Estonia - download topographic map set
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Estonia is a state in the northwest of Europe. The coasts of Estonia are washed by the Gulf of Finland in the north, by the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga in the west. Estonia borders with Latvia in the south and with Russia in the east. The coastline is 3,794 km long. The area of Estonia is 45,227 sq km. 1521 islands in the waters of the Baltic Sea, with the total area of 4,200 sq km, belong to Estonia. The largest of them are Saaremaa and Hiiumaa.
Relief. Estonia is situated on the East European Plain. The height of the surface gradually rises eastward and southeastward from the coasts of the Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Riga. The average heights are 50 m.
Mountains. Otepää (217 m), Haanja (318 m) and Sakala (up to 145 m) Uplands are situated in the southern part of Estonia. These are the most elevated uplands in the country. The highest peak is Suur Munamägi (318 m) situated in the southeast of the country.
Rivers. The longest river in Estonia – the Pärnu – is 144 km long and disembogues into the Gulf of Riga of the Baltic Sea. Other rivers flowing through the territory of Estonia are the Narva, the Pirita, the Kasari, the Põltsamaa, the Emajõgi, the Gauja, the Velikaya.
Lakes. The lakes of Estonia occupy 4,8% of the territory of the country. The largest lake – Chudskoe or Peipsi – is situated in the east. The area of Chudskoe Lake on the territory of Estonia is 1,616 sq km. The largest inner water reservoir in Estonia is Võrtsjärv Lake (266 sq km). Lake Pskov is located on the territory of Estonia as well.
National Parks and Reserves. The National Parks and Reserves of Estonia are as follows: Vilsandi, Matsalu, Karula, Kõrvemaa, Lahemaa, Nigula, Otepää, Soomaa, Haanja, Endla, and Lahemaa.
Sightseeing. Tallinn is one of the best preserved medieval cities of Europe. The historic centre of the city – the Old City – consists of the ancient Vyshgorod with numerous cathedrals, fortified walls and medieval towers, situated on Toompea Hill, and the Lower City to the southeast of it.
Saaremaa Island is the second largest island of the Baltic Sea (2,668 sq km) and the largest island of Estonia. Here among the forests and charming juniper fields old windmills, medieval stone churches and ancient farmsteads with thatched buildings.
The nearby island of Hiiumaa is totally different from Saaremaa. Quiet and tranquil, saturated with Baltic winds and ineffable local colour, it looks frozen in time.
The railroads on the islands of Saaremaa, Hiiumaa, Vormsi and Muhu are unique in their way as these are the only insular railroads in Europe.
Tartu is the capital of Southern Estonia, the major cultural centre if Estonia and the oldest city in the Baltic States. From Tartu one can go to the most famous places of Southern Estonia – the popular resort Otepää, Vyru, Valga and the quiet Viljandi.
Tourism. Estonian resorts are especially attractive to tourists in summer: the seaside Pärnu, Haapsalu, Kuressaare, Toila, and Narva-Jõesuu, and tourist centres near the lakes in Varska and Pühajärve.
Wonderful Estonian landscapes are among of the most untouched places in Europe. Such sites as the picturesque abrupt coast of the Ahja River near Põlva, the captivating Kutiorg valley, Haanja Upland, “the sacred lake” Pühajärv to the south of Otepää, Aegviidu near Tallinn and Otepää in the south of the country are acknowledged centres of ecological rest and active tourism. Nice cycletravel sites can be found in the neighbourhood of Tallinn, Pärnu, Elva, Vändra, Narva, on Saaremaa and Hiiumaa Islands. The best regions for kayak and canoe trips are the sandy steeps of the high banks of the Ahja River with the variety of colours of geological sediments, Endla reserve, and the high bogs in Soomaa Nature Reserve.
Climate. The climate of Estonia is transitional from maritime to continental. Winter is relatively mild, summer is tepid. The average temperature of July is about +16°C, that of January varies from -4°C to -8°C. The annual amount of precipitation shifts from 510 mm on the western islands to 740 mm in the highest southeastern parts of the country.