The seasons, Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn, in whatever order you want to put them, are always 4. But there is a country, in Europe, in which the phenomenon of the “fifth season” occurs.
In Estonia, Northern Europe, there is a country that, due to a singular natural phenomenon, every year experiences one more season than the rest of the world.
Roughly half of Estonia is still the playground to the wilderness, even in today’s modernised world.
The European country, rich in natural beauties and fairytale towns, boasts also the presence of a large park, which every year is subject to a very particular climatic phenomenon.
Located in the south-west of the country, is the Soomaa Natural Park, a park of about 390 square kilometers, which is home to swampy forests and winding rivers.
It is an artificial park, created in 1993 to protect the biodiversity of Estonian nature.
And, characterized by coastal formations, it is also the largest European bog system.
These characteristics lead the area to be subject to the so-called “fifth season”: an annual flood, which occurs between winter and spring, and transforms the park into a huge lake.
The causes of the transformation of the Soomaa Natural Park is the melting of the snow on Mount Sakala, which increases the water level within the rivers that flow through the park.
The great plain is thus submerged because, being the largest European bog system, like a sponge, it absorbs all the water carried by the rivers. The amount of water that reaches the area in this period is ten times higher than that collected during the summer, completely changing the appearance of the territory.
Interestingly, the “fifth season” not only changes the territorial structure of the area, but also the lifestyle of its inhabitants.
Basically no one live inside the park and the few brave residents now know when to emigrate before being submerged.
Animals have also changed their lifestyle and, like humans, know the period of flooding and are preparing to leave the area in time, before the snow begins to melt.
However, in addition to the type of residence, the type of tourism in the park also changes, in fact, since walking and trekking excursions are no longer possible, tourists visit the park by canoe, enjoying the suggestive aspect of the landscape, even during this particular season.
The Estonian phenomenon is undoubtedly one of the most particular natural phenomena in the world, but with climate change underway it is not certain that it will be the only one to affect the area in the near future. In fact, it seems that a hydrology of the Estonian Agency for the Environment has stated that, due to the melting of the glaciers, it is possible to speak of “sixth season”, ie flood phenomena in the area south-west of Estonia, not only in the foreseen periods.
An anomalous condition compared to the “fifth season”, which has instead affected the territory for years and is part of its natural cycle.
And those looking to witness another natural spectacle should head over to Tuhala to see the witches’ well. As the water levels rise in spring, this well is known to overflow at a speed of 100 litres per second, creating an effect that is considered one of the most unique natural phenomenons in Europe.
Images from web – Google Research