Estonia

Tallin, Estonia

Flag of Estonia

 

 

 

 

 

Country Estonia
Continent The Baltic region of Northern Europe – – bordered on the North by the Gulf of Finland and to the West by the Baltic Sea (Link to map of the Baltic states.)
Capital Tallinn called the “medieval gem of Europe – preserved in its original form back to the 11th century (picture is the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral)
Population 1,258,545
Language Estonian is the official at 69%   Russian with 30%
Religion Estonians are ethnically and linguistically close to the Finns

Evangelical Lutheran and Russian Orthodox but most are unaffiliated

Terrain Lowland with numerous lakes, bogs, forests, rivers and 2222 islands, 5 national parks and a mild climate creating a natural habitat for many rare species of animals and birds

When the Baltic freezes roads are created from islands to mainland

Lake Peipus is important for both fishing and shipping

Natural resources include peat, clay, limestone, dolomite

Estonia is the world’s 2nd largest producer of oil shale

Mining, ship building, and manufacture of wood products are a large part of their economy

Sports Soccer, track and field, judo, chess, cycling, skiing, cross country,

Skype, and singing are all popular

Kiiking – a giant steel swing that rotates a full 360 degrees;

invented in Estonia

Kiiking, a sport invented in Estonia

Animals 65 species of mammals including lynx, wolf, bear, elk, beaver and the endangered European mink, 900 large butterfly species, 50 kinds of dragonflies, 8 different species of woodpeckers, 36 species of orchids

Excellent bird watching destination with about 340 natural species

17% of the country is protected with nature reserves

The flying squirrel can only be seen here and in Sweden

Facts of Interest Government is a parliamentary democracy

Estonia declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1990 and is a member of both the EU and NATO

Estonia is 2nd only to Ireland in folklore, stories, songs, legends, and history

A very internet-connected country including on-line voting since 2005

Excellent education with literacy rate of 99.8% – they learn computer programing in the 1st grade

Estonia signed the Kyoto Protocol which deals with protection of the environment

Concerns Their relationship with Russia is always problematic

Decline in population and in birth rate – – increase in average age over 60 and decrease in average under 19 – – big issue with unemployment

Increased drug availability

Mission The Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church belongs to the World Council of Churches but PC USA has minimal direct involvement here
Sources www.infoplease.com; en.wikipedia.org; pc.usa.org