Tourism / Routes of Excursions / A tour from Väike-Maarja to Simuna


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A tour from Väike-Maarja via Simuna

Väike-Maarja - Müüriku-Triigi- Eipri-Lebavere- Avistea-Määri-Simuna-Käru-Avanduse-Orguse- Pudivere- Kärsa- Äntu- Kaarma



1. Müüriku

Lisette Hoffmann 15.07.1996 in Müüriku manor Müüriku (Marienhof) manor was situated at the distance of 1 kilometer from Väike-Maarja, on the road to Simuna. It was founded in the 19th century by a merchant from Tallinn, called P. J. Hoffmann. He bought a tenant farm and opened a shop. There was no competition and he became rich in no time at all. Proper manor houses were built, including a long wooden main building that has been preserved up to our time, also a small building for officials that traverses the main building. In a building situated behind, the former Väike-Maarja school for girls was opened in 1902. In the building for officials there was the first hospital in Väike-Maarja with four beds at the end of the 19th century and one of the offspring of the Hoffmanns was a doctor. The manor itself was sold already in 1891 to an Estonian called Jaan Allik who had become wealthy running a tavern.
Vainu Tare
The road takes a turn to the left after you have passed the manor buildings. On the right hand side of the road there is the cross-country racing track. Onwards, there is a currently operating party, eating and housing facility Vainu Tare that has been built on the mighty quarrystone walls already during the Soviet time. There is the camping and barbeque field behind the facility, the area for campers is under construction.

2. Triigi

Main building of Triigi manor 1991 Ancient Triigi manor was situated 5 kilometers east of V-Maarja. A low stone building built in the middle of the 19th century received wooden wings and the façade received a superstructure with abundantly decorated arched windows and a two-storied balcony with pillars in 1904. The last owner of the manor was a model farmer Arthur von Gruenewaldt, there were several breeding farms in the manor. Triigi state farm was a wealthy farm for many a year after the war. In the main building there was situated the offices of the state farm (later on the collective farm), cultural center, library. The fire of 1999 turned it into ruins.

In the big park that is in relatively good order there are 3 spring ponds, one of them has a beautiful arched bridge.

3-6. Eipri, Lebavere, Männisalu bunker, Rohu rocket base, Lebavere battle ground.

“Forest brother” Mihkel At the end of Eipri village there is an ostrich farm(3) that belongs to the Anderssons in Adra farm. It was founded a few years ago. Behind the farm buildings in an enclosed area it is possible to watch female, male and young birds walking around proudly.

In former Lebavere village (now Avispea) in the large Tamm family of forest workers there lived Martin Tamm, who – as a forest brother – spent 10 years in 4 different dugouts in the forests of the area. In the bunker built 4-5 kilometers from his home in Männisalu forest he lived the last 6 tears leading to his arrest in 1954. That bunker (4) has been reconstructed. In the picnic area there is posted some information about the forest brothers and about Martin Tamm. It is also possible to meet the “forest brother” called Mihkel, when you book it in advance.

Hikers in the rocket hangar 3 kilometers to the south from the bunker there is the former Rohu rocket base (5): one part of the Soviet nuclear rocket base that was situated in Rakvere district. Another like that was situated in the forests of Kadila (about 10 kilometers from Rohu base). Command structure was in Rakvere. The base was operational in the years 1960-1970, it was liquidated as being morally out-dated in 1978. In principle the ruins have remained but some rocket, maintenance and storage hangars and also some take off fields have been preserved. At the beginning of Rohu base on the information board there is some information about the base (there is also a leaflet in the box); in the rocket hangar there is information about the 4 types of rockets there were in use in the Soviet Union, including R-12 that were situated in Rohu and Kadila.

Memorial stone for K. Kasesalu 1 kilometer from the former Lebavere village towards Avispea, in the forest there is the Lebavere battle ground (6). At the beginning of September 1941 there were almost 200 troops of the Red Army in Lebavere forest that had fallen behind of the units withdrawing towards Narva. Local Self-Defence Force under the command of Lieutenant T. Undla gathered 46 (48?) men. The enemy was attacked in several stages and was forced to flee. 14 men from the Red Army were killed and 8 were wounded in the battle. Kaarel Kasesalu, Lebavere forester, was killed as well. There is a memorial stone for him in the battlefield. It was hidden during the Soviet times but the memorial was unveiled again in 1996, on the 55th anniversary of the battle.

