Tourism / Routes of Excursions / A Walk Through Väike-Maarja


Eesti Vabariik 100
Georg Lurich
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A Walk Through Väike-Maarja

1. Museum and tourist i-centre.
2. Väike-Maarja Rescue Shool.
3. Monument of Freedom.
4. Mother-Tongue Park.
5. Previous pastorate.
6. Church.
7. The German Chapel.
8. The Land Chapel. The Mourning House.
9. Krusensterns` graves.
10. Graves of G. Lurich`s parents.
11. Väike-Maarja Municipal Offic.
12. Gross´s Food Store.
13. Schoolhouse.
14. J. Tamm`s grave.
15. P. Jakobson`s grave.
16. K. Reitel´s "Departure".
17. J. Elken`s grave.
18. The graves of K. Merilaas` mother and sister.
19. J. Kotli´s grave.
21. Parish clerks house, A. Kotli`s birthplace.
22. Kotli House.
23. New Kotli House.
24. G. Lurich`s birthplace.
25. A shop, previous Lurich`s House.
26. Police House, previous commune house.
27. Health centre.
28. Kindergarten House. Library. Internet point.
29. J. Liiv`s Park, monument.
30. Training Centre.
31. Gymnasium.
32. Culture House, previous house of Agricultural Society.
33. G. Lurich`s Stone.
34. Previous Meos` house.

1. Väike-Maarja Museum and Tourist Information Centre.
The local tourist info was opened in the museum in 2000. It gives plenty of information about the tourist objects in the municipality and the possibilities of tourism in Lääne-Virumaa and the whole country. Possibility to hire a guide.


2. Väike-Maarja Rescue School at 4 Jakob Liiv Street was founded as part of Väike-Maarja Training Centre in 1993. It became an independent educational institution in 1999. Firemen-rescuers as well as experts in fire fighting and rescue service are trained here. 


3. Our next stop is on Tamme Street at the Monument of Freedom  located directly across from the church. The Monument of Freedom is dedicated to the soldiers killed during World War I and the War of Estonian Independence (1918 -1920). It was first unveiled on 14 June, 1925, however it was destroyed on two occasions by Communists and Russians. It was restored under the leadership of the Väike-Maarja Heritage Society and was unveiled as it currently stands on 23 June, 1991


4. Mother-Tongue Park was established in Väike-Maarja Pastorate Park (partially also in Jakob Liiv Park and in front f the Museum) by winners of F. J. Wiedemann linguistic prize.  Winner of the prize is elected amongst researchers and developers and protectors of the Estonian language. By 2007, there were 27 prize winners; every one of them has planted his oak in the Park.


5. Main building of Väike-Maarja Pastorate, rectory at 3 Tamme Street was constructed in 1884.  It was residence of the pastor family up to the Soviet occupation. Today, there building houses the residence of the minister and children’s Sunday school. Some of the rooms have other tenants.


6. The Väike-Maarja church  is the namesake of the community; it was built in the 14th Century, in about 1375. The church is of gothic architecture and was constructed as a stronghold. The notable artifacts in the church are the altarpeice painted by E.F. Liphard in 1902, a circular cross dating from 1677 and the stained-glass window entitled "Jesus blesses the little children", restored by the glass-artist Riho Hütt. The stained-glass rose-window „The Annunciation“ by the same author was completed in 2003
 

7. The German chapel to the east from the church was completed about 1770. The roof was made of timber in the beginning. About 1820, the church got a tin-plate roof that was replaced by a new one in 1998. The Chapel was used by the German congregation consisting of Baltic-German squires.


8. The Land Chapel to the west from the Church was constructed for the native people congregation in the early 20th century. It was also referred to as the peasants’ or Estonian Chapel. After decay of the German Congregation after the Estonian War of Independence, funeral ceremonies were brought over to the German Chapel and the Estonian Chapel was mainly used as lumber room. From 1960 to 1991 it accommodated one of the vocational school workshops. Extensive reconstruction was completed in 1991. Since then the building is known as the Mourning House for funeral ceremonies.


