Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Estonia - Kihnu

I received this card from Janek in the World Languages RR, written in Ukrainian :) It shows Kihnu - a small island on the Baltic Sea. UNESCO proclaimed Kihnu's cultural space and traditions as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2003 (it's different than the UNESCO World Heritage Site).

What makes me even more thankful for this wonderful card is that it one of the stamps shows the people from Kihnu in traditional costumes. Thank you very much, Janek! :)

Kihnu is an island in the Baltic Sea. With an area of 16,4 km² it is the largest island in the Gulf of Riga and the seventh largest island of Estonia. The length of the island is 7 km and width 3.3 km, the highest point is at 8.9 m above sea level.

The island belongs to the Pärnu County of Estonia. Together with neighbouring islands it forms the Kihnu Parish, the smallest municipality of the country with an area of 16,8 km².

604 people live on Kihnu as of 2007 that is 69 pupils in the basic school. There are four villages: Lemsi, Linaküla, Rootsiküla and Sääre. To get to Kihnu, it is possible to take a plane or ferry from Pärnu, or over the ice in winter.

The Baltic islands of Manija and Kihnu are home to a small group of traditional people. For many years, the men of Kihnu have been frequently gone to sea while the women ran the island and became the guardians of the island's cultural heritage, which includes handicrafts, dances, games and music. Music is an especially important part of the island's traditions, and accompanies handicrafting, religious feasts and other celebrations. Ancient runo-styled songs are also important, as are traditional clothings adorned with decorations and bright colours that symbolize ancient legends and poems.

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