A proud nation, Estonia has a lot to offer, and Estonians are eager to share their culture, language, and country with tourists of all nationalities.
Visiting Tallinn, Estonia (otherwise referred to as e-Estonia for their contributions to the technology world) was like stepping into a fairy tale and a time machine all in one. A very young country, Estonia finally gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and is full of culture, pride, and life. Upon arrival, we first visited the amphitheater where the Estonian song festival occurs every five years. During Soviet rule, Estonians would gather to sing nationalistic songs, and this song festival is what fostered the resistance movement that led to their independence.
We also visited the Soviet Olympic village where the sailing events occurred in the 1980 Olympics. Many countries boycotted these games since Estonia was under Russian rule and was not yet a country. We really got an idea of how oppressed these people were under Soviet rule, and many Estonians described what a privilege it was to finally interact with westerners during the games.
Some of the locals shared with us that they did not have bananas or coffee before Estonia gained their independence because they are considered “western foods”
We toured the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the parliament, and even walked past the EU IT Agency headquarters in Tallinn. We learned that when Estonia gained their independence from Russia, they were inspired by how behind they were technologically from the rest of the world. In 16 short years, Estonians have far surpassed world leaders in technology, and their achievements include the creation of Skype and being the first country to allow online voting in national elections- their citizens even file their tax returns online. The government believes that access to internet is a human right, and free Wifi is extremely easy to find wherever you go.
The highlights of our time in Tallinn also included spending a great deal of time in the charming old town square, where we saw the world’s oldest pharmacy and the oldest marzipan bakery. We wandered through Catherine’s Passage, enjoyed traditional Estonian food, and even saw a traditional Medieval concert.
Needless to say, you must add this charming and historical city of Tallinn to your bucket list.
Have you ventured to Tallinn? What did you love most about this charming city?