Winter Arrives, Otepää Crowned

21. December 2012

Astronomical winter arrived in Estonia at 13:11 today and Otepää, a small southern town known for hosting international ski races, became the winter capital.

Each year, Otepää takes on the ceremonial "Winter Capital" title as part of a seasonally rotating honor, with Türi as spring capital, Pärnu as summer capital and Narva as autumn capital.

This year the winter event will be celebrated by folk dancers - 200 of them from Tallinn, Türi, Pärnu, Narva and Valga County, said ETV.

Visitors to a winter market can buy handicrafts, food and gifts.
Last year the town celebrated the event with a paintball battle.

Otepää is the most well-known winter sports centre in the Baltics and the Winter Capital of Estonia. Otepää got its name, which in Estonian means "bear's head" after the shape of the castle hill - which reminds you of a bear's head. It's also where in 1224, Bishop Hermann started building the first known brick castle in Estonia, The Stone Fort.