Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Kaali lake, Saaremaa, Estonia

I know I posted about a postcard from Estonia not so long ago, but my interest to the country has been sort of renewed after reading 'Purge' by Sofi Oksanen. Ok, this book doesn't paint a particularly pretty picture of the country overall and it's a pretty gloomy and depressing book, but there is some beauty in it as well. ..and it's made me think of Estonia more in general. It's such a shame, I used to live so close to this country for most of my life but only visited Tallinn a couple of times. My parents and grandmother have been elsewhere in Estonia as well. Grandma has/had some closer connections there, my parents don't, they are just interested in the country and its language. The pictures they've shown me have been great, there is so much beautiful nature in Estonia! Some of those pictures have such a cozy feel to them, too, despite my not ever having visited those places. Saaremaa is one of those places, it just looks gorgeous and so lush. (If there are any Estonian people reading this blog who have postcards of local nature and would like to swap, do get in touch! I'm sure we'll be able to figure something out :))

Kaali is a group of 9 meteorite craters located on the Estonian island of Saaremaa. Formed in the 7th century BC, it is one of the most recent craters created by an impact event and the only known major impact event that has occurred in a populated area. Prior to the 1930s, the main crater was thought to have been a volcanic caldera. Its meteoritic origins were first conclusively demonstrated by Ivan Reinvald in 1937.

Saaremaa, then, is the largest island in Estonia, measuring 2,673 km². The main island of Saare County, it is located in the Baltic Sea, south of Hiiumaa island, and belongs to the West Estonian Archipelago. The capital of the island is Kuressaare, which has about 15,000 inhabitants; the whole island has over 39,000 inhabitants.

The island forms the main barrier between the Gulf of Riga and the Baltic Sea. To the south of it is the main passage out of the gulf, the Irbe Strait, next to Sõrve Peninsula, the southernmost portion of the island. In Medieval times islanders were crossing the strait to form fishing villages on Livonian coast, in particular Pitrags village. In those days it was easier and quicker to cross the strait towards nearby Kolka, Saunags or Mazirbe, than travel by horse large distances inland. The highest point on the island is 54 m above sea level. The island has lots of forested terrain. One of the symbols of the island is the juniper.

The stamp is from a mini sheet issued earlier this year, showing the peony.

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