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The Republic of Estonia (Estonian: Eesti Vabariik) is
located in Eastern Europe. The glaciers of the ice age
gave the landscape a flat surface structure in the
center, west and northwest, and hilly in the north and
south. In the hills formed by terminal moraine in the
southeast is the highest point in the country, the Suur
Munamägi (318 m). Large forest areas, numerous rivers,
lakes and bogs characterize the 45 227 km² Estonia,
which is slightly larger than Switzerland. The bog areas
in the west take up about a quarter of this, the forest
areas (the majority of them in the north) take up about
In the south, Estonia borders on Latvia, with which
it forms the three Baltic republics together with
Lithuania. The border with Russia runs in the east,
partly through the over 3,000 km² Lake Peipus (Peipsi
järv), which is about five times the size of Lake
Constance. Its Estonian share is the largest inland area
in the country. The Narva River leaves Lake Peipus in
the north and flows into the Gulf of Finland. In
addition to the lakes on the Russian border, the Wirzsee
forms the next largest inland lake inland.
The coast to the Baltic Sea is about 1,160 km long,
which can be divided into two areas: on the one hand,
the steeply sloping north coast, which meets the straits
of the Gulf of Finland, on the opposite side at a
distance of 50 to 130 km Finland lies, on the other
hand, the bay-rich west coast of Estonia. This region
has about 1,500 islands. The largest of these are
Hiiumaa (Dagö) and Saaremaa (Ösel) to the north and
further south in the Gulf of Riga Khinu. The capital of
Estonia is Tallinn (German: Reval; 403,000 residents)
and is located in the north of the country in a bay on
the Gulf of Finland. Other major cities are Tartu
(102,000 residents) and Narwa (around 70,000).
The climate is characterized by Atlantic and
continental influences. The otherwise hot summers and
cold winters are alleviated by the Atlantic winds. The
annual rainfall in Tallinn is around 570 mm, the
national average fluctuates between 500 and 700 mm
annually. Average temperatures in the Estonian capital
by the sea range from -7 กใ C in January to 17 กใ C in
Flora and fauna
More than 50% of Estonia is taken up by fields and
pastures. The north of the country in particular is
still characterized by large, less developed forests.
Both deciduous and coniferous trees characterize the
forests in the interior, in the coastal areas pine and
spruce forests are typical. In the north, in addition to
the forest areas, there are wooded meadows that are
criss-crossed by bushes and shrubs. The country is rich
in water: in addition to numerous rivers and lakes,
there are boggy plains and lowlands in the north of the
Wirzsee and on the western shores of the Peipussee.
The forests and swamps are a natural habitat for
numerous wild animals. Deer and lynx, but also brown
bears, wolves, wild boars, moose and otters are at home
here. The islands on the west coast have been declared a
nature reserve by UNESCO and offer protection to
numerous species of birds in their natural habitat.
According to COUNTRYAAH, 1.35 million people live in Estonia, 68% of
the population are Estonians. The largest minority in
society, at 25.6%, are the Russians, who immigrated
largely during the Soviet era. In some territories, such
as the border town of Narva, Russians make up the
majority of the population. A further 3% are Ukrainians,
smaller minorities form among others Finns and
Belarusians. The official language is Estonian, which is
related to Finnish and Hungarian, but about a third of
the population is Russian-speaking. Sometimes English,
Finnish and German are spoken. The Latin alphabet is
used, there are also Cyrillic characters from the time
of the Soviet Republic of Estonia.
The population is Christian, with the majority of the
followers of the Lutheran Church. Due to the large
number of citizens of Russian origin, the faithful of
the Russian Orthodox Church are the second largest
religious group in the country.
The population shrinks annually by 0.3% due to the
According to the 1992 constitution, the Republic of
Estonia is a parliamentary democracy. The President
(Toomas Hendrik Ilves, since October 2006) is elected by
Parliament for five years. The government under the
leadership of the Prime Minister (Andrus Ansip, since
April 2005) is responsible to Parliament.
The one-chamber parliament (Reichstag / Riigikogu)
has 101 members who are elected for four years by
Estonian citizens aged 18 and over. The country's main
parties are the Liberal Reform Party (RE), the
center-center Party (K), the Conservative Fatherland
Union (IRL), the Temperate Social Democrats (SDE), the
Green Party (ER) and the Citizens Union (ERL ).
Estonia is divided into 15 counties.
Estonia joined the European Union in 2004; Extensive
efforts have been made to achieve this. Since
independence, far-reaching privatizations have been
carried out, particularly in the energy, rail and
The expanding service sector now accounts for 68% of
The industrial sector contributes almost 30% to GDP.
Mining, oil shale and phosphate production, mechanical
engineering and fertilizer production are traditionally
important here. In recent years, however, Estonia has
also built up a powerful and successful IT industry;
modern information and communication technologies are
very popular with the population. The most important
import goods are fuels and lubricants as well as
electricity, chemical products and electronics; most
important export goods are fuels and lubricants as well
as electricity, electronics and machines.
In the insignificant agricultural sector, which only
contributes 3% to GDP, meat and milk production in
particular play a central role.
Tourism is becoming increasingly important and will
continue to increase in the coming years.
The country's infrastructure is well developed,
regular scheduled flights connect Tallinn's
international airport with other European countries, and
there is another international airport in Tartu. Ferry
and cruise ships call at the well-developed ferry port
in the capital.
Until 2011, the Estonian krona (= 100 senti) was the
currency of Estonia. In 2011 Estonia became the 17th
country to introduce the euro as its currency.