The Republic of Estonia is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia (343 km), and to the east by the Russian Federation (338.6 km). The territory of Estonia covers 45,227 km2 (17,462 sq mi) and is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. The climate in Estonia is characterized by a fairly cold winter, a cool spring with little precipitation, a moderately warm summer and a long and rainy autumn.
In the summer the skies are blue and temperatures can reach 30°C and the summer average is a very pleasant 16.4°C. In summer there can be 19 hours of daylight, known locally as the “white nights”.
In winter the temperature drops below zero and Estonia will be covered with snow. Some winters its even possible to drive on the ice roads constructed between the islands.
The Estonians are a Finnic people, and the official Estonian language is closely related to Finnish.
Estonia is a democratic parliamentary republic and is divided into fifteen counties. The capital and largest city is Tallinn. With a population of only 1.34 million, Estonia is one of the least-populous members of the European Union.
The settlement of modern day Estonia began around 8500 BC, immediately after the Ice Age. Over the centuries, the Estonians were subjected to Danish, Teutonic, Swedish and Russian rule. Foreign rule in Estonia began in 1227. In the aftermath of the Livonian Crusade the area was conquered by Danes and Germans.
From 1228-1562, parts or most of Estonia were incorporated into a crusader state Terra Mariana, that became part of the Ordensstaat, and after its decline was formed the Livonian Confederation. During the era economic activities centered around the Hanseatic League. In the 16th century Estonia passed to Swedish rule, under which it remained until 1721, when it was ceded to the Russian Empire.
The Estophile Enlightenment Period (1750-1840) led to a national awakening in the mid-19th century. In 1918 the Estonian Declaration of Independence was issued, to be followed by the Estonian War of Independence (1918-1920), which resulted in the Tartu Peace Treaty recognizing Estonian independence in perpetuity. During World War II, Estonia was occupied and annexed first by the Soviet Union and subsequently by the Third Reich, only to be re-occupied by the Soviet Union in 1944.
Estonia regained its independence on August 20, 1991. It has since embarked on a rapid programme of social and economic reform. Today, the country has gained recognition for its economic freedom, its adaptation of new technologies and was one of the world's fastest growing economies for several years. Estonia is part of European Union since May 1, 2004 and part on NATO since March 29, 2004.
Facts about Estonia
Estonia is in the Eastern European Time Zone: GMT + 2 hours. In summer: GMT + 3 hours.
Temperatures in the summer vary from +15 to +25 Celsius (may rise to +30°C in July). The weather is changeable, shiny and rainy days are intermittent so it is advisable to prepare for both. You can find more information about the Estonian weather here: http://www.weather.ee/
From 1 January 2011 the currency in Estonia is euro.
Nationalities in Estonia are: Estonians 68.6%, Russians 24.9%, Ukrainians 2.1%, Belarusians 1.2%, Finns 0.8%, other 2.4%.
Estonian's official language is Estonian. Russian, Finnish, English and German are also understood and widely spoken.
The largest denomination is Lutheran (30%) followed by Russian Orthodox (28%), and Catholic (3%). However, only about 20% of Estonians practice any religion.
Public Internet access points have been set up all over Estonia. They are located in local libraries and post offices. There are over 100 free wireless Internet zones around the country, many of them in rather unexpected places – beaches, Old Town square, stadiums, concert halls and in most of the cafes.
Read more about Estonia from here and download presentation about Estonia from here.