Tourism / Routes of Excursions / A tour from Väike-Maarja via Ebavere - Kiltsi


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A tour from Väike-Maarja via Ebavere - Kiltsi

1. Kaarma Manor
Kaarma estate was first mentioned in 1538. The Limbergs owned the manor from the beginning of the 20th century up to the radical land reform in Estonia at the beginning of the 20th century.
Only the house of estate employees by the pond has preserved of the dwellings of the manor and the partly rebuilt distillery of the manufacturing buildings. The distillery was built by an owner I. Pale in 1888.

Objects of the Pandivere Limestone Road are introduced during this tour. Lime State on the Spring of Springs connects the lime objects, nature- and historical sights of four neighbouring  municipalities  - Tamsalu, Väike-Maarja, Rakke, Laekvere.

At the place of the present petrol station and garage there were the ovens for burning lime of the Kaarma Manor. The place next to the shop, where you can sit and have a res, was one of the ovens whose upper part has crumbled. In some places the wall stones can be seen through the grass. In this territory there were several Limberg’s ovens side by side. The cycle lane passes the Kaarma quarry just before the Ebavere fields. Väike-Maarja church, clubhouse, commune house (police house) are probably built of Kaarma limestone.


2. Ebavere Hill
Ebavere Hill is about 3 km south of Väike-Maarja on the west side of the main road. The Ebavere area is a beautiful forest setting with walking and skiing paths. The hilly terrain is topped by Ebavere Hill and a look-out tower at 146 m above sea level. The story goes that Tharapita, the great god of the inhabitants of Saaremaa, was born at Ebavere Hill and flew to Saaremaa to reign.

There are many legends about Ebavere. One of them says that during a particularly lean year, Eba, the prettiest girl of the village, was sacrificed to the hill to gain favor. Ever since, the hill has been called Ebavere. Many writers have used the folk-tales of Ebavere as a basis for their writings. Jakob Tamm, a local poet, composed an entire anthology, "Sonnets to Ebavere Hill", consisting of 16 sonnets. Jakob Liiv (a verse drama "Gnome"), Peeter Jakobson ("The King of Udumäe"), Kersti Merilaas ("The Witch of Ebavere") and Erich Meerja ("The Call of the Hill") have also written on this theme. Eduard Leppik, a researcher and historian of the local area, has compiled seven legends about Ebavere Hill in his book, "Stories about Väike-Maarja".

There are 1, 1.5, 3 and 5 km skiing and running tracks on the hill. The 1.5 km track is lighted during dark seasons like the Väike-Maarja-Ebavere cycling-walking track. The 5 km hiking track coincides with the skiing track but visits the tower as well.

Hiking trail of Ebavere


3. The Pitka`s Farm
South of the Ebavere hill there is the former farmstead of a rear admiral Johan Pitka, a hero of the War of Independence, an organizer of the naval forces and the armoured trains. He bought this farm in 1936. Only the walls of the cellar and the basement of the dwelling have preserved of the house that is remembered to be stylish, colourful and joyful. There was a small knocker of the shape of a sailing ship, an emblem of the sailor’s home, on the front door. The rooms were light, tastefully furnished, pictures on the walls. The buildings, the tenant’s house included, and lots of furniture was mostly made by J. Pitka himself.

The descendants of J. Pitka gave the farm to Estonian Defence Union. In 2000 Väike-Maarja Municipality put the ground of the dwelling in order with the help of young members of local Defence Union. There is a notice-board about Pitka´s life and activities.


4. Vao Stronghold Tower-Museum


5. The ovens of burning lime in Liiduri.
The former ovens are located in the forest 2,5 km from Kiltsi  through the village of Liiduri.

Ground-stove was the earliest possibility of making lime. The oven was of round or oval shape, 1.5-10 m in diameter, 3-5 m high, made of limestone, lined with stronger stove. Limestone was piled into the oven so that a furnace was left behind the hole and vertical smoke canals between the stones up to the edge of the oven. The oven was heated with wood or peat for a week so that the temperature rose up to 1100-1300 degrees.

