Signs & Flags, Tallinn
I know that run the risk of provoking the ire of all patriotic Estonians, but despite its noble history and powerful symbolism, I think that the Estonian flag is a strong contender for the dullest flag in the world.
What is puzzling is that the flag's origins and symbolism are fascinating, and World Flags 101 offers the following excellent explanation: "The colors of the national flag represent Estonia's history, nature and folk costumes. The blue stripe represents faith, loyalty and devotion as well as the sky, sea, and lakes. The black symbolizes the dark past and suffering of the Estonian people as well as the traditional black jacket of the Estonian peasant. The white represents striving towards enlightenment and virtue, hope and freedom. White also symbolizes the color of birch bark and snow, and Estonian summer nights illuminated by the midnight sun."
Unlike other national flags that have a history going back centuries, the Estonian flag is fairly recent, only having been designed in the 1880s. It was predictably banned under Soviet rule, and there are plenty of tales of people ingeniously keeping the flag in three separate bits which were stored in different places (for example, the white section might have been used as a tablecloth) - amusing in hindsight, but potentially life-threatening if you were caught out.
There are plenty of flags which comprise three horizontal stripes: however, most feature a pleasing colour contrast. By contrast, I feel that the black stripe dulls the vivacity of the cornflower blue and even manages to blunt the impact of the bright white, especially as the flag ages and the colours fade.
My apologies to all the Estonians I have offended, but I had to find one thing that I didn't like about your wonderful country!
The Estonian national flag is a tri-color, with three equal horizontal bands - blue, black and white. These colors symbolize important qualities - blue is referred to as the color of faith, loyalty and devotion; it also reflects the qualities of the sky, sea, and lakes. Black is said to be symbolic of the dark past of suffering of the Estonian people; the traditionally black jacket of the Estonian peasant during past times. White represents the striving towards enlightenment and virtue. White is also the color of birch bark and snow, and summer nights illuminated by the midnight sun.
It was June 14th when we were in Tallinn, there were a lot of flags and all of the Estonian flags had black streamers on the top of the poles. Our pedicab driver told us that this was in remembrance of the June 14, 1941 Deportations. Officially, this is the - Day of Mourning and Commemoration (Leinapäev)
Estonia was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1939-1940, and the first large scale deportation of ordinary citizens was carried out by the local operational headquarters of the NKGB (the Estonian branch of the KGB). On June 14, 1941, and the following two days, 9,254-10,861 people, including more than 5,000 women and over 2,500 children under 16, and 439 Jews (more than 10 percent of the Estonian Jewish population) were deported. Men were generally imprisoned and most of them died in Siberian prison camps; women and children went mostly to Kirov Oblast, Novosibirsk Oblast. Hundreds were shot. Only 4,331 persons have ever returned to Estonia.
The flag days in Estonia are: Jan. 3 -- Commemoration Day of Combatants of the Estonian War of Independence; Feb. 2 -- Anniversary of the Tartu Peace Treaty; Feb. 24 -- Independence Day, Anniversary of the Republic of Estonia; March 14 -- Mother Tongue Day; second Sunday in May -- Mother's Day; May 9 -- Day of Europe; June 4 -- Estonian Flag Day; June 14 -- Day of Mourning (flag must be hoisted as mourning flag); June 23 -- Victory Day; June 24 -- Midsummer Day; Aug. 20 -- Day of Restoration of Independence; Sept. 1 -- Day of Knowledge; second Sunday in November -- Father's Day.
Under law, the flag must be raised on flag days on the buildings of state and local government agencies and legal persons in public law.
On Independence Day, Victory Day and the Day of Restoration of Independence, the Estonian flag must be displayed also on residential buildings and office buildings.
Well, in the Old Town anyway.
Most people who lived in Medieval times anywhere could neither read nor write. so it was esential to mark out your shop with something easily recognisable. In this case, it's a pretzel.
Bascially, if you see the pretzel sign it means a shop which sells cakes and bread (and quite possibly has a table or two for customers who wish to sample the cakes on the premises, perhaps with a coffee).
Riga and Tallinn sometimes is compared by something, but the metal signs what I love we don’t have. I’ve seen many in Salzburg and here also they are almost on every corner. If you’re artist you’ll place outside your shop some sign, bakeries and craftsmen are hanging out different things. Very nice!