Arriving at the Ringsu Port of Ruhnu ...
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Panoramic photo by Vil Muhametshin PRO EXPERT MAESTRO Taken 07:05, 16/08/2008 - Views loading...

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Arriving at the Ringsu Port of Ruhnu island, Estonia

The World > Europe > Latvia

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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

http://www.visitestonia.com/en/ringsu-port-in-ruhnu

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Nearby images in Latvia

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A: Limo beach on Ruhnu island, Estonia

by Vil Muhametshin, 800 meters away

Limo beach on Ruhnu island, Estonia

B: At the watchtower of Ruhnu island, Estonia

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At the watchtower of Ruhnu island, Estonia

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St. Madeline's Church on Ruhnu island, Estonia

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Two Churches of Ruhnu island, Estonia

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This panorama was taken in Latvia, Europe

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Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.

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Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".

Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.

Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights.

In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states. 

Text by Steve Smith.

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