7-8. Avispea

Avispea former schoolhouseAvispea village is situated 1.5 kilometers east of Triigi and has been named already in 1219 in the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia (as Auispe). Jakob Liiv came to Avispea in 1880, worked here until 1883 as a teacher and later on worked already in the new schoolhouse during 1886-1901. J. Liiv was a renowned teacher and an active participant in societies: he founded a choir, he participated in activities of societies in Väike-Maarja: he was singing in the male choir of teachers, he staged the first plays. His brother Juhan, having temporarily stayed with Jakob, wrote his first poems here.

Later on, a respected teacher and participant in the activities of societies, August Lepik, worked in the school for almost 40 years. There is a memorial plaque for both A. Leppik and J. Liiv on the wall of the shcool.

Nearby there is Avispea church of free congregation that was completed with the help of money from donations and the work of the members of congregation in 1935. Next to it there is a small building of the new bus stop, choir stand, swing and party ground with camping possibilities established by the village society.

Memorial stone in the home of T. Vettik Further on along the road, to the left of Uniküla stop, there is the birthplace and childhood home (8) of Tuudur (born Feodor Fabian) Vettik, a composer and conductor of song festivals. T. Vettik attended Avispea school where he learned his first violin pieces under the enthusiastic teaching of A. Leppik. While learning in Väike-Maarja parish school he already conducted a mixed and a male choir, both founded by T. Vettik himself. There is a beautiful memorial stone marking his birth place.

9. Määri

Birch parkway in Määri manor On the road to Simuna there is Määri manor that belonged to the Wrangells in the 15th century. An outstanding surgeon and medical scientist Werner Zoege von Manteuffel (1857-1926) was born in the wooden manor house built in the 19th century. He performed the first heart surgery in Estonia in 1903, he was the honorary physician in ordinary of Tsar Nicholas II, the leading surgeon of the First World War. 1818-1820 he was the surgeon in chief in the War of Independence of Estonia.

The main building of the manor no longer exists today, it was finally destroyed in 1900. Only the park with the pond and a neat birch parkway have remained.

10. Simuna, Struve stone.

Struve stoneIn the field along Laekvere road, about 1 kilometer before Simuna settlement there is a granite column that marks measuring the length of the meridian curve. In the flat land and bare lands of the area the Tartu astronomer and geodesist Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Struve (1793-1864) measured the basic line of 4.5 kilometer from the current stone column to the Võivere windmill in order to determine the exact perimeter and shape of the Earth with the help of it. In 1849, the friends of G. W. Struwe, the explorers F. B. Lütke and F. Wrangell erected the above mentioned granite column to the starting point of the basic line.

15th July 2005 the geodetic curve of Tartu astronomer F. G. W. Struve was listed in the UNESCO world heritage list; three points of the curve have been preserved in Estonia – one at the granite column of Struve, the other at Võivere windmill and the third near Tartu observatory.

11. Simuna church and churchyard

Simuna church Simuna church is one of the oldest in Estonia together with the Dome Church in Tallinn (13th century). It was named after Saint Simona and called the church of St Siimon of Katkuküla. In the first half of the 15th century the three-naved church was built, it was rebuilt during 1728-29 and also 1885-86. A part of the tower that served the defence purposes has been preserved. A famous wood carver Chr. Ackermann made the altar in 1685. At the beginning of the 19th century Carl Sigismund Walther painted the altarpiece. The organ was built in 1889 by master Gustav Normann making it one of the oldest organs built by an Estonian master.

The visitors have a possibility to climb up to the lookout platform of the bell tower with a magnificent view over the area around the church. The tower is 53.5 meters high.

Burial place of the Neff family in the churchyard There are many famous people buried in Simuna churchyard. The family of a famous landscape artist Carl von Kügelgen is resting here and also Karl von Neff, the professor of St Petersburg Academy of Arts and the founder of Muuga manor, whose paintings can be found in St. Petersburg, Nice and London.

12. Monument

Freedom monument in SimunaFreedom monument in front of the church is dedicated to the dead soldiers of Simuna parish. There is the motto on the monument, reading: “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.

