Apparently God was from Hiiumaa to make such a seaside place. Hiiumaa is bigger from the inside than it looks from the outside. Although seemingly a small, quiet island, both visitor and summer resident will find everything and more here than in the big country or city. Marine, forest and solar batteries to recharge tired brains and batteries are free here. Depending on the time of the year, you can also get juniper, porcini or blueberry preserves.
In Hiiumaa, time moves at a different pace. “Jo vaatab,” says the Hiidlane, dismissing both today’s and tomorrow’s worries. After all, there are so many fun things to do during the day – like listening to the voices of nature and learning how to do productive non-domestic work, as recommended by guest guide Fred Jüssi.
In Hiiumaa you can really take your time and just feel good. Be on your own, take a walk in the woods, throw stones into the water at the beach, watch the stars in the night sky. It’s dark in Hiiumaa, with LED signs and street lighting so you can see into the night. In doing so, you can think or not think – in modern terms, meditate. In Hiiumaa, you can really do it, and the slowing down of time starts to rub off on the guests. It’s chill.
If you don’t dare to take such a sudden break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, you might as well relax to the rhythm of the continent. You can go hiking, horse riding, scuba diving, sailing, climbing, fishing, fishing, playing tennis, lifting weights in the gym, enjoying culture and partying. There’s even a swimming pool, an airfield, a carding track and a gym. If you’re short of space, there’s even a telecommuting office and a rental house with sauna by the sea.
You can find the experiences and places of interest that match your wishes and interests on this website or on the map app.
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The history of the oldest lighthouse not only in Estonia, but anywhere in the Baltic States and indeed on the Baltic Sea, stretches back 500 years, when landmarks were needed to guide ships in the Hanseatic League. The most important east-west trade route in Northern Europe passed the island of Hiiumaa and merchants complained of ships being lost on the Baltic Sea. This led to the construction of the lighthouse at Kõpu to warn ships of the low waters off the island.
The lighthouse was built at 67 metres above sea level at the highest point on Hiiumaa. It stands 36 metres above the ground, meaning its light shines out at 102.6 metres above sea level. No other lighthouses by the Baltic Sea are as high.
A very important shipping lane of the Baltic Sea passed the western coast of Hiiumaa many centuries ago already. It was threatened by the very dangerous Hiiu madal or Suurrahu (shallow reef) that had grounded many ships. The Hanseatic Merchants League was very interested in marking this highly dangerous place somehow so that the safety of passing ships would be guaranteed. In 1500 the Tallinn’s magistrate succeeded to get permission from Bishop John III Orges to build a landmark here. The highest peak of the Kõpu Peninsula (and the whole Western Estonia) – 68 metres above sea level was chosen to be the location of the landmark. Later this place was called “Tornimäe” -(Tower Mountain). The construction work was stopped for many years because of the plague. It is not known when the first tower was finished, but at least in 1531 it was there. In those times the mark was ac- tually a beacon lightless landmark – because they didn’t make fire at night. The 8 metres wide and 20 metres high tower had to be seen at least at the range of 20 kilometres in the daytime. The big mea- surements of the tower were followed by the fact that the binocular was not invented yet.
Old Kõpu beacon was rebuilt as a lighthouse only by the fall of 1649. The fire was on the top of the tower at the open iron grate. Wood was hauled up the sloping sides with ropes. The fireguards climbed up on the wooden stairs which were on the outside part of the tower. During the 180 day long period when it was necessary to make fire, approximately 1000 fathom of wood was burned. From 1805 they started to use hempen oil.
The lighthouse was administered by the state in 1810 and then followed by a number of reconstructions. From the bottom part stairs with 69 steps to the top part were cut. Two rooms were built on top of each other and on top of them was built a new room for lamps.
They started to use petroleum to light the tower in 1854. The mirror system was changed to Fresnel dioptrical prism and petroleum incandescent lamps in 1860. In 1900 a machine room with rotating optics from the Paris World Exhibition was purchased. During World War II the lighthouse was damaged. It was restored after the war – first as a blinking light and then later rotating. In 1963 the gaslight was changed to electricity. The present system has worked since 1981. At the end of 1980-ies a very strong concrete “shirt” was put around the tower to strengthen the building.
Nowadays the height of the lighthouse is 37 metres. The tower’s lantern room height is 102 metres from the sea level. If the weather is clear it is seen almost as far as 50 km. Kõpu lighthouse is the third oldest working lighth.