The ovens for  burning lime in Liiduri are located 250 m from the road to the south, south-east of the big storehouse for fertilizer. There were three ovens altogether. The nearest of them is well preserved, of oval ground plan, 10x5 m, more than 5 m high.. The stoke holes are on the northern side of the oven. The other ovens stand side by side 20 m south of the first one.

There is a quarry 50 m south-east of the ovens. 3 m high walls of the quarrel have preserved.


6. Aavere estate
Aavere estate was founded in about 1770 as it was separated from Kiltsi estate. In 1877-81, the times of R.von Harpe, one of the most beautiful manor houses in neo-gothic style in Estonia was built of local limestone. The middle part of the manor house was one-storeyed, the wings two-storeyed.

After the expropriation there was a nursing home in the building for decades. In 1960ies the house was rebuilt to be fully two-storeyed. The fire in 1996 left the building in ruins. The facade can be seen in the ruins even now. The long stone wall (used for cattle) with its neo-gothic windows is also worth seeing.


7.Varangu estate
Varangu estate was separated from Liigvalla estate in the 17th century. A. von Berg started to build the manor house in early classicistic style in 1795. The manor house has original decorations on the façade made of fine-grained limestone. From the year 1819 a count A. von Benckendorff, a significant Russian statesman, was the owner of the estate. After the expropriation in 1919 there was a school and later the office of a forest district in the manor house. In 1970-80ies the building was empty and got badly out of repair. Since the end of 1990ies the manor has been in private property and the owner has started the renovation.

Near the manor house there is a one-storeyed wooden house of the land agent of the manor probably from the 18th century. Our graphic artist Eduard Viiralt lived there in 1909-1918.

There are lots of endangered species, first of all orchids, in Varangu nature reserve. There are beautiful Varangu Siniallikad (blue springs) with more than 30 springs.

There is a lake-lime deposit in Varangu. Lake-lime originates from the crystals that have been precipitated from the water of the springs rich of lime. The lime has been used for making mineral fodder  and paints. 


8. Kiltsi castle and admiral`s room


9. Punamägi
Look Äntu-Nõmme nature trail p. 10, 11 ja 12.


10. Äntu lakes
Look Äntu-Nõmme nature trail p. 5, 6, 7. 14, 16, 19, 20, 22, 24, 25

The breathtaking Äntu Lakes are located 7-11 km south of Väike-Maarja - there are seven in all.

The parking grounds are located at the northern end of the collection of lakes and is closest to Valgejärv (White Lake). From north to south, the lakes are: Sinijärv (Blue Lake), Roheline Lake (The Green Lake), Valgejärv (White Lake), and the smaller forest lakes to the south are Linaleo (Flax Retting), Mäetaguse (Behind-the-hill), Umbjärv and Kaanjärv. To the west of Kaanjärv, across the railroad tracks, are two other lakes, Liivajärv (Lake of Sand) and Turbajärv (Lake of Peat), that are considered by some to be part of the Äntu Lakes.

The forest lakes, Linaleo, Mäetaguse, Umbjärv and Kaanjärv have soft shores and are surrounded by bogs. Linaleo and Mäeosta are situated about halfway between the northern lakes (Sinijarv, Vahejärv and Valgejärv) and the southern lakes (Umbjärv and Kaanjärv). The River Kärsa, which later flows into the River Põltsamaa, flows through both Umbjärv and Kaanjärv, although these lakes are some distance apart.

Lake Liivajärv, on the other side of the railway tracks, is very shallow and warm, so it is quite suitable for small children to bathe and play, but it lies in private land. It is allowed to be and swim there only by the owner´s leave (ph 5053093).

Nõmmeveski Reservoir is north of Liivajärv and Turbajärv. It is suitable as a swimming location for adults.