13. Katku spring and hiking trail.

Katku spring – the starting point of the Pedja river The 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 122 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.

Near the spring there is a resting place with a swing and a seat. The nature learning and hiking trail of Simuna School also ends here, starting behind the school building. However, the hike (5 kilometers) can also begin at the spring and the trail can be covered from the opposite direction (following the signs and information)

14-17. Mällo reservoir. Home of A. Suuman. Käruveski. Home of J. Kukk.


Home of A. Suuman About 1 kilometer from Simuna to Käru east of the road there is Mällo reservoir (14), that has been established on the Pedja river. The water is very clear, the bottom is visible for several meters, however, lately the algae are growing lavishly in the reservoir. The water is slightly too cold to swim in. The temperature of the water does not rise above 12 degrees also in hot summers. It is caused by springs. Driving towards Käru village, a short while after Karaski stop turning right at the fork on the Metsaküla road turning left (towards the east) in Kõrve there is the home (15) of poet and artist Aleksander Suuman (1927-2003). At the bend near the hill there was his birth place (it has been destroyed), further on there is the house where the Suuman family had lived since 1936. A. Suuman went to Simuna basic school and Väike-Maarja Secondary School.

Unveiling the memorial stone of J. Kukk, 15 April  2000 Along the same road to the right in Tuulikvere there is situated the home of actor Hugo Laur (1893-1977). Driving straight on and then turning right the road leads to Käruveski (16). There is the trout farm that has been founded in the reservoir and spring ponds in Pedja. Käru-Simuna road is a few kilometers off to the west.

On the same road next to a bus stop a sign is pointing towards the site of the birthplace of politician Juhan Kukk (1885-1942) (17), where there is a memorial plaque on a large quarrystone to commemorate the statesman. The future politician attended Salla-Käru village school, 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.

18. Avanduse manor (back from Käru)

Main building of Avanduse manor 500 meters from the church to the west in the park there is Avanduse manor that belonged to the Taubes at the end of the 15th century. Current magnificent 95-meter long manor house was built in several stages with some of its oldest parts being the old baroque manor built in 1760ies (right wing) and the reconstructed governor building on the left.

In 1849 the estate was bought at the recommendation of a friend F. Wrangell, to become the summer home of a famous Russian explorer and geographer of German decent Friedrich Benjamin Lütke (1797-1882). The admiral traveled several times around the world, explored the Arctic Ocean, Novaja Zeml’a and the Far East , 3 islands, 2 bays, a strait, a stream and 8 other places are named after him. He was the President of the Academy of Science of St. Petersburg and the Chairman of the Russian Society of Geography. The manor has the memorial plaque of Lütke.

The main building of the manor house underwent thorough reconstruction works during 1899-1902 under the command of R. Engelhardt, in the course of which a two-storey hall-complex with a large hallway and curved windows in harmony with the older part was added. A vestibule with a staircase (the renovations are going on), a dining room with wood panels, a hall, door and window decorations and a tiled stove (1785) have been preserved on the interior. After nationalization of the manor in the building there was a school of agriculture, machine-tractor station, office of a state farm and Avanduse rural municipality government. Right now Simuna rural municipality district government, Simuna department of Väike-Maarja Music School, library, youth center and Simuna Women’s club use the building. In the park there is a memorial for the soldiers who died on the Russian side in WWII.

19. Võivere windmill.

Location of the starting point of Struve arch in Võivere, that J. Aavik refers to There is Võivere windmill on Simuna-Väike-Maarja road. Not far from it, under the replaced turf, there is the stone marking the starting point of Struve meridian arch with a sign. All three of them together with the Struve column and Tartu observatory they are in the UNESCO world heritage list.

20. Orguse meteorite crater

There is a meteorite crater in the forest of Orguse on the way from Avanduse manor from Orguse to Pudivere. It is a crater with the diameter of 8.5 meters and about 2 meters deep, resembling a shell crater

E. Pirrus and J. Aavik examining the meteorite crater 11 June 1991On 1st of June 1937 aluminous fireball was visible in the eastern skies that was comparable with the moon, it was slowly coming closer, then stopped all of a sudden and turned into a silvery-white could of smoke while a thunder-like rumble was heard. The cloud itself remained in the skies for about two hours. The scientists called the phenomenon bolide – a large bright meteorite entering the dense layers of the Earth’s atmosphere. It exploded east of Roela settlement at the height of 28 kilometers and fell into several pieces that continued flying towards the surface of the Earth. Orguse crater is thought to have been caused by a piece of metal the size of a bucket. The crater was discovered only in 1984.

