pictures from Rein Lepik, www.bicycle.ee
|Coastline at Kabli||Road at|
of 4 routes
|Pärnu beach||Liu village||Coastline of|
|Women at Kihnu|
Virtsu to Laelatu
at Muhu island
Bike Route No. 1 in Estonia follows the Estonian coastline. It forms a part of the EuroVelo Cycling Route No. 10, which runs along the Baltic Sea.
Cyclists arriving from Latvia find a cosy coastal road to lead them from Ikla to Häädemeeste; on approach to Pärnu, however, they must also turn onto a highway. In Pärnu, titled as the summer capital of Estonia, bikers can enjoy an easy atmosphere and various cultural events. The leg from Pärnu to Virtsu runs along roads with little traffic in a pleasurable natural environment. We strongly recommend an at least one-day detour to Kihnu Island.
While the approach to Virtsu has to be made on some twenty kilometres of gravelled roads you will be rewarded by several nature reserves and bird paradises in the background.
The best part of this route are islands, such as Muhu, Saaremaa and Hiiumaa, which draw bikers in droves. Their offer scenic sites with a great natural diversity, a string of thrilling tourist attractions and memorable moments of meeting people. The road conditions of the route are good except for some sections of gravel roads in the north of Saaremaa, which are dusty.
Apart from the main route, we definitely recommend detours to the outmost corners of the plentiful peninsulas, in particular to routes No. 301 and 302 in Hiiumaa.
After returning to the mainland, it is worthwhile to look around in Haapsalu before the trip takes you to areas once populated with Swedes – Noarootsi Peninsula and the forests of Nõva. Unfortunately, the coastal roads there are fairly bumpy, yet the discomfort is offset by the natural environment, which is relatively pristine.
Paldiski is a living memorial of the Soviet rule. Once closed for outsiders, the town and its numerous vestiges of military facilities, while having a depressing effect, are interesting to look at.
The lap from Paldiski to Tallinn runs on asphalt roads lined with fabulous views of the sea, the steep limestone bluff and the forest. Closer to Tallinn the traffic turns disturbingly dense yet you have to put up with it until a special bicycle road is completed.
Those interested in cities may have a longer stop in Tallinn for sightseeing. Tallinn’s Old Town is one of the pearls of Europe.
As the journey continues from Tallinn to Narva, the first twenty or so kilometres along the main road have little to offer for the eye. Closer to the tourist magnet of North Estonia – Lahemaa National Park – we again enter a landscape that is very attractive to tourists. While the bike route leading to the remotest corners of the peninsulas comprises some 20 km of gravel roads it passes through fascinating places.
Past Lahemaa towards Narva the route proceeds parallel to the coast, occasionally opening up matchless vistas. In the Purtse area the route takes to narrow gravel and dirt roads, the only alternative to the heavy traffic of the highway. Outside Sillamäe you still have to pedal a short stretch or two on the highway. The places of interest are the Stalinist-style industrial city of Sillamäe, the formerly famous holiday resort Narva-Jõesuu and the border city of Narva.
Narva is the end point of the Estonian section of the EuroVelo route. Before you continue into Russia, take heed of the fact that the infrastructure for cycling has yet to be developed there.
(from the BaltiCCycle 2001 route description)
[A-1] Tallinn – Riga
Route length – 55 km (asphalt roads). Start of the trip in July 14th, at 12.00 at City Hall of Tallinn (Raekoja plats).
Night in the tents in Paldiski town.
The capital of Estonia, information in the Internet: www.tallinn.ee
Open Air Museum on the way just before leaving the city. Restored old village houses from different regions of Estonia.
A steep coast rising just from the sea, the highest parts reaching 35 meters
A small manor originated from the 17th century, the present buildings dating back to the 19th century. The two-storied main building in the center is an example of neo- renaissance style.
- 45 meters high, beautiful, easily reachable
Keila-Joa manor which was built approximately in 1830 (designed by A. I. Stackenschneider) remained the only example of neo styles in Estonian manor architecture for a quarter of century. The heart of the manor stands on the high bank of the Keila river. Winding paths took the walkers through the park rich in species, to the sea, passing numerous pavilions and statues, greenhouses and romantic ruins of Meremõisa. Especially picturesque is the 6-metre-high Keila waterfall. Since 1856 till nationalization the manor belonged to the Volkonski family. The Soviet government gave the manor to the Soviet Army.
