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About Estonia

Estonia (Eesti)

Full country name: the Republic of Estonia
Capital: Tallinn
Population: 1 313 271 (01.01.2015)
Head of state: President of the Republic - Toomas Hendrik Ilves
Official language: Estonian
Public order: parliamentary democracy
Area: 45 227 km²
Administrative regions: 15 counties
Coastline: 3794 km
Currency: euro
Time zone: UTC+2
People: Estonians (69%), Russians (26%) and Ukrainians (2,1%)
Religion: Christian (Lutheranism and Orthodoxy)
National holiday: February 24 (Independence Day)
Borders: 633 km total, 339 km with Latvia the South and 294 km with Russia in the East. Estonia is separated from Finland the north by the Gulf of Finland and from Sweden in the west by the Baltic Sea.

Geography and climate
Estonia is situated in Northern Europe, on the coast of the Baltic Sea and is slightly bigger than Belgium, Denmark and The Netherlands. 47,6% of the Estonian territory is covered with forests and woodland. Estonia is a sea country - the length of coastline (3794 km) is about 6 times longer than the mainland borders.
Estonia lies at almost the same latitude as Southern Alaska, but thanks to the influence of the Gulf Stream the climate is mild. The average temperature of the coldest month, February, is –3.5° to – 7 °C and may sink to -20°C; that of the warmest, July, being 16 to 20°C and may rise to +30°C .
Estonia has more than 1 500 islands, 1 000 lakes (5 per cent of the Estonian territory), 7 000 rivers and streams. Bogs and wooded swamplands of different types cover over one fifth of the country . The deepest lake is Rõuge Suurjärv (38m). The longest river is the Pärnu (144 km). Major lakes are Lake Peipsi (3555 km2, of which 1529 km2 lies within Estonia) and Võrtsjärv (266 km).

The highest point in Estonia is Suur Munamägi (Great Egg Hill), whose tip is 318 metres above sea level. Estonians are proud of this highest point and the pride is justified - Suur Munamägi is in fact the highest point in the Baltic region.
Estonia is very rich in forests - various kinds of forests cover almost half of Estonia's territory. Elk, wild boar, bear and lynx are amongst Estonia's common large mammals. About 10 per cent of Estonia is a nature reserve.

Environmental protection
Environmental protection and nature conservation have long traditions in Estonia, while sustainable development is a relatively new trend. Estonia was one of the first countries in the world to adopt the Sustainable Development Act in 1995, whilst the first bird sanctuary was established on the Vaika Islets as early as 1910. Protected areas (national parks and others) cover about one tenth of Estonia´s territory. There are 5 national parks in Estonia:
- Karula National Park
- Lahemaa National Park
- Matsalu National Park
- Soomaa National Park
- Vilsandi National Park

The people
About one third of the population (411 594) lives in Tallinn, the capital. Even when living in towns, Estonians are still close to the country.
Ethnically and linguistically, Estonians belong to the Finno-Ugric peoples, along with the Finns and Hungarians.
You'll find Estonians to be friendly and even-tempered. At first sight they may seem quiet and placid. Yet, Estonians love good humour, enjoy travelling, value friendship and appreciate the "can do" spirit. Therefore, you can expect to find an Estonian anywhere in the world - even on the highest mountaintops or studying an Antarctic ice field.
The reputation of Estonians as a singing nation is illustrated by the traditional song festivals.
The main religion is Lutheran, there are also Orthodox, Baptists and others.

Political system
Estonia is a parliamentary republic. The Parliament (Riigikogu) has 101 members elected for a period of 4 years. Voting age is 18. Resident non-citizens are eligible to vote at local government elections. The head of state is the President, elected by the Riigikogu for a five-year term. The head of government, the Prime Minister, is appointed by the President and approved by the Riigikogu.

Administrative division
Estonia is divided into 15 counties, 207 rural municipalities, and 47 towns. Major cities are Tallinn (411 594 citizens), Tartu (100 577), Narva (73 831), Kohtla-Järve (51 931), Pärnu (51 357).
Counties: Harjumaa, Hiiumaa, Ida-Virumaa, Järvamaa, Jõgevamaa, Läänemaa, Lääne-Virumaa, Pärnumaa, Põlvamaa, Raplamaa, Saaremaa, Tartumaa, Valgamaa, Viljandimaa, Võrumaa.

Some facts about Estonian History

3000 B.C - Estonian ancestors settle along the Baltic coast;
800-1100 A.D - Raids by Vikings, including Estonians;
1219 - Danes take North Estonia; first foreign occupation;
1227 - Riga-based German crusaders conquer and Christianize pagan Estonia; Germans become landed gentry and influence life in Estonia for 700 years;
1561 - Swedes conquer Estonia;
1710 - Russia conquer Estonia;1870 - Tallinn becomes a major port;
1918 - Estonians declare independence, beat German and Soviet armies;
1940 - Estonia is occupied again by Soviet Union;
1991 - August 20 , the impossible dream of restoring independence comes true literally overnight.

The biggest cities

One of the best-retained medieval European towns is Tallinn, with its web of winding cobblestone streets, which developed in the 11th to 15th centuries, preserved nearly in its entirety. The Old Town of Tallinn has been inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List.

Tallinn is a magnet for the entire country, incorporating 28 per cent of the whole population; when the population of surrounding Harju county is taken into account, the percentage rises to 37. A major part of the financial and governmental sector is situated in Tallinn; a qualified workforce has a better chance to find a high-paying job there.

In Tallinn there are many attractions what you have to discover:

- The Old Town with it's medieval milieu and structure;

- Tallinn Town Hall - the best-preserved medieval town hall in Northern Europe;

- St. Olav's Church - was the tallest church in Medieval Europe (159 m high, now 124 m);

- Toompea Castle - one of Estonia’s oldest and grandest architectural groupings;

- Kadriorg Palace and Park - palace surrounded with park was built as a summer residence for the tsar’s family (1718);

- Convent of St. Bridget - was the largest convent of Old Livonia.

Tartu, as the oldest Estonian town noted in historical chronicles, has been the most important South Estonian centre since the 13th century. Its role increased further with the establishment of Academia Gustaviana University in 1632. In addition to the university, and partly on its basis, several other important educational establishments have been founded in Tartu: the Estonian Agricultural University, the Military College of the Estonian Defence Forces, and the Baltic Defence College. Tartu can be primarily considered Estonian university town and the centre of science, culture and education and it has also always been the most significant centre of commerce in South Estonia.

North-East Estonian industrial towns

Significant North Estonian centre consists of north-eastern industrial towns, situated quite compactly along the Tallinn–Narva–St Petersburg road (Narva, Jõhvi, Kohtla-Järve, Sillamäe, Kiviõli, Püssi). The shaping of the town network was significantly influenced by oil-shale mining and advancements in the industry in this region. The area contains power stations, oil-shale processing plants, chemical plants, and also enterprises of electronics, light and food industries. During the Soviet period, the workforce was brought in from other republics of the Soviet Union. As a result, the local population is mostly Russian-speaking: in East Virumaa, the percentage of non-Estonians is 81, in Kohtla-Järve, 80 and in Narva, 96 percent.


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Täna, 14. märtsil 2017 tähistab MTÜ Wwoof Eesti oma 10. sünnipäeva. Palju õnne kõigile organisatsiooni liikmetele, vabatahtlikele ning mahetaludele!


Wwoof Eesti pere soovib kõikidele vabatahtlikele ning talunikele õnnelikku ja veelgi mahedamat uut aastat!

Emakeelepäeval, 14. märtsil 2016 täitus Wwoof Eestil 9. tegevusaasta.

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