Since ancient times, Estonia has been an important gateway between the Nordic Countries of Scandinavia and the East. For far travelled vikings, Estonia was the beginning of the eastern trade route Austrvegr, which crossed with the Silk Route in Persia. Historical importance of this route for the vikings has been well explained by Marika Mägi in her award winning book “In Austrvegr: The Role of the Eastern Baltic in Viking Age Communication across the Baltic Sea” (2018).
The key element and Estonia’s most precious asset is it’s geographical location on the southern shore of Gulf of Finland, right across the Baltic Sea from the Mälaren area, which used to be the most important power-, trade-, cultural- and religious centre for entire pre-christian Nordic region since arrival of the Æsir and Vanir tribes led by Odin (somewhere around year 100-50 BC). It is not known by many, that the last resting place of Odin is located on a small mysterious Estonian island Odensholm (meaning Odin’s mound in Swedish).
A remarkable archeological evidence of Austrvegr are the Salme Ship Burials dating to about AD 750, longest of which is the oldest proof of using sail on the Baltic Sea.