Gallery: Historic boat retraces Coastal Swedes' journey to Ukraine

A wooden boat will retrace a historic journey by Estonian Swedes between Hiiumaa and Ukraine and organizers says it underlines the country's important ties with Europe

The Runbjarn set sail from Tallinn's Noblessner Harbor on Sunday and will take around a year to complete its voyage to the village of Gammalsvenskby on the Black Sea coast.

It is modeled on a historic ship from the 1700s which Estonian Swedes, also known as Coastal Swedes, used to flee the island of Hiiumaa after the Great Northern War (1700–1721). They eventually wound up in Ukraine and founded the village in 1782.

"Our homage will re-tie the knot that was torn apart after the Great Northern War," Runbjarn's boatswain Eero Alamaa told Sunday's "Aktuaalne kaamera".

The trip carries an important message about the ties between Ukraine, Estonia and Europe, the program said.

The boat will sail to Kiel, Rotterdam, Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt, Vienna and Budapest and stay in central Europe over the winter. 

Gammalsvenskby, which translates as Old Swedish Village, is now a region of the village of Zmiivka in Beryslav Raion, Kherson Oblast.

Russia, Denmark-Norway, and Saxony-Poland challenged the supremacy of Sweden in the Baltic area during the Great Northern War. The outcome led to the decline of Swedish influence and the emergence of Russia as a major regional power.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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