5 things you will only find in Estonia
From an underwater prison to a sports competition where people compete to perform a full 360° loop on a swing, Estonia is always amazing. Here are 5 things that you will only find in Estonia, or almost, because you can't be sure without knowing every country in the world in depth, yet these are quite unusual things.
1. A submerged prison
In the past, the small village of Rummu used to be associated with an infamous criminal institution of forced labor, where 7000 extracted prisoners limestone. To prevent the ever-deeper quarry from being flooded, water was pumped in day and night.
About a decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the process of relocating the prisoners and closing the quarry began. When the prison was abandoned, there was no need to continue pumping the water, and the quarry, which was slowly filling up with water, eventually became a lake that flooded the abandoned buildings, machinery, trees, and the entire infrastructure.
It is a hidden paradise of beautiful views, and refreshing waters where you can swim. There are also activities such as stand-up paddle boarding, diving, snorkeling and there is a bar on the beach (not surprising, it's Estonia!)
2. More women than men
For every 100 women in Estonia, there are 87 men – only the Northern Mariana Islands, the United States territory in the Pacific with a population of about 50,000, has a lower percentage of men. However, this difference only begins from the age of 55 because Estonian women live on average almost 10 years longer than men.
In 1950 approximately 57% of the population was female, while 43% was male. The reason for the large number of men who were killed in wars during the first half of the 20th century. That number was particularly high throughout the Soviet Union. Additionally, life expectancy among women was much higher.
The life expectancy of men is expected, since they are more at risk and are typically employed in physically demanding and unhealthy jobs. There is also a higher incidence of unhealthy lifestyles among men, such as alcohol consumption and smoking.
3. Mixed German, Scandinavian and Russian cuisine
Throughout its history, Estonia has been occupied by several countries – Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and Russia – which eventually influence its cuisine, among many other aspects.
So, what is the typical food of Estonia? Estonian food is plentiful, healthy and abounds in seasonal flavors.
Historically, the Estonian food is based on pork, chicken, fish, sausage, and sauerkraut. Potatoes add a generous dose of carbohydrates that warm the body in winter. Sour cream is served with almost everything. There is a wide variety of delicious sweets, eg, sweet rolls, chocolate, and marzipan.
Other favorites are black bread, black pudding, kama (a mix of roasted barley, rye, oat, and pea flour), meat jelly, and a variety of porridges and soups.
4. Free public transportation in the capital
Since the beginning of January 2013, Tallinn is the first capital city in the European Union to offer free public transportation to its residents.
To be entitled to use public transport freely in Tallinn, its residents have to purchase a “green card” (€2) and customize it. People from outside Tallinn can also buy the "green card", which allows them to buy credit to use public transport.
Since the implementation of free public transportation, there was a significant increase in the number of registered residents in Tallinn.
5. The village swing
A village swing is a large swing designed for several adults traditionally built on communal village areas.
The practice of swinging has been present in Estonian culture for a long time, but its origin is unknown.
The sport swing was invented in Estonia in 1993, in which people compete to perform a full 360° loop on that swing.
This practice is also part of the traditions on the eve of the summer solstice (the night of June 23rd).
One thing more interesting than the other, isn't it? Which of these things have you seen in any other country or in Estonia itself? Tell us in the comments. Or even better, which one made you want to visit this wonderful country?
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