The westernmost point of the Kõpu Peninsula and the whole Hiiumaa lies in Ristna. The ships sailing along the international shipping line are warned about the land being close by lighthouses in Kõpu and Ristna. The light of Kõpu lighthouse from 102 metres above sea level can be seen up to 50 kilometres away. The light of Ristna lighthouse is 37 metres above sea level and is seen as far as 17 sea miles (31.5 km). The height of the tower is 29.5
It was ordered from France in 1873. The lighthouse was assembled in 1874 from details that were brought from France. A 7-pood copper bell was also installed in the lighthouse. Almost at the same time another lighthouse of Hiiumaa Tahkuna lighthouse was also bought from Paris.
During the First World War in 1915, German ships attacked the lighthouse and it was severely damaged. The tower’s appearance was changed a lot in 1920. It was supported with concrete belts up to the service room.
Ristna was well known because of its fog-horn earlier. Global Navigation System station has worked there since 1994.
The well-preserved service buildings of Ristna lighthouse date from the 2-nd half of the 19th century and constitute a remarkable and complete complex.
Tahkuna Lighthouse, situated on the north end of Hiiumaa, is a cast-iron lighthouse which’s construction started in 1873. Assembled of cast iron parts, utilising the so-called Gordon system, it was created with prefabricated details. The details were easy to transport, making this tall tower rather easy to build.
Did you know…?
• The lighthouse was bought from the world exhibition of Paris in 1871 by Czarist Russia
• It is Estonia’s tallest lighthouse – 42.7 m above sea level
As it is known, the cape of Tahkuna on Tahkuna peninsula is the most northern tip of Hiiumaa. All passing ships are warned of the closeness of land by a lighthouse which was assembled from parts of cast iron in 1875. It was made in Paris and delivered to Hiiumaa in parts. Two beacons were ordered from Paris at the same time. Ristna lighthouse was erected in the most western point of the island in 1874.
The story of Hiiumaa’s lighthouses is an interesting one: up to the middle of the 19th century, stone was used as building material (Kõpu lighthouse); the so-called stone period was followed by cast iron period when Tahkuna and Ristna lighthouses were erected. The 20th century may be called the period of rein- forced concrete (Tohvri lighthouses).
Tahkuna lighthouse is the highest lighthouse in Hiiumaa 42.6 m. Its absolute height is still less than that of Kõpu lighthouse which reaches 102 meters above the sea level. The light of Tahkuna lighthouse can be seen from the distance of 18 sea miles or 33 kilometres.
In October 1941, during World War II, the fighters of the Soviet Army surrendered to Germans at the foot of Tahkuna lighthouse.
A wind generator was erected in Tahkuna in 1995 under the leadership of Hiiumaa Biosphere Protection Area. This was the first of its kind built in Estonia.
On 28 September 1994, the biggest catastrophe in peacetime happened in the Baltic Sea passenger ferry Estonia sank. To commemorate this tragic event, a monument “To children who perished in the Estonia shipwreck” was designed by sculptor Mati Karmin and erected in Tahkuna- the place which is the closest in Estonia to the place of the accident.
The baroque Suuremõisa castle was constructed between 1755 and 1760, commissioned by Countess Ebba-Margaretha von Stenbock (née De la Gardie).
Count Jacob Pontus Stenbock, who inherited the estate from his mother the Countess, exchanged it in 1796 for Uuemõisa manor due to his debts. The new owner of Suuremõisa was Otto Reinhold Ludvig von Ungern-Sternberg.
The castle has a museum room introducing the history of the manor, as well as a souvenir and book counter. In addition to beautiful interior and history, the surrounding area of the manor features a flower garden created by Hiiumaa Vocational School, an English park, and various ancillary buildings of the manor complex.
At the manor after the manor era
The functioning of manors as privately owned agricultural facilities ended by the year 1920. The nationalised buildings needed to be cared for and used; the lands had to be maintained. The grand building complex belonging to the Suuremõisa Manor managed to survive thanks to schools being accommodated in the main building. The first one was a small private school; the second was a parish school; and the third was Suuremõisa 8-form School, which is still run in the northern wing of the manor, now under the name Suuremõisa Basic School. In 1977, Putkaste Agricultural Technical School was opened in the main building of the manor. The latter evolved into the present-day Hiiumaa Vocational School. The fate of the various outbuildings has been very diﬀerent. Several of them, such as the stable and the ice cellar of the manor, are in ruins or biding their time. The house of the stable master was renovated in the 1980s. It was first taken into use by the vocational school and later by private entrepreneurs. The big granary has been rebuilt and converted into a sports building. Several diﬀerent craft workshops have been opened in the former manor servants’ house. A number of roadside outbuildings, including the cheese dairy, have housed shops, a bar, a hairdresser’s salon, a youth centre, a post office, etc. The courtyard between the buildings is used for open-air performances of plays. Concerts, weddings, birthday parties, and other events take place in the festive halls of the manor, in the park, and on the stairs of the main building. The first Suuremõisa Palace Days took place in 1993. In the middle of the 1990s, the filming of the Hiiumaa Song Day of 1931 for the movie Burning Love (by K. Petäjäniemi) took place here. In 1997, President Lennart Meri and Mrs. Helle Meri gave a reception for the Hiiumaa people in the mansion. About 100 members of the Ungern-Sternberg family gathered here in 2001. The Suuremõisa Manor is also an active participant of the game “Forgotten Manors”, which was launched in 2005.
