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Baltic States

Estonia

With an area of 45 000 sq. km, Estonia straches along the Baltic Sea, just below Finland. Sea islands form one tenth and lakes about one twentieth of Estonia's territory. Conversely, Estonia's population ranks amongst the smallest in the world: as of January 2005, an estimated 1,351 thousand people live in Estonia.

Tallinn, with its medieval city centre, is Estonia's capital. Approximately a third of the nation live in Tallinn and about 67% of the population reside in cities in general: the larger of these are: the Tartu Narva and Pärnu — the popular vacation destination on the southwestern coast, where summer air and water temperatures can reach those of the Mediterranean region. The closest major city to Tallinn is the Finnish capital Helsinki, located at a distance of 85 km on the opposite shore of the Gulf of Finland. Riga is only one day's drive away (307 km). It's also a relatively short trip to St.Petersburg (395 km) and Stockholm (405 km).

Due to the influence of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf Stream, the weather in Estonia is considerably milder than the continental climate characteristic of the same

latitude. The temperature in the summer months (June–September) is typically 15…18 degrees C; in winter, –4…–5 degrees C. While seven thousand rivers and streams carry rainwater to the sea, bogs and wooded swamplands of different types cover over one fifth of the country — a world index topped only by the northern neighbour, Finland. Various kinds of forests comprise slightly under half of Estonia's territory. Wetlands, together with primeval forests, represent preserved communities which have for the most part been destroyed in Europe. More than 1000 lakes (5 per cent of the Estonian territory) dot the countryside.

Estonia is the home of several mammals as well as plant species that are extinct or very rare in other parts of Europe. The most numerous species of the large mammals are the roe deer, elk, and wild boar.