<p>The wooden windmills of Saaremaa island, located near the town of Leisi, have become a popular tourist attraction and the symbol of this, Estonia's largest island. "From Saaremaa, a breed of tough seafarers once harassed Viking cities in Sweden," says Priit Vesilind, author of "Up from the Ruins" in the November/December 2007 issue of <em>National Geographic Traveler. </em>"One of the best preserved medieval castles in northern Europe squats in Kuressaare, the island's capital. Saaremaa once relied on fishing and boatbuilding, but the island was the westernmost point of land in the U.S.S.R., thus a frontier area with missile sites. Westerners as well as most Estonians were barred. But, in the isolation, nature restored itself. Saaremaa now has several nature preserves."</p><p>Read more about Estonia in "Up from the Ruins" in the November/December 2007 issue of <em>National Geographic Traveler</em>.</p>

estonia wooden windmills

The wooden windmills of Saaremaa island, located near the town of Leisi, have become a popular tourist attraction and the symbol of this, Estonia's largest island. "From Saaremaa, a breed of tough seafarers once harassed Viking cities in Sweden," says Priit Vesilind, author of "Up from the Ruins" in the November/December 2007 issue of National Geographic Traveler. "One of the best preserved medieval castles in northern Europe squats in Kuressaare, the island's capital. Saaremaa once relied on fishing and boatbuilding, but the island was the westernmost point of land in the U.S.S.R., thus a frontier area with missile sites. Westerners as well as most Estonians were barred. But, in the isolation, nature restored itself. Saaremaa now has several nature preserves."

Read more about Estonia in "Up from the Ruins" in the November/December 2007 issue of National Geographic Traveler.

Photograph by Sisse Brimberg & Cotton Coulson, Keenpress

Estonia

See photos of Estonia in this travel photo gallery from National Geographic.

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