History of Estonia
Estonia has an interesting history which is worth knowing before travel to Estonia and Tallinn. The Estonians are a Finno-Ugric people related to the Finns. Human settlement in Estonia became possible 11,000 to 13,000 years ago, when the ice from the last glacial era melted away. In the 11th and 12th centuries the Estonians fought the Russians several times and they remained unconquered. Then in the 13th century the Germans conquered Estonia.
German monks had tried to convert the pagans of the Baltic to Christianity with little success. They then decided to use force to 'convert' the pagans of Estonia. In 1202 Albert von Buxhoerden the Bishop of Riga founded an order of crusading knights called the Knights of the Sword to subdue the pagans. Then Albert made an agreement with the Danes. In 1219 the Danes invaded northern Estonia. They built a fort, which the Estonians called Taani Linn (Danish town). By 1227 the whole of Estonia had been conquered. In 1237 the Knights of the Sword were absorbed into another crusading order, the Teutonic Knights. In the 13th century Estonia was split in two. The Teutonic Knights ruled southern Estonia while the Danes ruled the north. Germanic people became the ruling class in Estonia. They remained the upper class until the 20th century.
However the Estonians did not accept the situation. In 1343-1346 they rebelled in the St George's Night Uprising. However the rebellion was crushed. In the 16th century both Sweden and Russia coveted Estonia. In 1558 the Russians invaded Estonia. However the Swedes captured Tallinn in 1561 to forestall the Russians. The Swedes and the Russians then fought a long and terrible war over Estonia. The Swedes finally drove out the Russians in 1582. For a time Estonia prospered under Swedish rule. Sweden and Russia fought another war the Great Northern War at the beginning of the 18th century. When the war ended in 1721 the Swedes ceded Estonia to the Russians.
In 1816 serfdom was abolished in Estonia. During the 19th century nationalism was a growing force in Estonia, as it was in the rest of Europe. In the late 19th century the Russians tried to 'Russify' Estonia by making the Russian language compulsory in schools. However Estonian language books and newspapers were published and interest in Estonian culture and history grew. In 1905 a liberal revolution broke out in Russia. There was also unrest in Estonia. Manor houses owned by Germans were burned. There were also many demonstrations. However the Russian army restored order and many Estonians were executed or deported.
Then in March 1917 another revolution broke out. This time the Tsar abdicated. The Estonians clamoured for independence. The Russians were not willing to grant complete independence but they were willing to grant some autonomy. In March 1917 the Russian parliament agreed to it and in July 1917 an Estonian parliament met. However in November 1917 the Communists seized power in Moscow. They were not willing to let the Estonians have even limited autonomy and they set up a Communist administration in the country. By the end of 1917 the Russian army was collapsing and the Germans were advancing. In February 1918 the Germans marched into Estonia. The Russian Communists fled and on 24 February 1918 the Estonian parliament declared Estonia independent. However the next day the Germans entered Tallinn. They occupied Estonia till the end of the war.
The Germans surrendered to the western allies on 11 November 1918 and the Russians invaded Estonia. They soon captured most of the country. However in January 1919 the Estonians fought back under General Laidoner and by 24 February 1919 the Russians were driven out of Estonia. Meanwhile a British fleet was sent to Estonia. The British sailors fought a number of naval battles with the Russians. Finally on 3 January 1920 the Russians agreed to a cease fire and by the Treaty of Tartu signed on 2 February 1920 they recognised Estonia as an independent country.
Disaster struck Estonia on 17 June 1940 when the Russians invaded. Soon Estonia was absorbed into the Soviet Union and a Communist regime was imposed. In June 1941 thousands of Estonians were deported to Estonia. Shortly afterwards the Germans invaded Russia. At first they were amazingly successful and they quickly captured Estonia. German rule was extremely brutal but in the summer of 1944 the Russians invaded Estonia again. On 17 September 1944 Hitler ordered all his forces to leave Estonia. On the same day a provisional government was formed under Otto Tief (1889-1976). Unfortunately it met for only 5 days. The Russians captured Tallinn on 22 September 1944 and they dissolved the government. The Russians then imposed a tyrannical regime. Between 1947 and 1952 farming was collectivised. Under the Communists industrialisation took place in Estonia, but unfortunatelly it caused terrible damage to the environment. Meanwhile, in 1949, thousands of Estonians were deported.
