Tartu & Impressions of Estonia

{tartu & impressions of Estonia} via chevrons & éclairs

globalizing friendships

jumper c/o BODEN jeans c/o JOULES flats JOSEFINAS

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Growing up in America, such a young country, you are often overcome by the history of some of its neighbors. Moving to the UK, I knew I was in for a treat as a history enthusiast, but little did I know that my education in International Relations would fail to introduce me to countries like Estonia.

Picture this: moving to London without a soul that you could trust, a passport, a few thousand pounds in hand and parents on the other side of an ocean cheering you on. I was in a very controlled situation a 21st century young woman could be in. After a few very tough initial months, I moved to my first flat and made a friend named Gerda. She looked tough and very different from me, but a very thin thread brought us together. We had something in common, but I couldn’t put a needle on it. Our friendship grew in the time I needed a friend most and her time in London was coming to an end. And since that day, I have had the hardest time making trusting friends in London because she set the bar so high, but our friendship grew much stronger.

Based on mine and Gerda’s upbringings, we were able to relate on a cultural level. Hospitality and relationships were part of the equation that made memories. So fast forward 2.5 years and find me in the small Tallinn International airport walking past the baggage claim and into the warm hug from one of my best friends.
 

{tartu & impressions of Estonia} via chevrons & éclairs {tartu & impressions of Estonia} via chevrons & éclairs

historical context

She enthusiastically took me around Estonia and specifically Tartu-where she grew up. As a big surprise to me, I saw that there was so much this country had to offer. Tartu is considered the intellectual center of the country as it houses the renowned and rather gorgeous University of Tartu along with the Ministry of Education and Research. After its medieval reigns, the Swedish and Poles ruled. Walking the streets, you see wooden homes influenced by the Swedes and the pastels adapted from the Polish. In the early 1700s with the Treaty of Nystad, the Russian Empire ruled-but with the Great Fire in Tartu much of the city-centre had to be rebuilt, which brought on neoclassical architecture to the city surrounded by those wonderfully wooden houses.

It was after World War I, the Estonian War of Independence called for a peace treaty between the Bolsheviks and Estonia. But World War II period and the in-betweens still meant that Estonia was a battleground and was unfortunately a closed city for foreigners to explore. The demise of the Soviet Union did gift Estonia full independence and a population influx.

With that history, you can gather that much of the population is mixed and identities were conflicted-yet they were resilient through it all. Tartu being the educational and artistic centre of the country celebrated its people and their achievements.
 

{tartu & impressions of Estonia} via chevrons & éclairs

 
 
{tartu & impressions of Estonia} via chevrons & éclairs
 
 

{tartu & impressions of Estonia} via chevrons & éclairs {tartu & impressions of Estonia} via chevrons & éclairs

restaurant feature // la dolce vita

websitetripadvisor

Kompanii 10
Tartu, Estonia
+372 740 7545
 

{tartu & impressions of Estonia} via chevrons & éclairs
{tartu & impressions of Estonia} via chevrons & éclairs {tartu & impressions of Estonia} via chevrons & éclairs {tartu & impressions of Estonia} via chevrons & éclairs

 
 
{tartu & impressions of Estonia} via chevrons & éclairs
 
 

{tartu & impressions of Estonia} via chevrons & éclairs
{tartu & impressions of Estonia} via chevrons & éclairs

the significance

One of my interests coming into the country was understanding how much of Soviet influence still remains and if we do see an “Estonian” identity at all—since the latter half of my Masters degree covered Russia’s aggression over its satellite states, especially those in Central Asia. Estonia, however, has kept up a strong sense of identity with its language being first. The second is through its gastronomic culture, though adaptations have made waves it has upheld the true essence of what the country’s soil can offer. The final is its hospitable people. Each day I came across passionate Estonians that were keen to introduce me to new layers, nuances and meanings of what being “Estonian” meant.

And so one thread, looped through each hole of a button, that fastens two pieces together-Gerda’s friendship is a symbol of what this country has to treasure for the future and plans to build upon-symbolized as a place with a irrepressible identity and a place for growth.
 

{tartu & impressions of Estonia} via chevrons & éclairs

 
 
{tartu & impressions of Estonia} via chevrons & éclairs
 
 

{tartu & impressions of Estonia} via chevrons & éclairs {tartu & impressions of Estonia} via chevrons & éclairs
{tartu & impressions of Estonia} via chevrons & éclairs

  • Natali

    Everything looks wonderful! It’s great to see Estonia through your eyes, I live “next door” in Finland and it’s great to be reminded of such gem nearby!

    https://lartoffashion.com

    • Oh!! I’m trying to plan something for Finland actually. Been on my list for a long time!

      • Natali

        Let me know if I can assist you in any way! 🙂

  • Supal, what beautiful pictures! I feel the same way, America is such a young country. I am always amazed and envious of the history and architecture in these older countries!

  • What a historically rich place! You’re right. America IS such a young country. I do love looking into the historical backgrounds of subcultures within America, though. For instance, people have occupied New Mexico since 9200 BC and there’s a lot of evidence of them. When my MIL was in town, we went to see the petroglyphs. They go back thousands of years. So cool. Once you start really looking into that stuff, I think your mindset can change as far as history goes. We don’t have tons of historical buildings, but it’s history nonetheless.

    • Yes! Makes them so unique and versatile! oh my goodness!! I want to visit NM so badly because I feel like it’s such an outlier state. So unique and different with what it offers and more xx

  • I bet your friend felt honored by this homage you wrote to her city. Lovely pictures as well!

    • Oh she definitely did! It was all honest words and I am so happy to took the time to read it all. The narrative portion is what I find so much more exciting to put together. Thanks again, Maria! x

  • Beautiful post! One of my favorite things about travelling and moving to new places is that you get to meet people from other parts of the world. They can introduce you to their culture and history while you can share yours as well =o)

    https://dreamofadventures.com/

  • Paige Allison

    Wow, what a history! And the food looks far better than anything you’d find in Sweden or Poland!

  • Tiffany {A Touch of Grace}

    What a beautiful story and friendship Supal. I’m sure Gerda feels so blessed to have your friendship as well. I love seeing all this amazing history. And all the pink buildings are beautiful. It all looks so peaceful.