Today is Estonian Independence Day, so to all the Estonians out there, Happy Independence Day! Or as Lindsay’s mom who is 100 percent Estonian would say on Estonian Independence Day, “Head Iseseisvust!”
Also known as the Manifesto to the Peoples of Estonia (Manifest Eestimaa rahvastele), February 24 marks the founding act of the Republic of Estonia in 1918 in the aftermath of World War I and the Russian revolutions. The history is complex, and “independence” is a complicated subject in Estonian history, with multiple wars and alternating foreign occupations in the decades following the declaration. It wasn’t until 1991 that Estonia regained independence after the collapse of the USSR. They officially joined the European Union in 2004.
Where is It?
So you may be wondering, where IS Estonia anyhow? Estonia is a Baltic state in eastern Europe. It borders Latvia and Russia with a coastline on the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland. Estonia also has sea borders with Finland and Sweden.
Estonia: Know Before you Go
Estonia is a Baltic gem with coastlines peppered with glorious beaches, even though the swimming season is short. The Baltics are not renowned for warm weather – something that any visitor to Estonia must be aware of — the summer is short and the winter is severe.
The city most visited in Estonia, where there are great parties going on right now for Estonian Independence Day, is the capital city of Tallinn. Tallinn is a medieval town built by the Germans in Middle Ages and is in magnificent condition (see photos below), with the old city walls and towers almost completely intact. Tallinn is definitely one of Europe’s best old medieval towns.
But Estonia has much to offer in its unspoiled beauty outside of the capital city too. From a prestigious university at Tartu and the tranquil seaside town of Haapsalu to the vast park lands at Lahemaa and the hundreds of gorgeous islands off the coast (Muhu, Lindsay said, was a slice of heaven on Earth), Estonia should be on your summer European travel wish list.
It’s been a few years since Lindsay’s last visit to her ancestral land, but here we revisit through images the magic of Estonia as we celebrate her independence today.
Happy Estonian Independence Day!
All Photos by Lindsay Taub