside, they appear to have a historic design. Wooden log cabins are a common home design, an interesting fact about Estonia. Many of the cities in Estonia are some of the longest preserved Medieval sites in Europe.
Estonia may be one of the smallest countries in Europe and in the whole world, but the people there have a very unique way of life. Life in Estonia is quite quiet because of the small population, but that leaves a lot of personal space for each person to enjoy. The beautiful forest and ocean landscapes of Estonia are preserved by the government, so there are not a lot of large buildings blocking natural views. Technology and modernization has influenced Estonia greatly, but still the people hold tight to their ancient cultural history. Maintaining historical locations and art forms makes Estonia one of the most interesting places to visit in Europe to experience how life was many generations ago.
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