About Estonia - Culture ofEstonia
Due to its history and geography, Estonia's culture has been influenced by the traditions of the adjacent area's various Finnic, Baltic, Slavic and Germanic peoples, as well as by cultural developments in the former dominant powers, Sweden and Russia.
The culture of Estonia combines an indigenous heritage, represented by the country's Uralic national language Estonian, with Nordic cultural aspects. Due to its history and geography, Estonia's culture has been influenced by the traditions of the adjacent area's various Finnic, Baltic, Slavic and Germanic peoples, as well as by cultural developments in the former dominant powers, Sweden and Russia. Traditionally, Estonia has been seen as an area of rivalry between western and eastern Europe on many levels. An example of this geopolitical legacy is an exceptional combination of multiple nationally-recognized Christian traditions: Western Christianity (Catholic, Protestant) and Eastern Christianity (Orthodox Church). The symbolism of the border or meeting of east and west in Estonia is well illustrated on the reverse side of the 5 krooni note. Like the mainstream cultures in the other Nordic countries, Estonian culture can be seen to build upon ascetic environmental realities and traditional livelihoods, a heritage of comparatively widespread egalitarianism arising out of practical reasons (see: Everyman's right and universal suffrage), and the ideals of closeness to nature and self-sufficiency.
Literature of Estonia
Though the written Estonian language could be said to have existed since Jacob Johann Köhler translated the New Testament into Estonian in the 18th century, few notable works of literature were written until the 19th century, which saw the beginning of an Estonian national romantic movement. This prompted Friedrich Robert Faehlmann to collect Estonian folk poetry, and Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald to arrange and publish them as Kalevipoeg, the Estonian national epic. That era also saw the rise of other poets and novelists who wrote in Estonian, notably Lydia Koidula.
After Estonia became independent, there was a movement of modernist writers, most famously Jaan Kross. The Second World War prompted a repression of national interests. Literature in modern Estonia is in a healthy state, with detective stories in particular enjoying a boom in popularity.
Despite its relatively short history of art music, Estonia today is well respected for its musicianship, with the quality education of classical musicians having produced a high proportion of world-class conductors and singers. Estonian art music came to the forefront as a part of the national Romantic Movement.
Modern Estonian popular music has also received attention abroad, especially on the rock and metal scenes, with bands such as Vanilla Ninja and Metsatöll, Kerli and composers as Arvo Pärt, gaining international acclaim.
The Art Museum of Estonia is the main national museum of visual arts, and has a large collection of Estonian art on permanent display. It was founded on November 17, 1919, but it was not until 1921 that it got its first permanent building – the Kadriorg Palace, built in the 18th century. Today the palace is used to display foreign art while a new purpose-built museum houses the main branch of the museum, called Kumu.Some of the more famous Estonian painters include Johann Köler, Ants Laikmaa, Paul and Kristjan Raud and Konrad Mägi.
The architectural history of Estonia mainly reflects its contemporary development in northern Europe. Worth mentioning is especially the architectural ensemble that makes out the medieval old town of Tallinn, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In addition, the country has several unique, more or less preserved hill forts dating from pre-Christian times, a large number of still intact medieval castles and churches, while the countryside is still shaped by the presence of a vast number of manor houses from earlier centuries.