Estonia’s Centenary Celebration

March 2nd, 2018

Centennial celebrations commence in Estonia's capital city of Tallinn this February.

The month of February marks 100 years since the Republic of Estonia first declared independence from Russian forces after the disintegration of the Russian Empire. The small country is located on the edge of the Baltic Sea north of the shores of Finland, east of Russia’s border, and south of Latvia. The country’s dynamic landscape features Baltic beaches and inspiring wilderness, ancient medieval castles and historic cobblestone streets. The lush countryside supports wildlife such as brown bears, moose, and lynxes, while the historic center of the capital city of Tallinn shines with red-tiled rooftops and colorful Gothic architecture.

Tallinn is famous for its vibrantly colored buildings and red rooftops.

Even after years of Soviet rule, Estonia has moved away from the shadow once enveloped by the Soviet blanket of the Eastern European continent with confidence, leaping closer to Western Europe in its politics. The geography and history of the nation are related to Latvia and Lithuania. Linguistically, Estonia is more similar to Finland, but years of Soviet rule have separated the cultures of Estonia and Finland.

There has never been a better time to visit; in honor of the centennial, Estonia is hosting an unprecedented number of cultural events and national initiatives emerging as a global party. Locally, each village and town will have the opportunity to act as the birthday host and may revel in whatever way the community sees fit. The Estonia 100 festivities will officially commence after a flag raising ceremony held on February 24th, Independence Day. The country’s blue, black, and white flag will fly high above Tall Hermann Tower in the country’s capital of Tallinn, as it first did in 1918.

Forests blanket over 50 percent of beautiful Estonia.

If you prefer landscapes and wilderness, consider strolling through the natural beauty of Estonia; forests cover more than 50 percent of the country. Be sure to visit the stunning lakes, rivers, and coastline at Lahemaa National Park and the preserved architecture and riverfront charms of the country’s spiritual capital at Tartu.

The Estonian National Museum opened a photography exhibition entitled, “Estonia Through 100 Pairs of Eyes,” to capture the essence of Estonia through time. Each picture shares a different point of view of the country’s story. Educational and science events focus on the children and youth with two new student satellites planned to launch. Radio transmitters will be built into schools so students can track the progress of the satellites. Culinary events range from the grand recipe for Estonia’s birthday cake to delicious foods featured at Estonian Restaurant Week.

Visitors roam the historical center of Tallinn.

Theater and art programs reflect abundant culture with plays, art walks, and seminars about the plans and construction of the public spaces around the major towns and cities of Estonia. Estonia has commissioned several musical programs that began on December 31st, 2017 with a large-scale concert in Tallinn’s Freedom Square. In the summer, string quintets will perform outside railways stations across the country ending in galas at Tartu Railway Station and Balti Jaam Station in Tallinn.

The festivities venture beyond Estonia with cultural celebrations observing the centenary around the world. Tel Aviv will host an Estonian-Israeli music festival, and Germany will offer an exhibition of Paul Kuimet in Berlin’s WNTRP Gallery. Australia plans to entertain crowds with E STuudio Youth Choir’s Grand Tour. An exhibition dedicated to the 16th-century Estonian Renaissance artist Michel Sittow is on display in the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., United States. Events will continue to take place in Estonia and around the globe until the end of 2018. The two most active celebratory weeks take place between February 19th to 25th 2018, commemorating the first declaration of independence, and August 18th to 25th 2018, honoring the restoration of Estonian independence.

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