9. Within the Väike-Maarja cemetery can be found burial sites of several renowned Estonian figures and families. The family of the famous navigator, Adam Johann von Krusenstern (Admiral of the first Russian voyage around the world), are buried at the western edge of the old churchyard. Here you will find the burial site of Admiral A.J.'s son, Vice-Admiral Paul Theodor von Krusenstern, his wife and their son Otto Paul von Krusenstern The Admiral himself is buried in the Tallinn Dome Church by special privilege granted by Russian Tsar Nikolai I.


10. Not far from this plot is the burial site of the Lurich family.
George Lurich was the acclaimed strong man for a 20-year period in the early 20th century - holding the title "Strongest Man in the World".
Within the churchyard can be found the burial places of parsons and educators of Väike-Maarja, such as Georg Magnus Knüpffer, Karl Theodor Knüpffer and other Baltic Germans.


11. Väike-Maarja Municipal Office at 7 Pikk Street with the Post Office, SEB Bank and offices of some private companies. The building was constructed in the late 1950s as the administrative facilities of Väike-Maarja District. It has also been the main building of Väike-Maarja Rural Vocational Training School and later the Training Centre. The Municipal Office moved in right after extensive reconstructions in 2002.


12. Gross’s Food Store at 9 Pikk Street, earlier Väike-Maarja Consumer Society shop "Edu". After extensive repairs and construction of a new wing in 2007, the ground floor building offers rich choices of foodstuff articles.


13. House of the primary stage of Väike-Maarja Gymnasium (Secondary School) at 23 Pikk Street is also known as Jostson’s Stone House, there is the special wooden wing for girls’ school constructed in 1902. The building has housed rooms for the parish school and Väike-Maarja 6-year Primary School. According to the design of architect Alar Kotli, the new left wing and second floor was completed in 1938.


14. 15. In the northernmost section of the old churchyard, entered through the northern gate, is found Jakob Tamm's last home and a bust of his likeness, created by Jaan Koort in 1912. Close to this location is the burial plot of Peeter Jakobson. Jakob Tamm and Peeter Jakobsen are both renowned writers from the turn of the 20th century.



16. In this same area is also found the monument "Departure - Bereaved Mother" sculpted by K. Reitel. It sculptures a mother who sends her son to the II World War. Until 1992 the sculpture was in the central square of Väike-Maarja.


17. The grave of Johan Elken, the meritorious local culture and society activist, lies in the southern part of the Graveyard close to Tamsalu Road. J. Elken was an outstanding figure in the Estonian National Movement, the first and long-time choir conductor, songwriter and initiator of Viru County song festivals.


18. To the left from the main path (from the main gates at Pikk Street) there are the graves of mother and sister to Kersti Merilaas, the Estonian poetess. K. Merilaas's sister Lydia died as a child when the family lived in Kiltsi. Her mother Ann Moorberg was buried near her daughter in 1966


19. To the left from the main gates there is the grave of Johan Kotli (reference) (see p 21).


21. The parish clerk from 1893 - 1933 was Johan Kotli. During this period, his home at 5 Simuna street was the gathering place for local educators as well as the guesthouse for the visitors of Väike-Maarja. Architect Alar Kotli was born and raised here.


22. Kotli House at 18 Pikk Street. Construction works of the house were initiated by Johan Kotli in 1900 (or may be 1912).  There were shops and flats in the house before WWII and mainly flats after the war. The house was removed to a new foundation lying to the east and renovation works were carried through. Georg’s Canteen, which earlier was accommodated at 16 Pikk Street, moved over in 2003.


23. New Kotli House at 20 Pikk Street. The house was designed as family house by Alar Kotli and completed in 1933. In the Soviet period, the house accommodated the local village soviet for a number of years. It is a private house today.


24. On the place where Georg’s Shop stands today at 16 Pikk Street, there was Kaarma Inn where the well-known Estonian muscle-man and wrestler Georg Lurich was born. He spent his childhood here until he was sent to school in Tallinn at the age of nine. By the beginning of the 20th century he held about 20 world records in weightlifting and wrestling. Up to the death of his parents (mother in 1901 and father in 1903), he visited Väike-Maarja frequently. There are many local legends spread from mouth to mouth about G. Lurich’s enormous power and helpfulness, friendliness and love towards children. Maidla House was built on the foundation of Kaarma Inn in the 1930s; Georg’s Canteen and Shop were opened here in 1998.