Streams forming several rapids in Klooga-Ranna, unique in Estonia
A top secret military area at the Soviet times. Former submarine training center. Ruines of military buildings. Beautiful nature at the peninsula.
- St Nicholas’ Church at Paldiski
The church was ready in 1841 and was named after the Tsar as well as the Saint Nicholas who was mainly the seamen’s patron.
- St George’s Orthodox Church
Built in 1784-1787. The main entrance is in classicist style, the helmet of the tower in baroque
- Bastions of Paldiski Fortress
Paldiski fortress consists of four bastions, which were built in 1718 – 1725 by the order of Peter I who also was the designer of the fortress. Paldiski was to become a powerful military harbor where the Dutch security system was used, just like in Moscow.
- Vääna – Jõesuu camping “Sürpriis”, tel. 6789315, camping site for tents and caravans
- Türisalu accommodation in tents and guest house “Igihaljas” Tammsaare tee 63-45, tel. 05021346; 6542418
- Laulasmaa 2 hostels: Education and Holiday Center of Laulasmaa tel. 6715521 ;05109192, and Hostel KeVa tel. 6715553; 6045347.
- Dining House Rekset tel. 6715633
- Paldiski Restaurant and guesthouse “Valge Laev” Rae 32, tel. 6742095
- Department store Rae 23 tel. 6741316
Route length – 73 km. Night in the camp near Roosta village (Roosta Puhkekula).
Monastery and manor of Padise
The monastery belonged to the Cistercian Order. The first stone building was a chapel which was completed in the middle of the13th cent. In 1317 – 43 the other buildings were founded. During the Livonia War the monastery was turned into a military base. In 1580 it was destroyed. The Manor of Padise was given to Th. Ramm, the Mayor of Riga, by Gustav II Adolf in 1622. At first, only monastery was used for living. At the end of the 18th century the manor house was built. A park designed in free style with fishing ponds, picturesque river banks, and orchard, was founded around the house.
- Harju – Risti – church
- Vihterpalu – manor
The north-western part of Estonia has been a living area for Swedes. During the World War II the coasts remained unpopulated and the Soviet border guards occupied the region. As the region was closed for tourists, the beautiful nature has remained untouched. The coast is sandy, in some places covered with forests. Landscape reserve of Nõva is situated in the communes of Noarootsi and Nõva. It was founded to protect the unique coast landscape and plant communities of North-Western Estonia.
Here you can find a medical service center ( tel. 04793318), post office (93310), commune council house with a possibility to use Internet, a school, a cemetery, shop, a monument to the participants on the War of Independence.
Wooden St Olaf’s Church at Nõva
Small wooden church built in 1635. The inner architecture is similar to that of Gotland’s. The church is proud of the organ which was made by a local man called Targema at the beginning of the 20th century.
Port, stony coast, watchtower, park of pines, petrol station, limestone at the coast, big rock Toomanina Suurkivi
Cobblestone road between Peraküla and Tantsujärve dating back to the years of the First World War, thicket of reeds – former lakes of Peraküla overgrown with reeds, lakes of Peraküla, Farm museum of Põlluotsa ( a village swing, village hop site, exhibitions, local landscape videos), a swimming place on the northern shore of lake Toatse.
The most north-western point of continental Estonia. Lighthouse and watchtower, erratic boulders, rocky coast, view to Osmussaar, bird watching.
Port, ruins of Russian coast defense battery founded before the First World War, petrol station
The ruins of a chapel and cemetery founded in the 17th century. The chapel was first built of wood, the present stone chapel dates back to the year 1834.
Tuksi is the center of the present Riguldi area. A shop and a post office.
- Camping at Roosta Holiday Village (Roosta Puhkeküla), Elbiku Village 91202. Noarootsi Commune, Läänemaa, tel. 047 97230, fax. 047 97245, e-mail [email protected] 31 houses of different size, camping sit, catering
- Bar-shop-resting house Laimi at Nõva tel. 04793389
- Boarding house Bergsby Tuksi Village 91202, Noarootsi Commune, Läänemaa, tel. 047 97290, 050 23042, accommodation for 16 people
- Resting house Tuksi Elbiku Village 91202, Noarootsi Commune Läänemaa tel. 047 97228, 050 44115 Accommodation for 28 people.
