Estonia celebrates its 100th birthday
August was a big month for Tallinn and the entire nation of Estonia as the country celebrated both a hundred years of independence and the restoration of that independence.
There was a military parade on Tallinn’s Freedom Square with 1,100 participants and more than a hundred military units. Estonia’s president Kersti Kaljulaid was present to receive the parade.
All service branches of the Estonian Defence Forces were present as were representatives of Estonia’s NATO allies. The British and Danish personnel marching in the parade belonged to the two countries’ units currently deployed to Estonia as part of the local NATO battle group.
In Tallinn, there was a week of summertime celebrations of the centenary focused around Estonia’s Day of Restoration of Independence on 20 August.
A joint signing event was held the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds.
The first part of the program was called “The Power of Song” (“Laulu võim“), where local participants sang for 100 minutes.
There was a followup concert, “The Buzz of the Century” (“Sajandi sumin“).
Other activities taking place were the Baltic film festival which had two full days of award-winning films from the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Meanwhile, Estonia’s national museum will continue to celebrate Estonia’s food culture through the month of September.
At a local level celebration were led by Tallinn’s Mayor Taavi Aas and the chairman of the city council Mihhail Kõlvart.
At an international level, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas got together with his counterparts from Latvia and Lithuania and agreed on closer co-operation. All three countries gained independence in 1918.
Estonia declared itself independent after the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1918. After two years of bitter fighting known as the independence war, the Soviet Union recognised Estonia sovereignty in perpetuity at the Treaty of Tartu February 2, 1920. The first period of independence lasted until the second world war. The nation then suffered under 50 years of occupation.
The famous singing revolution led to a national awakening. On August 20, 1991, Estonia declared that independence had been restored.
Looking forward to Tallinn’s Marathon and Autumn Run
From September 7-8 at least ten thousand people will participate in the Tallinn Marathon and Autumn Run (Sügisjooks).
Tallinn’s Marathon has become an increasingly international event attracting runners from all over the World. Last year’s winner was Ronald Kurui from Kenya in the men’s event and local girl Olga Andrejeva in the women’s event.
The record for participation is 2013 when 20,562 people joined in Estonia biggest sports event.
“The chances for breaking the five-year-old record are looking great. Tallinn Marathon and Sügijooks have never seen such a participant number already by the end of July. Now, we are three weeks ahead of the record schedule of 2013. Participant records are nearing at all distances and the number of foreign runners is also higher than ever before,” Mati Lilliallik Tallinn Marathon organiser said.
The Marathon is taking place in the centenary year, so the atmosphere is expected to be very patriotic. Participants and attendees will be encouraged to wear the national colours of blue, black and white.
All Tallinn Marathon and Sügisjooks finishers will also get a special medal with a cornflower design. As well as the main event there will be 10 km summer run 5 km We run Tallinn and the Mesikäpp (teddy bear) children’s races. All participants will compete for medals.
The three-day event starts on Friday, 7 September with the 5 km We Run Tallinn, Saturday, 8 September will be Mesikäpp kids’ races and 10 km Sügisjooks and finishes up on Sunday, 9 September with Tallinn’s Marathon (42.2 km) and half-marathon (21.1 km).
Tallinn is named one of the ten smart tourist cities of Europe
Tallinn has been named as one of the ten finalists of the ‘European Capital of Smart Tourism’ competition.
The competition recognises outstanding achievements in the development of European urban tourism. Tourist cities are assessed in four categories: accessibility, sustainable development, digitalisation, and the inclusion of cultural heritage and creativity in the tourism industry. The ten finalists must show their success in all four categories.
The competition is held between 38 cities from 19 European countries. In addition to Tallinn, the finalists include Brussels, Helsinki, Ljubljana, Lyon, Malaga, Nantes, Palma, Poznan, and Valencia.
The winners of the title ‘European Capital of Smart Tourism’ will be announced in November. In addition to the two cities that qualify for the title, four cities will also be awarded for their achievements in the four categories.
Nationwide free public transport after a month
Following the introduction of free public transport, figures reveal that the number of people using public transport has increased across the country.
According to the Road Administration’s public transport statistic, the number of passengers across all counties that introduced free public transport on 1 July this year has increased by an average of 38 per cent in 11 counties and 16 per cent in the other four In July.
Economic and Infrastructure minister Kadri Simson said early signs were very promising.
“This is a significant growth, especially if you consider that before the plan was put into application, you could hear criticism that nobody needed or wanted free travel. I hope that these numbers show also a forward trend,“ Simson said.
Estonia became the first country in the World to introduce free public transport in most of its counties on 1 July 2018 the transport centres were set up across the country which is free to choose their approach to public transport. They can either be partial funding by the state and go on selling tickets or change over to the new free bus lines system, which the state subsidises local public transport by 100 per cent.
Tallinn moved over to free public transport in 2013 and remains the largest capital city in the World to have free public transport