Situated in the heart of old-world Eastern Europe, Estonia is packed between Latvia to the south and Russia to the east. To the north and west lie Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea. Estonia gained independence in 1918 after centuries of rule by various countries, only to be forced into incorporation in Russia in 1940. In 1991, after the Soviet break down, it gained independence again. It is now free to promote ties with the West, and is a member of both NATO and the EU.
Due to its location and long term Russian rule, there are elements of Nordic and Russian influences in every phase of Estonian life. The country’s economy is based on food products, engineering, and wood products. Fifteen percent of its GDP comes from tourism.
Tallinn is the seat of the government, and a well preserved mediaeval city, the ideal spot where past meets the present. Although new developments are in full swing, the Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The main attractions include the defence towers, the 1400s Gothic Town Hall, Toompea Castle, and Nevsky Cathedral. Abja-Paluoja, Antsla, Elva, Haapsalu, Jõgeva, and Jõhvi are some of the other cities of Estonia.
Estonia’s forests are a great lure for foreigners looking for outdoor activities. Summers bring 19 hours of daylight, known as “white nights”, and are great for camping enthusiasts. There are over three hundred campsites situated at different locations throughout Estonia.
Skiing is a popular winter sport and Estonia provides some great facilities. This is why the country was the venue for World Cup Cross-Country Skiing. The transport system and roads are in great shape, making getting around the country easy.
Political system: Parliamentary republic
Capital city: Tallinn
Total area: 45 000 km²
Official language: Estonian
Calling code: 372