- Peeter Pärnaste Tourism Farm Aulepa Village 91001 Noarootsi Commune Läänemaa, tel. 047 29228, 051 10796, accommodation for 7 people
- Kiige Tourism Farm, Linnamäe, Oru Commune, Läänemaa tel. 047 95492, [email protected] accommodation for 10 people, catering
- Käbi Guest House, Herjava Village, tel 047 31165, accommodation for 19 people, catering, bar.
Route length – 75 km. Cost of the ticket for the cyclist Rohukula-heltermaa: 45+2065 EEK (≈ 4.5 EUR)
Tour camp in the coast of Hiiuma island near “Hausma” common lodging house (1,5 km from Kardla). Food shops are in Suuremoisa and Kardla towns.
The manor was founded in 1604, the manor house was built in the 18th century. The manor belonged to the kin of Taube and was the largest in Noarootsi parish. At Hara bay there is a former fishermen’s village, beautiful view to open sea and the northern part of Noarootsi peninsula. The isle of Vormsi is seen in the distance.
A small village. Not far from the village there is a medieval sanctuary in the marsh ( Karumägi ) and the ruins of the log path leading to the asylum. Pärnaste lime tree ( 25 m ), an ancient sacrificial stone
The area is to protect the lakes and thickets of reeds of Haapsalu Bay and Noa- rootsi Peninsula, the nesting and feathering places of water birds and communities of plants in danger, to preserve and protect the meadows near the sea.
Situated between Sutlepa and Linnamäe. To the north-east of the road the Salajõgi disappears under the ground. The hiding area is about 600 m long and 100 m wide. During the floods the water reaches like a vast lake to the road.
A manor house in the baroque style dating back to the 19th century.
The center of Läänemaa, Haapsalu has been mentioned as a town already more than 720 years ago. The ruins of the bishop castle dating back to the 13th century give the town a special ancient look. Haapsalu was known as a summer resort among Russian tsars and aristocracy already in the 19th century.
The airport was used as a radar station for MIG planes till the Soviet Union split up.
The castle belonged to the well-known pirate Baron Von Unger-Sternberg. The Baron wanted to build the castle for his lover from Merseburg and make look just like her home castle. But the Miss died and the castle remained unfinished.
Ferries go to Vormsi and Hiiumaa.
The county of Hiiumaa is the smallest in Estonia – only 1023 km2 together with smaller islands. The biggest islands are Hiiumaa (989km2), Kassari (19 km2) and Vohilaid (4 km2). There are numerous islets and reefs in the surrounding sea (about 200). The sea near the coast is dangerously low.
The island of Hiiumaa started rising from the sea approximately 10 000 years ago. The first part to show itself was Kõpu peninsula. The highest point of Hiiumaa is 68.5 m. Generally the land is flat, there are only some steep hills ( Kõpu, Palade,Tahkuna). The diameter from west to east is 60 km, from north to south 40 km. The length of the borderline is 325 m.
In 1870 the port was built to Heltermaa, because the sea was too low at Vahtrepa.
By now Heltermaa has become the most important harbor in Hiiumaa. In the terminal there is an info-stand and tourism info.
The village is situated not far from Suuremõisa. It is one of the oldest settlements with the oldest church in Hiiumaa. St Laurence’s church was built without any tower, as it is characteristic to churches in Muhumaa. It is believed that the church was finished in 1259. In Soviet times the church was used as a grain store and was in rather bad state. By now it is restored and ceremonies and concerts are held there.
In 1636 Joachim Winter, a sculptor from Haapsalu made the stone pulpit which is unique in Estonia.
Next to the church there stands a chapel where countess Ebba-Margaretha Stenbock (1704-1776) is buried. Her great-grandfather Jacob de la Gardie was once the owner of the whole Hiiumaa.
The road towards Hellamaa goes through seaside villages. In the sea you can see several islets: Vormsi, Vohilaid, Harilaid, Hellamaa Reef etc.
