Ruhnu is situated in the Eastern part of the Baltic Sea, in the middle of the Gulf of Riga, some 40 km away from the nearest mainland. It is country’s only true non-coastal island.
Ruhnu is not big, its area is 11,9 km, yet it is home to a beautiful variety of landscapes – long white sand beaches, wide grey dunes, shore ridges, pine forests, coastal and marshy meadows… Here you can find many protected rare species of plants and animals.
The first people to step on the island were probably seasonal seal hunters, they came here some 7200 years ago from Scandinavia.
For centuries the island was controlled and populated by Swedes. Before the World War II there were about 300 inhabitants living on the island, but almost all of them have fled to Sweden in 1943-44, before Estonia has joined to the Soviet Union.
Today here live 64 permanent residents, and for years this number remains amazingly stable. For example when one islander moved away from Ruhnu, another islander’s family had their baby arrived just around the same time :)
Here at Ruhnu you can find an example of a stable micro community – islanders have weather forecast and diesel power stations, airport and harbour, post office and museum, school, library, two churches and shops, forest administration and parish government, workshop, one of the deepest drilled wells in the country (at 787.4 m depth it delivers water that has healing properties and a very salty taste) and even a community blog…
You can get to Ruhnu by ferry http://www.laevakompanii.ee
) or plane http://www.avies.com
). Or riding an ice floe, like did a brown bear from Latvia in spring 2006. He has caused a sensation in regional media (for long time there were no large carnivores on the island) and attracted a major tourist flow to the island that outnumbered permanent residents. He has also accidentally favoured the increase of sweets stock on the island, because one year later Latvian chocolate factory “Laima” gave a chocolate figure of a bear weighing 40 kg as a present to the islanders, so it took several months to first have it on display and then eat it up :)
Read more about Ruhnu at Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruhnu
or visit their website at http://www.ruhnu.ee/eng
or Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=52060497113