However in the late 1980s the Communist tyranny began to unravel. The Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, introduced policies of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (reconstruction). Once again the Estonians began to clamour for independence. In November 1988 the Supreme Soviet (a kind of parliament) in Estonia declared that Soviet laws would only apply in Estonia if it agreed to them. Also in 1988 Estonia was given some economic autonomy. In March 1991 most of the population of Estonia voted in favour of independence in a referendum. Then on 19 August 1991 hardline Communists in Moscow attempted a coup. On 20 August Estonia declared its independence. The coup was defeated and Russia recognised Estonian independence on 6 September 1991. Communism was then dismantled in Estonia and replaced with a market economy. Today Estonia is a small but prosperous country. After more than three years of negotiations, on August 31, 1994, the armed forces of the Russian Federation withdrew from Estonia.
Today Estonia is a small but prosperous country. In the early years of the 21st century the economy grew rapidly. In 2004 Estonia joined NATO and the EU. Estonia suffered badly in the recession of 2009. However Estonia recovered.
Guiding Languages: EN, DE, RU, ES, IT, FR, TR, PT, SV
Excursion price includes: guiding
Duration: 3 hrs
Price per person per group of: 10 pax
Tallinn has one of the most delightful and well preserved medieval old town which has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List..
The Kadriorg and Pirita districts are long-time favorites among locals and foreigners. Kadriorg is famed for its impressive baroque palace and park complex built by Peter I, as well as the Estonian President’s residence. Pirita attracts thousands from the city and beyond with its well-developed beach..
Just a short pleasant drive from the Old City you will be introduced to the past of Estonia. The museum gathers a fine collection of 17th - 19th century rural architecture from all over the Estonia..
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Enjoy lovely landscape and a thrilling stroll through the exciting nature trails across marshlands, meadows and forests along the shores of the Baltic Sea. Feel the smell and sounds of the nature in Estonia..
Christmas is great time to embrace the cold, to enjoy traditional celebrations with hot wine, gingerbread in local Christmas markets, to attempt Christmas concerts and take a joy from winter activities. Experience Christmas spirit and atmosphere in Helsinki and Tallinn!
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Christmas is great time to embrace the cold, to enjoy traditional celebrations with hot wine, gingerbread in local Christmas markets, to attempt Christmas organ concerts and participate in winter activities in the Baltic states. Enjoy Christmas spirit and atmosphere! Experience traditions in the Baltic states..
Classic Baltic Tour gives guests unique opportunity to explore the most beautiful and historical places of Baltic countries. Riga and Tallinn are known as Hanseatic cities with narrow lanes in Old Towns, while Vilnius more represents Baroque style with gorgeous churches, in total more than 40..
Enjoy the fun New Year celebration on board of the ferry STOCKHOLM - TALLINN in the Baltic Sea. Enjoy rich New Year dinner buffet with the drinks and amazing night show with live music, karaoke, disco, surprises and different games..
4 capitals of the Baltic States…
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The Baltic region`s gastronomic heritage accomplishes the current global dining trend - natural, seasonal, grown near home and prepared by respecting old traditions.
Surprise your tastes` buds with true abundance given by the nature - game, mushrooms and berries supplied from our forests, vegetables, and fruits from gardens and fishes from the Baltic Sea. Enjoy the genuine taste of the Baltic states!
Don`t miss 3 of beautiful Northern cities in the same journey – trendy design capital Helsinki, medieval Tallinn and gourgeous St.Petersburg. Three cities – three deifferent stories and characters..
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The whole Baltic Sea is within your reach! Combine an exciting city break with an eventful cruise on board of luxurious vessels. Discover the uniqueness of the Scandinavian archipelago, the charm of Riga and Tallinn and experience the elegant and relaxed atmosphere on board..
Experience the Baltic States from different perspective. Soviet Union collapse 25 years ago despite of that you can still feel some outcomes, see the architectural evidences and hear the stories of the life behind the Iron Curtain. Soviet Legacy tour will give you the answer - what people lost after independence..
4 capitals of the Baltic States…
Tour – Treasures of Baltic’s - gives guests unique opportunity to discover and explore the most beautiful and historical places of 4 Baltics. 7 days will ensure great and memorable impressions of gorgeous Hanseatic Town squares, many historical buildings, significant castles and churches..
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