The main house of the Hiiumaa Museum has been located in the old directors’ residence of the former Kärdla Broadcloth Factory, popularly known as the Long House, since 1998. The house was constructed in the 1830s and 40s; the 60 m long house is one of the longest wooden houses in the small town of Kärdla.
In the museum you can see exhibitions that are changed from time to time. We have a souvenir and book shop open with a wide selection of Hiiumaa handicrafts.
The house, built in the first half of 19th century, is one of the oldest and rarest small town residences in Estonia. Composer and organist Rudolf Tobias, the father of Estonian classical music, was born in the back room of this house on May 29, 1873. His father Johannes was a parish clerk and organist at Käina Church.
The exhibition in the historical parish building provides a detailed overview of the composer’s life and work. The museum’s exhibition also includes 19th and 20th century furniture and musical instruments. In the courtyard of the museum, there is a barn, a cellar and a shed, and a post mill so characteristic of Hiiumaa. The beautiful view of Käina Bay will touch the heart of any visitor.
Mihkli Farm in Malvaste village is an excellent example of the rural architecture of Northern Hiiu County. The buildings are mostly from the 19th century and there, visitors can get to know the local construction practices and household items. Ordinary in how it consists of numerous buildings and in the layout of its yard; special because of how intact the archaic ensemble of the buildings is.
Until the deportation of 1781, the farm was home to a family of Hiiu Swedes. The last residents left the farm in 1987.
The farm’s spacious courtyard is perfect for organizing various events, having a picnic, and simply spending some lovely time. The location is exciting for children and adults alike. Children can play a fun game which helps discover the museum on their own and as they run around.
It is in this small area, where cultural phenomena have gradually merged and adapted to the new circumstances, because both Estonian-speaking and Swedish-speaking people have lived on this farm. The latter were among the Swedes living in Reigi parish who were deported to Southern Ukraine in 1781. After that, new, Estonian-speaking inhabitants, who were also Hiiumaa natives, settled on the farm. Yet, time and again, some people of Swedish origin ended up living here as well.
Even though the current buildings of the farm were mostly built in the 19th century, the last owner, Joosep, still lived in them in the 1980s. After his passing from this world, the farmstead was gradually converted into a museum, where it is possible to have a look at a living environment that has remained almost unchanged for 180 years. At the same time, it is a centre of living heritage, oﬀering chances to learn something new, to polish some skills, to work along, to share experiences, to play, to try out, but also simply to observe and watch.
What is experienced here might help us understand where we come from and what we have brought along from the past. It helps us notice our intangible heritage.
Facts about Mihkli farm:
- In the 1880s, the size of farmlands was 86.22 lofstelles or 15.5 hectares.
- In 1932, the contract of purchase specified the size of farmlands as 76.14 hectares, incl. 44 ha of pasturelands, 21 ha of
meadowland, and 7-8 ha of hayland.
- In 1920, there were 10 people living here – 6 adults and 4 children.
- The last inhabitant of Mihkli farm was Joosep Saarlaid (birth name Joosep Simmer, 1904–1987).
The Hiiumaa Military Museum is located in the former Tahkuna board guard station. The museum’s most significant exhibit is the collection of coastal defence artillery. This includes 180 mm, 130 mm, and 100 mm artillery guns. The outdoor exhibition includes armoured vehicles such as the BTR-70 and BRDM-2, ZIL-157, GAZ-66, and other cars, as well as a blast shelter, a border guard cutter, naval mines, an anti-tank gun, a watchtower of the border guard, and radar and radio masts. A marine radar is located in the main building of the museum, still in its original place. The exhibition also includes artillery shells, shell casings, helmets, caps and uniforms, communication gear, and civil defence equipment.
The long white stone building is one of the few structures of Vaemla Manor still standing and in use. The building was built in the middle of the 19th century as a hay barn for the manor.
Currently, a family company named Hiiu Vill (Hiiu Wool) operates here. The oldest wool processing machines have been brought from Poland. Similar ones were operating here in the 1860s. It is assumed that the current ones date back to the 19th century, although the exact dates are unknown. The family members will gladly show you the machinery, although they are meant for doing actual work.
The history of Sooääre farm dates back at least for 200 years. The oldest part of the cottage-cum threshing barn originates from the first half of XIX century, it’s a threshing barn room with soil floor and people used to live there and also dry crop in the autumn. Living room with chambers was built in the second half of the XIX century.
