Photo Shoot: The Ladies of Kihnu Island

Photo Shoot: The Ladies of Kihnu Island

Kihnu island is part of Estonia, and one of the populated isles in the Baltic Sea. At 6.3 square miles, it’s the largest island in the Gulf of Riga. Kihnu is home to a small group of traditional people. 604 people live on Kihnu (circ. 2007) in four villages: Lemsi, Linaküla, Rootsiküla and Sääre.

Since the men of Kihnu are gone to sea for lengthy times to fish, the women run the island and became the guardians of the island’s fascinating cultural heritage, which includes rhythmic dances, hand made crafts, and music.

Getting to Kihnu by plane from Pärnu takes 15 minutes or travelers can ferry from either Pärnu, which takes 3 hours, or Manilaid, which takes an hour. During winter months when the sea is frozen over, it’s possible to drive to the island.

Kihnu’s women and their handmade striped skirts are famous worldwide. On November 7, 2003, UNESCO made Kihnu’s cultural space and traditions a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity”. The people of Kihnu speak a dialect of Estonian that is distinctive and is similar to Swedish.

For more information: Kihnu Island

Special Thank you to Kihnu Cultural Host, Mare Mätas and the beautiful ladies of Kihnu Island who performed for these images.

Kihnu’s women and their handmade striped skirts are famous worldwide. On November 7, 2003, UNESCO made Kihnu’s cultural space and traditions a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity”. The people of Kihnu speak a dialect of Estonian that is distinctive and is similar to Swedish.

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