Bettany Hughes: Treasures of the World, 13 April 2024, Channel 4, “Estonia”

Channel 4

In this episode of Bettany Hughes: Treasures of the World, the renowned historian and broadcaster takes viewers on a captivating journey to Estonia, a country with a rich history shaped by its neighboring powers: Russia, Scandinavia, and Germany. The episode, “Estonia“, airing on Channel 4 on Saturday, April 13, promises to uncover the nation’s unique culture, which blends modernity with ancient traditions.

Bettany Hughes, an English historian, author, and broadcaster, is known for her expertise in classical history and her ability to bring the past to life. In this installment, she travels to Estonia, a country that has been fought over and ruled by foreign empires throughout its history. Estonia is now an independent nation, embracing both modern innovations and ancient traditions from rural life in the forest and sea.

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Hughes begins her exploration by boarding a ferry to Saaremaa, often referred to as Estonia’s “Viking Island.” Here, she discovers a sacred burial site hidden in a forest clearing, providing evidence of human sacrifice. This chilling discovery underscores the interplay between archaeology and myth, as Hughes notes, “archaeology backs up the myths.

The episode also takes viewers to the Estonian island of Kihnu, where women have traditionally held dominant roles due to the long absences of their sailor husbands and fathers. Hughes highlights the unique status and respect accorded to post-menopausal women in Kihnu society, a refreshing contrast to the typical narrative.

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In Tallinn, Hughes explores the history of a massive medieval shipwreck and visits the Niguliste Church Museum. She also ventures west to the island of Kihnu, considered the last matriarchy in Europe. Hughes’s journey through Estonia offers a blend of ancient traditions, archaeological discoveries, and the nation’s ongoing quest to forge its own path.

This fascinating episode of Bettany Hughes: Treasures of the World, airs on Channel 4 at 6:00 pm on Saturday, April 13, 2024.

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