Suursadam is first mentioned in the papers as Sääre harbor ( Serle Ham ) in 1593. In 1848 a big ferry “Hioma” was built here, which was the first Estonian ship sailing across the equator round Cape Hoorne into the Pacific Ocean in 1854.
It is interesting to walk along Sääre nina (nose of Sääre) that reaches into the sea as far as 2 km.
It is quite near to Palade. The old farm house was built in the 19th century. The barn and chambers are furnished with the things the last family who lived there.
Kärdla is the capital of Hiiumaa. It is situated in an ancient meteorite crater. The meteorite fell to the place 400-500 million years ago, forming a crater with the diameter of 4.5 km. The edges of the crater can be seen at Paluküla and Tubala.
At Paluküla there is a tower from the platform of which the whole crater is seen.
The new center of The Museum of Hiiumaa is situated at 8 Vabriku Square. The so called Long House (Pikk Maja) houses the exhibitions and science center of the museum. The Pikk Maja was built in 1830’s as a living house for Ungern-Sternberg who was the owner of the Kärdla Woolen Cloth Factory.
- . Hotels in Haapsalu, information www.tourism.ee/haapsalu/est
- Hotel Rohuküla, Rohuküla 90531, Ridala, tel. 32 166, fax 91 124, accommodation for 34 people, bar
- Mihkli Guest House Mäeküla 90531, Ridala tel. 26195, 050 27488, accommodation for 39 people, catering when ordered in advance, sauna, camping site
- Troika Hostel Puss Village 90531, Riddle tel. 29 710, 050 15511, www.tooraku.ee, accommodation for 16 people, catering when ordered in advance, bicycles, boats
- Hausma Hostel, (1,5 km from Kärdla) places for the tents at the coast, rooms in the house for extra payment. tel. 046 29190, mob. 050 31929
- Hotel Heltermaa at the port. tel. 046 94146.
- Hotel Padu, Heltermaa mnt. 22, Kärdla. tel. 046 33037, mob. 050 51671.
- Guest House Sõnajala, Leigri väljak 3, Kärdla. tel. 046 31220.
- Malvaste tourism farm. Malvaste village, tel. 046 99901, mob. 051 74848.
- Shops in Suuremõisa and Kärdla.
Hiiu str. 1, Kärdla
tel.. 046 22233, mob. 051 82233
e-mail: [email protected]
Route length – 64 km. Proposed extra trips to Kopu peninsula and Kassari.
The cost for a cyclist from Hiiumaa island to Saaremaa island: 50+30=80 EEK (≈ 6 EUR)
The tour camp on the coast, 2 km from Triigi port.
It is about 5 km to the west of Kärdla. It is one of the most popular places in Hiiumaa.
A legend tells us about two wedding parties who met at the crossroad and started a fight. From one party the pride got killed and a groom from the other. The survivors got married and in memory of the victims the first cross was put up.
A more truthful story about why people put crosses on that hill is that so they memorize the Swedes who were forced to leave their homes in 1781. The Swedes from Reigi were given orders to leave their home island. On That hill they held a ceremony and put up the first cross. Nowadays it is a tradition that everyone who passes Ristimägi makes a cross out of natural material and leaves it on the hill.
Tahkuna peninsula is mostly sandy, covered with pine and spruce forests. Tahkuna is really rich in berries and mushrooms. For a long time the Swedes were the inhabitants at Tahkuna.
Just before Malvaste the road turns to the right and leads you to Mihkli museum. It is a unique preserved farm complex in Northern Europe. You can get acquainted with various buildings, including smoke sauna from the 18-19th century.
At the tip of Tahkuna cape there is a lighthouse. The constructions of the lighthouse were made in Paris in 1874 and they were installed in 1785. The lighthouse is 42.6 m tall and seamen can see its light in 18 sea miles.
A memorial to those who perished in the ferry “Estonia” catastrophe stands on the coast.
This church became independent in 1627. At first it was built of wood. In 1802 the present stone building was completed. The builder was the owner of Kõrgessaare manor and half of Hiiumaa O.R.L Von Ungern Sternberg. He had the church built in memory of his son who committed a suicide. The son is buried in the churchyard.
