The so-called Kingdom of Torgu was formed back in 1992, soon after the Republic of Estonia gained independence from the Soviet Union. At the time, the Sõrve peninsula on the island of Saaremaa was divided into two municipalities, Salme and Torgu parish. But while the new constitution of Estonia was being formed, civil servants simply forgot to count in the Torgu parish at all. Thanks to this human error, this 48.8-square-mile area was technically not governed by the constitution.
The 500-odd people who lived in the area were surprised by this negligence, but soon decided to take advantage of the mistake. They came up with the idea of starting their own country, and calling it a kingdom. The throne was offered to a journalist and political activist named Kirill Teiter, who accepted it and became the first (and only) monarch to reign over the newly formed Kingdom of Torgu. The kingdom has its own flag, a coat of arms with a “snail-dragon” as the emblematic animal, and its own currency in coins, the “kirill,” with the worth of 1 kirill fixed to the price of a half-liter of local vodka.
When a new law was passed in 1993, the Torgu area was once again officially counted into the constitution, but the locals had grown fond of being in their own kingdom and continued to go along with it nonetheless. In 2017, all the municipalities on the island were merged into one, but the spirit of the kingdom still lives in the hearts of the local residents. You can see the Torgu flags waving and the coat of arms presented here and there throughout the former parish. The border marks delineating Torgu’s boundaries are used in commemorative days and anniversaries only, but if you head to the far end of Sõrve peninsula, you will definitely be inside the borders of the kingdom.
Know Before You Go
The map location points to a local shop where you can find some of the royal regalia like postcards and stamps. This region has some other well-known sights inside the borders of the kingdom: The Sõrve Military Museum, Stebel Military Defence Battery, and Sõrve Lighthouse are the most well-known places to visit.