21. Pudivere manor. Birth place of E. Vilde.


Mansion of Pudivere under reconstruction Having reached from Orguse to Määri- Äntu road, there is Pudivere manor (21) in the park with ancient oak trees to the north of the road. The wooden main building, ornate with columns and balconies decorated with wooden lace was finished in 1897. At the beginning of the 20th century the manor was owned by the Bremens of Avanduse. The building burned in 1999 but renovation work has been started by now.

Memorial on the alleged birthplace of E. VildeIn 1862 Jüri Vilde, the father of E. Vilde came to Pudivere manor to work as an estate labourer. Famous Estonian writer Eduard Vilde (1865 - 1936) was born in Pudivere manor. The memorial stone marking the birth place of E. Vilde is situated near the former house of the estate labourer, less than 1 kilometer along Äntu-Määri road, from the heart of the manor.

22. Nadalama. Kärsa.

Main building of Kärsa manor 1908 The road to Nadalama linear village turns left from Määri–Äntu road. There was a village schoolhouse (present dwelling) in the middle of the village east of the road. Priidik Brehm, a well-known musician worked here as a teacher for many years. He conducted choirs and tried to compose. His daughter Paula Brehm-Jürgenson (1887-1941) was one of the first concert- and oratorio-singers (soprano) in Estonia. She studied at Väike-Maarja parish school and learned singing in Dresden and Berlin.

From Nadalama it is possible to go to Kärsa Estate via Kurtna.The main stone building with an open verandah with round columns was built at the end of the 18th century.

After the nationalization of manors at the beginning of the Estonian Republic the heart of the manor stayed in the Breems’ possession. Before leaving for Germany in 1939 the manor was sold to the Pooms. At the end of the 1950ies the second storey was added to the manor house for the workers of the state farm. The hall on the first floor was used for film-shows and parties. In early 90ies the manor was given back to Ants Poom who started renovating the buildings. After his death the work was interrupted. The present owner has promised to continue it.

23-24. Äntu artificial lake, fish farm, springs.

Äntu artificial lake so-called reservoir About 1 kilometer to the west of Uguri crossroads there is Äntu water reservoir established during the time of collectives, it is the favourite spot for the locals to go swimming. The banks are slanting. There is also a sandy swimming area suitable for children. There is a camping site by the lake. The hiking track leads to Lake Sinijärv from there.

Äntu springs Nearby on the dammed ponds of the river Nõmme there is a fish farm. In the ponds one can see scores of larger and smaller trout swimming around. It is also possible to buy fish there.

To the south from the manor from the Äntu springs (24) along the old road the river Nõmme starts. It is one of the four places around here where the Põltsamaa river starts.

25. Äntu manor.

Main building of Äntu manor 1937At the road there is the site of ancient Äntu manor. From 1832 the manor has belonged to von Harpe. There was exemplary horticulture and cattle breeding in Äntu manor.

Chimney of Äntu distillery The main building of the manor burned at the beginning of the 1970ies. In the overgrown park the remains of the main building are hard to find, of other buildings the ruins of the distillery with its hewed limestone chimney are better preserved.

26. Kaarma manor.

Officials’ building of Kaarma manorOnly the building for officials near the pond has been preserved. Instead of the current gas station and garage there used to be Kaarma lime burning furnaces. From the garage and the shop towards Ebavere hill there is a small open-air table for drinking beer has been established in a former lime furnace. The round inner wall of the furnace has been covered with turf, however at times some limestone used for making the stove is also visible. The footpath that continues from the spot has cut through Kaarma limestone quarry.

esting place established within the country furnace in Kaarma In Kaarma manor there used to be a famous distillery (that was still operational during the Soviet times), there was also a sawmill for the use of the manor.

During the times of Väike-Maarja collective farm in Kaarma there used to be a large production center. There was a maltose factory, boiler house, maintenance station for machinery, slaughterhouse, tin factory, cattle farms, protein factory was nearby.