10 suprising places in Estonia
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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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).