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NEWS

 

04.12.2007News briefs

News briefs

04.12.2007

Just before Christmas, Estonia will join the Schengen Visa area. The Schengen Visa conditions will take effect at the Estonian overland borders and seaports as of December 21, and Estonian airports from March 30, 2008, when airlines switch over to their summer schedules. The eastern border of Estonia, which is also the external border of the European Union and the Schengen area, will maintain strict border crossing procedures. The other new members joining the Schengen area along with Estonia are Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Slovakia, and Slovenia. For information on traveling in the Schengen area: www.vm.ee

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Many hotels in Tallinn are offering discount prices in December and January. For information on special hotel packages on offer during the holiday season, cultural events and other ways to spend your free time in Tallinn, see the Tallinn tourism website in English, Swedish and Norwegian.

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February 24, 2008 will mark 90 years since the declaration of the independent Republic of Estonia. Events celebrating the state’s anniversary began on November 28, and will last until November 28 of the coming year. Read about the events planned for the anniversary year on the website dedicated to the 90th anniversary at www.eesti90.ee. It is interesting to note that this celebratory year is framed by the anniversaries of Estonia’s neighbours to the north and south: the Republic of Finland celebrated its 90th anniversary on December 6, 2007, and the Republic of Latvia celebrates its 90th on November 18, 2008.

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On the initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a virtual Estonian embassy was founded in the Internet-based virtual world Second Life. The virtual embassy, opened on December 4, welcomes anyone interested in Estonia. The embassy has a reception room, conference room, art gallery and technology room, and various events are planned, including exhibitions, concerts and lectures. The first exhibit, Blue-Black-and-White in Estonian Art, is dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia. Other materials related to the anniversary are also on show. For more information and pictures of the virtual embassy, see: www.vm.ee

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The Tallinn tourism website now has a list of cultural events in 2008, available in all the languages of the site – English, German, Russian, Swedish and Finnish. Selected events are described in more detail on the opening page (also in all languages). The database available on the English page allows users to search for events taking place in the city by event type and date.

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The new Tallinn Product Manual, a handbook for tourism professionals renewed every autumn, came out at the end of October. Annual updating has also begun on the main tourist publication, the city break brochures. The first brochure has been published in English, to be followed by Finnish and German versions this year; in February and March, 2008, Russian, Swedish and French brochures will become available. All current marketing materials can be seen at the TCTO&CB webpages for travel trade professionals.

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At the Chef of the Year competition in early November, Oleg Sõtsov of the Savoy Boutique Hotel’s restaurant, L’Arancia, was named this year’s best chef in Estonia. Second place was awarded to Lasse Luks, of Aed restaurant, and third place went to Aleksandr Shitikov, from the Kadriorg restaurant. The competition, in its 13th year, has been organised since 1995 by the Estonian Chefs’ Association for the advancement and promotion of Estonian cuisine and restaurant culture.

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Senso, in the Reval Hotel Olümpia, began a wine dinner series in September. The restaurant’s sommelier presents a wine at the dinner, and the head chef prepares a gourmet, four-course dinner especially designed to best bring out the wine’s flavor. This dinner series, with menus taking inspiration from the wine, is the first of its kind in Estonia. Wine dinners take place once a month in Senso’s banquet hall, and tickets cost 650 EEK. For additional information contact: Kairi Lipstok, Reval Hotel Olümpia marketing director.

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The open-air ice rink was reopened in the Old Town next to St. Nicholas’ Church in the middle of November. The artificial ice rink will be open every day from 10:00 to 22:00 until the end of March, even if the air temperature is as warm as 10-15ºC. For tickets, skate rental prices and other additional information: www.uisuplats.ee

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The Estonian Tourist Board will open a new tourism website on Estonia in 2008. Instead of developing the existing site www.visitestonia.com any further, a new one will be created from scratch. The URL address will remain the same, as will its target groups, including both tourists and tourism professionals. The webpages intended for the latter will have restricted access and contain more information than before. The new website will be launched in time for the tourist season, initially in English, German, Russian, Finnish and Estonian, with other languages to follow in the future.

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On November 16, the Education, Youth and Culture Council of the European Union confirmed Turku (Finland) and Tallinn as culture capitals of Europe for the year 2011. Mikko Fritze, former head of Tallinn’s Goethe Institute, will assume the post of director of Tallinn 2011, the foundation in charge of preparing Tallinn for the role of culture capital, in February 2008. It is too early to speak even in general terms of the programme for Tallinn’s culture capital year, but some noteworthy larger plans include the long-awaited addition to the City Theatre and the development of the Culture Cauldron (Kultuurikatel) and beach promenade in the harbour area.

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