Viskoosa is situated in the center of the former Kõrgessaare manor. The first data about Kõrgessaare go back to the year 1532. Here was one of the oldest manors in Hiiumaa which was established in 1552.
At Luidja you can enjoy the beautiful sand beach and see the Luidja alder grove which is taken under protection because of its uniqueness. The black alder was brought here to clog the moving sand which used to constipate the road.
The whole Kõpu peninsula is worth seeing. It was the first part of Hiiumaa to rise from the sea. The Landscape is full of forests. There grow more than 80 species of plants that are rare in the Baltic countries.
It is the best known sightseeing in Hiiumaa, having become a symbol of the island. Already in 1490 the Hansa League demanded that a lighthouse should be erected on the island. The lighthouse was completed in 1531.
Heading on towards Emmaste you suddenly see a 10-metre-deep valley on the flat landscape, and a stream flowing on the bottom of it. The rapid stream makes its bed wider every year.
The history of Emmaste is connected with the manor bearing the same name. The manor was known already in 1780. The church of Emmaste has been working since 1867
The southern coast of Hiiumaa is washed by the Straits of Soela. From Sõru port you can go by boat to Saaremaa. Sõru port was built in the 19th century. If you are interested in the way coast people lived you should visit Sõru Museum.
Before leaving for Saaremaa you should also see Kassari, one of most interesting places in Hiiumaa. Kassari is protected from the cold north winds, therefore the flora of the area is different. There are many junipers and brier roses. On the shore in reed thickets there are most suitable places for bird watching.
People like to walk along Sääre – a narrow gravel range reaching the sea for 2 km. There are a lot of islets seen in the sea.
The Hiiumaa Museum in the old schoolhouse is also worth seeing.
Sinima Holiday Village, by the way from Luidja to Emmaste, mob. 050 63613.
Shop in Emmaste village.
The camp 2 km from Triigi port and some rooms for tourists in port hotel, tel. 04573203;
Leisi village: Aia g. 7, tel. 04573298, Mere g. 1a, tel. 04573183, 04573195.
Route length – 62 km. Night in the tents in Pidula Kalakasvatus camp (Pidula fish farm).
Just some hundred meters from the harbor there is a dendrology park and bewitching place of Vigala Sass.
In the center of Leisi most of the buildings, original constructions of land-stone and wood, are dated from the beginning of the last century. There is information point, several restaurants, shops, post office, bank, bed-and-breakfast.
The steep limestone coast of Panga ( Mustjala) is situated on the northern coast of Saaremaa near Panga village. The maximum height is 21.3 m, length about 2.5 km. It is the highest in Saaremaa and Muhumaa.
The steep coasts in Saaremaa consist only of limestone, thus differing from the coasts of Northern Estonia. You can watch thick stratums of limestone. There is also an undersea scarpwhich can be noticed in stormy weather.
In the highest part of the coast there is an ancient place of sacrifice where people brought sacrifices to the sea.
The Stone Age living place was found in 1986 at Mustjala, Võhma village. It is an old coast village. A dark sooty fireplace was found in the depth of 25-30 cm in the yellow sand.
In the eastern part of the village a place was found which can be called eastern stronghold. It is a big concentric circle made of stones (the biggest diameter 55 m) In some places the walls are interrupted, leaving the entrances open.
The places are the largest and most interesting Karst areas in Saaremaa. At Küdema you find the Karst to the south of the village. It is an oval crater, 35 m long and 5 m deep where the stream flowing from Ohtja lake disappears under the ground.
Lepakõrve Karst area is 3-4 km to the north-east of Küdema village, by the road leading to Paatsa village. Today the streambed is filled with water only in springtime.
The length of the Lepakõrve Karst area is about 120 m, the depth at the back verge is 7 m.
When driving from Kihelkonna to Mustjala you cannot miss a tall stone-roofed simple looking stone building. It is the manor house of Pidula. The building is considered to be one of the most beautiful baroque manor houses in Estonia. It is said to date back to the middle of the 18th century, some later built parts were made at the beginning of the 19th century. The building is decorated with limestone corners and a low porch with two columns at the entrance.
Around the manor house there is the park designed in baroque. At Pidula was the earliest hospital in Saaremaa. The order knights built it in about 1240.
