10 suprising places in Estonia

Text: Visit Estonia Photos: Aron Urb, Danel Rinaldo, Julia Stantsik, Rasmus Jurkatam / Visit Estonia Published: 18 / September / 2018

Estonia is home to some of the most stunning natural and man-made wonders in Europe, if not the world. Get to know some of the biggest, tallest, oldest and best preserved local sights.

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Office in Tallinn. Photo: Rasmus Jurkatam / Visit Estonia

#1 Most unique stadium

Few sports stadiums can say they have a world-famous tree growing in the middle of the field, but this is the case at The Orissaare Stadium. During construction of the stadium, nothing could uproot the giant oak tree that stood in the way so the stadium was simply built around it.

#2 Most spas per capita

The Estonian island of Saaremaa has earned the nickname “Spaaremaa” for its great number of wellness facilities. With only 14,000 residents, the island’s largest town Kuressaare has the capacity for up to 1,200 spa guests which makes it one of the most spa-dense places in the world.

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Aqua spa in Rakvere. Photo: Aron Urb / Visit Estonia

#3 Tartu’s leaning art museum

The Tartu Art Museum is Estonia’s most tilted building. Leaning at an angle of 5.8 degrees, the three-storey stone building is even more slanted than Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa.

#4 Tallest pine trees

The tallest pine tree in the world is in Põlva County, in Southern Estonia. It measures 46.6 metress tall and is estimated to be 214 years old. Right beside this massive tree is the world’s tallest spruce, coming in at 48.6 metress and the ripe, old age of 202 years old.

#5 Best preserved Stalinist architecture

The town of Sillamäe was home to a uranium production plant in the 1940s and 1950s, during which many buildings were constructed in the Stalinist architectural style. The central square, boulevard, staircase and administration buildings follow the strict symmetrical aesthetic of the period.

#6 Estonia’s largest fortress

Hermann Castle and its fortress complex in Narva on Estonia’s eastern border began in the 13th century as a stronghold to defend territory controlled by Danes. Hermann Castle overlooks the Narva river, directly across from the Ivangorod fortress on the Russian bank.

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Hermann Castle in Narva. Photo: Julia Stantsik / Visit Estonia

#7 Best preserved medieval castle

Kuressaare Castle is the best preserved in Estonia and all of the Baltic states. Its construction began in the 13th century and concluded in 1380. Today visitors can stroll its grounds and explore the island’s largest museum, spanning centuries of history.

#8 Best wooden lace architecture

One could say the ‘laciest’ building in Estonia is the Haapsalu Resort Hall, built in the late 1800s in the coastal town. Wooden lace architecture refers to the decorative wood trim which is reminiscent of delicate lace patterns, particularly popular in Russia.

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Haapsalu Railway Station. Photo: Danel Rinaldo / VisitEstonia

#9 Northern Europe’s oldest lighthouse

Kõpu lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in Northern Europe. A landmark was needed during the Hanseatic trading period to guide ships on the Baltic towards Tallinn, so construction began in 1504 and continued throughout the 16th and 17th centuries.

#10 Most magical manor

The Kirna Manor in Central Estonia is said to be built upon an electro-magnetic field, emitting healing vibrations to all the living things around it, including plants and humans. Kirna Manor is one of five such places in the world.

Article was published in Nordica´s in-flight magazine Time Flies  (summer-autumn 2018).