25. Construction of Lurich House at 14 Pikk was initiated by Georg Lurich senior. According to a local legend, it was Georg Lurich junior himself who carried the construction beams on his back. In 1907, the house was sold to Väike-Maarja Consumer Society that extended the house and built one more storey on top of the northern part in 1925. There are shops in the house even today.


26. Police House, the former Vao Municipal Office, at 8 Pikk Street. After merger of small manor municipalities, Väike-Maarja became the centre of Vao Municipality and a new municipal office house made of stone was constructed in 1894. Its commodious hall was used for having public festivals and staging plays before the construction of the society house was completed. In the Soviet period, the house accommodated the local health-care centre. The formed Vao Municipality was then Väike-Maarja Village Soviet, it became Väike-Maarja Municipality in 1991.


27. Väike-Maarja Social Care and Health Centre House at 1 Ravi Street was erected as hospital by Väike-Maarja Collective Farm in the early 1970s. The building houses the local Social Home, family doctors and a drug store.


28. Väike-Maarja Kindergarten House at 10 Lõuna Street was initiated by the local collective farm for local children (opened in 1984). In addition to the kindergarten, there is also the modern library (completed in 2001) with a public internet access point.


29. Jakob Liiv Park  dedicated to Jakob Liiv, a poet and teacher at the turn of the 20th century. His statue sculpted by Roman Haavamagi, stands in the center of the park. It was erected in 1938, six months after his death.Park was established in 1934 when students of Väike-Maarja Complementary School planted the first maple trees there.  Some more trees were planted in the 1950s.


30. Behind the Jakob Liiv Park is a prominent, modern architectural building originally built as the headquarters of the Väike-Maarja Collective Farm. It was built in 1990 and remained as the headquarters of the collective farm until 1993, when the collective farm was disbanded. From 1993 through 1999, it was the Business-Center and Municipal Government building of Väike-Maarja. Beginning in September 1999, the building became part of the expanded Väike-Maarja Vocational School.  In 2004 a modern hostel  (student home) was built as an extension.Väike-Maarja Training Centre (the former Rural Vocational Training School No 27) trains shop assistants, cooks, computer service providers, and machinery and car repair engineers.


31. Väike-Maarja Gymnasium (Secondary School) House at 1 Pikk Street was completed in 1976. It was erected on the site of the old secondary school house that was started by Väike-Maarja Education Supporting Society in 1921-1924 (and was on fire in 1970).


32. Public House at 2 Pikk Street is the former Väike-Maarja Agricultural Society building that was constructed in 1912. It was the largest public house made of stone in the countryside and it was completed within 8 months. One third of the funds were raised through donations, the remaining sums were borrowed and returned within 7 years from income earned from organising parties. The organisers were Jakob Liiv and Märt Meos. In the 1950s, it was Väike-Maarja District Culture House. Väike-Maarja Collective Farm initiated reconstruction works in the house, a wooden sculpture of Georg Lurich by G. Markelov was placed in the lobby and a plaque with bas-reliefs of Jakob Liiv and Märt Meos was installed. The windows were equipped with copper glazing by K. Kõrvits-Linde and the fresco “Mary Days” by E. Jänes was installed on the wall of the lobby.


33. At the beginning of Aia street there is a big stone memorial to Georg Lurich. It was opened in April 1966, on the 90th birthday of Georg Lurich. This is the location of his paternal uncle's farm.



34. Märt Meos House at 4 Jaama Street was constructed in 1926. The well-known education promoter and society activist Märt Meos lived in the house until it was nationalised in 1951. The house accommodated the nursery until the new kindergarten was completed. It is a private house today. There was a guest house in it in the 1990s.
Väike-Maarja Heritage Society installed a plaque on the wall of the house in 1991.