On the 9th km of Kihelkonna-Pidula road you find the springs of Odalätsi, left to the road. The water of the springs comes from the marshes nearby, and from lake Karujärv. It flows along the Karst clefts and finds its way out through several breaches at Odalätsi village. Bits further the springs join, making up the so called Pidula millstream.
- Camp at Pidula Kalakasvatus (Pidula Fish Farm). Campsite of the tour. Tents, rooms for extra payment. tel. 045 46513.
- Tuhkana-Ranna Resthouse, Murika village,Pammana peninsula. tel.045 55931, mob. 051 87629.
- Paatsa Holiday Village, tel. GSM 052 08779.
- Hostel of Mustjala Nature School. Mustjala village. Ph. 045 79737, mob. 051 39604.
- Loode Tourism Farm. Kuralase village, Tagamõisa peninsula. tel. 045 26260. Mob. 050 56227.
Route length – 73 km.
St Michael’s church at Kihelkonna
Today the church is very impressive with its slender and tall western tower, but that was built much later, in 1897-1899. The church itself is one of the oldest in Saaremaa.
At the beginning of the Medieval time Kihelkonna was one of the most important centers in Saaremaa. There was an important harbor, and the road connecting the western part of Saaremaa and continental Estonia, passed it. The Bishop of Saare- Lääne, as well as the Teutonic Order took part in the foundation of the church. The construction work of the church was completed in the 1270’s. The church was meant to be a refuge. there were rooms above the aisles where people could enter through the staircase built into the northern wall.
There is nothing left from the medieval furnishing, but you can see several contemporary pieces of art in the church. The organ built by J.A.Stein, an organ master from Pärnu, is also worth mentioning.
At Viki village, 2 km towards Kuressaare from the Kihelkonna crossing, there stands one of the most original museums, Mihkli Farm Museum.
There you can see the whole complex of farm buildings, and all sorts of utensils and tackles. Almost all the things are made by the people who lived on the farm during the last two centuries, six generations of farming people.
Mihkli is the oldest farm at Viki village. The farm flourished in the middle of the 19th century, when most of the present buildings were constructed.
Mihkli is a typical farm in Western Saaremaa, interesting for its architecture. Most of the buildings are built in circle, the center of which is the inner yard. One part of the yard is separated for flowers. Around the farm there grow old ashes, the branches of which were used to feed sheep in old times.
Vilsandi National Park is situated on the western coast of Saaremaa. It includes about 100 small islands. There are several natural landscape complexes, most interesting of which are the small sea islets. The area is rich in various species of birds, plants characteristic to sea coast and sea fauna.
The center of the Vilsandi National Park is at Loona manor.
Viidumäe Protection Area is situated on the ancient coast terrace of Antsülusjärve. The area of it is 1873 ha. It is the highest and oldest part of Saaremaa, the so called “spine” of Saaremaa which started to rise from the sea 10 000 years ago. The following 2000 years formed the coast terrace that can be seen today and which is 18 m high. There is a watchtower on Rauna hill from the top of which you can enjoy the beautiful view of whole Saaremaa.
The area is relatively small, but amazingly rich in various species of plants, mushrooms and animals. It is caused by the maritime climate and changing relief. Over 660 species of vein plants and over 630 species of butterflies have been found here.
A big part of Viidumäe ( 85% ) is covered with forests. The under-terraced marshes formed by springs are the only growth places in the world for Saaremaa cockscomb, that was found here in 1933.
The sandy coast goes along the seaside from Tehumardi towards Kuressaare. There are low (8m ) sand hill groups, covered with pine forests. The beautiful beach is about 10-15 m wide.
- Loona Guest House. Loona village. tel. 045 46510.
- Lümanda Holiday village (at Lümanda Söögimaja). tel. 045 76493, mob. 050 33019.
- Keskranna Resthouse. Keskranna village. tel. 045 36180, mob. 051 05048.
- Hotel Männikäbi. Mändjala village. tel. 045 44100, mob. 050 58272.
- Pilliroo Resthouse. Mändjala village. tel. 045 55582, mob. 052 98860.
- Pääsu Farm. Mändjala village. tel. 045 33784, mob. 052 97492.
