Tourism / Sights in Väike-Maarja Municipality

Eesti Vabariik 100
Georg Lurich
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Sights in Väike- Maarja Municipality

Ebavere hill is 146 m high. From the lookout tower one has beautiful view of the whole Pandivere Upland. The poet from Väike-Maarja, Jakob Tamm, has written a collection of 16 sonnets on the sacred oakwood on the hill and many other shorter poems. Other writers have written about Ebavere: Jakob Liiv, Peeter Jakobson , Kersti Merilaas, Erich Meerja. Eduard Leppik has included seven legends about Ebavere hill in his "Stories about Väike- Maarja".

There are seven extremely deep Äntu lakes with clear water, the largest being Valgejärv, Vahejärv and Sinijärv. Sinijärv is considered to be one of the most unique lakes in the Baltic countries because of its transparency (12- 15 m) and the very intensive green- blue colour.

Äntu Punamägi is the site of 3- part fortification of the ancient Estonians called Agelinde. The fortress was protected by water from both sides: in the west there is the brook Järveoja, in the east there is the river Kärsa. The different parts of the fortress were separated from each other by walls and ditches.

Kiltsi castle, originally built in 1292, was destroyed in many wars and rebuilt in the 19th century, when it was owned by the Krusenstern family.
The admiral Adam Johann von Krusenstern led the first Russian circumnavigation of the world in 1803- 1806. His most important works were written in Kiltsi, including "The Atlas of the Southern Seas". In 1995 a memorial room about the Krusenstern was opened in a tower of the castle.

Varangu manor complex was built in the 18th century. The artist Eduard Viiralt (1898- 1954) spent his youth (1909- 1918) in the estate manager's house.

The Varangu Springs are the largest and most beautiful springs in the water protection area.

Vao manor buildings were mostly built in the 18th century by the aristocratic family of the Rennenkampffs. The oldest building in Vao is the tower- fortress, built in the 2nd half of the 14th century- it is a unique mediaeval vassal's dwelling from Old Livonia. The tower was restored in 1986. The exhibits in Vao museum give information about Vao manor (all the buildings have survived, except for the main building which burnt down in 1918), the village and family history of the Rennenkampffs.

The Estonian composer and conductor Tuudor Vettik (1898-1982) was born in Uniküla. His birthplace is marked by a memorial stone.

The writer Eduard Vilde (1865- 1933) was born in Pudivere. His birthplace is also marked with a memorial stone.

The oldest building is the Väike- Maarja Church, built in the second half of 1370s. It is a 3-nave church in gothic style with walls that are up to 2,4 m thick. In the church one can see the altar painting "Going to heaven" by E. v. Liphart and the window glass in lead "Jesus blessing the children".

In the churchyard there is the family burial place of the owner of Kiltsi manor, vice- admiral Paul Theodor von Krusenstern; also the graves of the parents of the famous athlete Georg Lurich are situated there. Georg Lurich was born in the Kaarma Inn in 1876 (now 16 Pikk Street). A memorial stone to Georg Lurich is situated in Väike- Maarja at the beginning of Aia Street.

In front of church, in the park of the pastorate, there is a War Memorial to the fallen in the War of Independence and World War I.

The grave of Peeter Jakobson is also nearby, it has a gravestone with a cast iron cross.

The house at 5 Simuna road is the birthplace of the famous architect Alar Kotli. His father Johan Kotli was the local parish clerk and a respected public figure.

The former parish school is situated at 3 Pikk Street. Since 1988 it has been the local museum.

In the park there is a monument to Jakob Liiv which was built in the year 1938 by Roman Haavamägi. The writer Jakob Liiv was one of the leaders of the social life.

Under the leadership of Jakob Liiv and Märt Meos, the largest society house of its time in Estonia was in 1912. It originally took 8 months to build; the former house of the farmers' society is now the cultural centre at 2 Pikk Street.

The building of Väike-Maarja Study Centre at 1A Pikk Street. It was built by the Väike- Maarja collective farm as its main office. The building was completed in 1990, having been designed by architect Meeli Truu, with interior design by Mare Puusepp.

Jakob Tamm is buried in the old cemetery. The monument on his grave includes a bust by Jaan Koort.

 At 4 Jaama Street there is the house of Märt Meos, which was built in 1925. Märt Meos was the headmaster of the parish school in 1907- 1919, a school councillor of Virumaa Country in 1920- 1944, and one of the founders of Estonian school system.

The district of Simuna

There is a meteorite crater in the forest of Orguse on the way from Pudivere to Simuna. It is the sixth largest crater with its diametre of 8,5 m.This meteorite probably came from the east and fell deep into the forest in 1937. It exploded above Roela and fell on the earth. This crater was discovered 50 years later. Pieces of the meteorite are not found yet.

Avanduse estate was first mentioned in 1494. It was completed in 1679-1684 when the manor house was built. The present cornered manor house was built in several stages in the18th-19th centuries.Since 1849 the estate was the home of Admiral Friedrich Benjamin Lütke (1797-1882), an explorer, the President of the Academy of Science of St. Petersburg and a founder and the Chairman of the Russian Society of Geography.

Simuna church is one of the oldest in Estonia as the Dome Church in Tallinn (13th century) although its exact building time is unknown. It has been destroyed in wars and rebuilt again several times during centuries. The present church with three aisles was built in the first half of the 15th century. The altar by Chr. Ackermann, a famous wood carver, was completed in 1685. The altarpiece was made by Carl Sigismund Walther at the beginning of the 19th century. The organ was built in 1889 by Gustav Normann and so it is one of the oldest organs made by an Estonian.

The family of Carl Kügelgen, a famous landscapist and Karl von Neff, an artist, a professor of the Academy of Arts in St.Petersburg and the founder of Muuga estate, rest in Simuna churchyard. Some members of the von Pauckers' family and Wilhelm Normann, a local educator, a leading member of the society and the parish clerk in Simuna for over 60 years, have been buried here.

The monument in front of the church is dedicated to the fallen soldiers of Simuna parish. The motto on the monument means "Better to die as a free man than to live as a slave". There are the names of 132 men carved in the stone who fell in the War of Independence, in World War I or were killed by communists.The monument was unveiled in 1927, destroyed by communists in 1946 and unveiled again under the leadership of the Heritage Society in 1989.

Katku spring south of the church is the head of the Pedja river. "Katk" meant a hole of a spring in old usage. The Pedja river is 127 km long and its head is under the floor of a previous milk-cooling room. The spring gives so much water that it is possible to start a canoe-trip just at the head of the river.

Less than 1km along Laekvere road on the right there is a column, 1.2m high, called Struve's pillar or Katku stone. It marks the meridian-measuring under the guidance of Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Struve, a geodesist and an astronomer of the Tartu University, in 1816-1855 (in Simuna in May, 1827). The geodetic arc of F.G.W.Struve was added into the list of the World Heritage in 2005. Two of the three preserved points in Estonia are near Simuna.

About 1 km by Käru road on the left there is Mällo reservoir. It has been dammed up on the Pedja river. The water is very clear and limpid even in deep places.

In Käru village left of the road there is the childhood home of Aleksander Suuman, a writer and artist (1927-2003).

In Käru village right of the road there is the memorial stone of Juhan Kukk. He was one of the authors of the Manifesto of Independence of Estonia. He was born in Käru village in 1885 and studied at Salla-Käru Village School and Väike-Maarja Parish School. He was a member of the Estonian Country Council in 1917, a minister in several governments in 1918 -1921, the Speaker of Estonian Parliament in 1921-1922 and the Prime Minister in 1922-1923. J. Kukk was the initiator of the co-operation movement in Estonia.