The early ancestors of the Estonians arrived on the shores of the Baltic Sea soon after the end of the ice age, about 9,000 BC. By 800 AD, the traditional Estonian villages with their communities had already formed. Many villages from those times are still inhabited.

Estonia regained its independence in 1991 with the so-called singing revolution, which was based on the song festival tradition that began in 1869. Today, Estonia has a population of 1.3 million and is one of the smallest countries in Europe. Nevertheless, or because of its small size, the country is a prosperous and progressive state that belongs to the European Union and NATO.

Estonian flags flutter behind the singing girls
Smoke coming out from sauna, on the summery green lake shore.
Peoples are walking in the snowy road

Estonians are proud of their folk traditions and culture. The song festival gathers thousands of participants every year and folk dance skills are also enthusiastically maintained. Traditions also coexist with modernity: the patterns of national costumes are seen in fashion and the folk music traditions are often heard on radio waves. Folk tales and beliefs also live strong in Estonia.

The most significant legacy of the ancient culture of Estonians is runosong, an orally inherited form of folk songs. Even today, runosong can be heard on the island of Kihnu and in the Seto area, on the border with south-eastern Estonia.

About half of Estonia’s area is forest, and as many as 69% of Estonians believe that trees have a soul. Respect for nature is deeply rooted in Estonians, and trees and land are considered to contain power that is highly valued. The forest has always been the source of life, and in the ancient religion of Estonia it was considered a sacred place where the ancestors of modern Estonians went to worship the spirits of the forest. Even today, Estonians know how to enjoy nature and take advantage of its resources.
Data collected from Visit Estonia