- Hotel of Nasva Yachts Club. Nasva village. tel. 045 44044.
- Accommodation in Kuressaare: info www.tourism.ee/oesel/est tel. 045 33120.
Kuressaare (Estonia) – Riga (Latvia): by ferry from Kuressaare to Riga or to Virtsu in Estonia mainland and then by bus to Riga
The cost of the ticket for a cyclist from Saaremaa island to Virtsu: 35+15=50 EEK (≈ 3.5 EUR)
The cost of the ticket for a cyclist from Saaremaaa island to Riga: 375+54=429 EEK (≈ 29 EUR)
It is the main city of Saaremaa island, which has many visiting places:
Loode oak grove is at ten minutes’ walk from the Kuressaare castle tower and Tori bridge. It is one of the few naturally grown oak parks.
The place has been favored among holiday makers who enjoy walking along the beach.
- Kuressaare castle’s Convent building has been restored and today it is one of the most impressive examples of medieval architecture in the Baltic countries. It gives the visitors aesthetic experience as well as knowledge of history. You can feel the medieval atmosphere and get into contact with the past. The history of the construction of the castle is closely connected with the Estonians’ struggle against German feudal landlords. In 1227 the last Estonian county – Saaremaa fell under the ruling of crusading knights. The function of the castle was to be an administrative center, to enable to hold a meeting (convents ) for quite a big crowd of people, to offer a refuge during wars and uprisings.
- The assembly hall was festively opened in1889. In the central part of the building there was a restaurant in the so called White Hall, in the wings you could find a summer theatre, a reading hall, a card playing room, Ladies’ Hall, a clerk’s apartment and a watchtower. The house was open only during the summer session, from June till the end of August. The building was restored and newly opened in 1989.
- In the second half of the 19th century Kuressaare started to create green belts around the castle, for the town became more and more known as a summer resort. The famous Kuressaare park was founded by the mayor H. Von der Borg. The park was designed in free style and was surrounded by a wooden fence.
- In the 17th century three town halls were almost simultaneously built in Estonia. Kuressaare (Arensburg) town hall was built in 1654-1670, Narva got its town hall in the years 1668-1671, and Tartu (old) town hall was ready in 1693. The best preserved from these three is the Kuressaare town hall.
- The house was built in 1663, the number of the year is seen in the roof stones.The house was used to weigh the goods. Here were the most accurate scales of the town. The goods were checked and stored, and the taxis were paid in the weigh house.
- In the historical central square of Kuressaare one can see an original church, St Laurence’s church. It is not the first church in Kuressaare. The medieval church which stood near the castle was destroyed in the fire in 1612. Soon after the fire a new lot was separated next to the central square and the new church was opened in 1630. It is a simple rectangle building. The main walls have survived in their original state.
You can take self-guided or organizers route along the city. Booklet,,Riga Visitors’ Guide’’ is available in the Tourist Info Center on 6 Ratslaukums (Old Riga) tel. 7207800. . It includes Riga’s, map, description about highlights, museums, accommodation etc. Riga is the central capital of the Baltic states, a large educational, political, economical, financial, industrial giant compare with other part oh Latvia. In 2001 Riga celebrates 800 years from foundation as city (but before there were village of Livi tribe).
In Latvia Bike Tour will starts from Monument of Liberty what survived during Soviet occupation as a symbol of freedom and now it is a place for popular and official happenings. Visitors should see highlights of Old Riga: The Dome Cathedral, St. Peter’s church ( the viewpoint from its top), Riga Castle (President’s residence), Saeima (parliament), ‘’Three Brothers’’- old houses, Powder Tower, Swedish Gate, the rebuilt House of Blackheads etc. Such places of interest as the monument to the most famous Latvian poet Rainis, Latvian National Opera, Orthodox Cathedral, Central market situated near Old Riga. Open Air Museum (folk buildings into pine-tree forest) is the highlight outside the center.
There are few activities as part of Riga 800 Festival on 20th in Riga:
*Concerts of ancient music in different places,
*exhibition Riga before 100 years in Museum of History of Riga and Navigation,
*Livi exhibition in History Museum of Latvia (Livi people are closely to Estonians and Finish people, they are historical inhabitants of Latvia).