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Gallery: Prime minister visits tiny island of Kihnu

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) visited the remote Western Estonian island of Kihnu on Wednesday, where he met with local government and civic leaders, visited singer Kihnu Virve and the site of the island's new rescue centre, among other things.

"I'm happy to say that since my last visit to the island of Kihnu, a number of issues important to Kihnu islanders have either progressed or been resolved," Ratas said according to a government press release. "The Traffic Act was amended to reflect the peculiarities of traffic on our small islands, construction has begun on a new rescue centre, and Kihnu Lighthouse, an important tourist hotspot on the island, is also currently undergoing renovations."

The prime minister also met with Mare Mätas, a local promoter of traditional Kihnu culture and the director of the Kihnu Cultural Space Foundation, to discuss opportunities for the preservation and promotion of Kihnu culture.

According to Ratas, a unique cultural heritage has survived on the island that needs to be preserved as authentically as possible. "We have to do everything we can to ensure that, even centuries from now, the songs and handicraft skills of Kihnu women as well as the island's community customs remain honoured," the prime minister said. "To reference words of Kihnu Virve's song 'Merepidu,' Kihnu is, will remain, and must be."

During his trip to the island, Ratas also met with the singer Kihnu Virve herself, who celebrated her 90th birthday in January, and visited Metsamaa Traditional Farm.

Kihnu's cultural space was inclded in UNESCO's list of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2003.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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