Smoke sauna, paargu or better known as a summer kitchen, storehouse, cellar, coach house and victualler (former cowshed) are all part of the Farm Museum. There are also remains of an old dug well. In all buildings, there are expositions of archaic tools and commodities. Soera was a typical XIX century Hiiu household.
The exhibition in Palade House of Rocks museum provides a comprehensive overview of the landscapes of Hiiumaa, its geological history, the local fossils, the Kärdla meteorite crater, and the use of rocks over time.
The museum includes an outdoor classroom which is partly surrounded by glass.
Sõru Museum is located in the village of Pärna in Emmaste parish and belongs to the Sõru Maritime Centre complex. The museum was established under the leadership of Ms Milvi Vanatoa with the aim of collecting and preserving the stories and traditions of the local coastal village.
In addition to the permanent exhibitions, there are three halls for other exhibitions. There is a seminar room on the first floor of the building where you can organise various round tables, study days, and other smaller events.
This is not a shopping centre in the traditional sense of the word – it is a place that will give you something to look at and think about. Everything on display has been collected from our local beaches or kindly donated from people all over the world – and represents everything that finds its way into the sea.
You can even buy a thing or two as well – there is quite a selection, and one that is often unique, surprising, and not rubbish at all! Here, the present, past, and future of our shores and seas meet, together with their magic and pain, carelessness and inspiration, beauty and ugliness.
SÕRU MARITIME CENTRE was opened in 2006. Within the territory of the Maritime Centre there are the sailing ship „Alar“ and its renovation hall, Sõru Maritime Museum, the port tavern, the passenger and yacht harbors, the harbor building together with a shop, a floating sauna, the beach and a camping ground.
There is a saying: “The people of Hiiumaa live on water, unless they happen to live on solid ground”. During the Swedish rule, two men from the Emeste farm – Bernth and Hans – worked as ferrymen taking passengers across to Saaremaa. The name Emmaste, which later became the name of the manor estate established by Jakob Pontus Stenbock (1779) and in the 19th century the name of the parish, derives from that very Emeste farm. Emmaste parish was separated from Käina parish in 1866. The place-name Sõru was first mentioned in writing in 1254. Sõru has had its own chapel, a cemetery, a landing place for fishing boats, and a wharf (1917). The seaside used to be lined with sheds for keeping nets, wells and windmills. There used to be, at different periods of time, also a school, a frontier guard station, a pub, a liquor store, a cinema, a fish receiving centre, and the office of the coastal fishing brigade in Sõru.
Nowadays one can admire the spectacular sea view from the village road and the Tohvri seamarks (1934). There are still traces of cannon batteries, barracks and outhouses from the period of World War I. as well as WWII. Typically of the natural and cultural environment of Baltic Sea islands, the traditional lifestyle of Hiiumaa involved ship building, seafaring and fishing, complemented by the local Hiiu language and customs. Sõru Museum offers a historical overview of this maritime lifestyle. Before WW I. the men of Emmaste parish had more than 55 ships, and 153 captains are known to have come from this area. The three-masted Alar, a unique monument of Estonian maritime history, is based here at Sõru. Alar is unique as the only remaining wooden ship built in Estonia before WW II. The pine deal for building the ship was brought from the village of Õngu, the oak wood from Saaremaa. The ship was built under the supervision of shipmaster Peeter Himmist, and was launched at Õngu beach in 1938. Alar is 30m long, 7 m wide and has a tonnage of 270 t. The ship had a 125 hp Swedish Bolinder engine. Alar sailed the world seas until 1968.
In 1944, over 700 people fled from Hiiumaa to Sweden. The dynasties of ship builders and seafarers from Hiiumaa became obsolete during the Soviet occupation, although the fishermen of the Hiiu Kalur collective farm caught fish across the oceans all the way to the western coast of Africa. Hiiumaa itself was a restricted border area, which meant that fishermen were allowed to go to sea only by special permits issued by the frontier guard. The interest of the local people in their own cultural heritage found a new incentive in 1998, when the miraculously survived Alar was brought back home from Hobro, Denmark after half a century of exile, in order to be renovated.
Nowadays, the former collective farm fish receiving centre (1958) houses the port tavern and the boat shed which is used as a concert and summer event venue. In 1999, the former building of the Hiiu Kalur brigade office and village cinema was turned into a museum; the building was rebuilt in 2006. The museum’s collection consists of more than 4,000 valuable items, historical ship documents, photos of local seafarers, fishermen as well as the everyday life and feasts of the seaside village community, pieces of art made by seamen, their love letters and songs. The exhibition halls offer inspiring views of the sea and the coastal landscape.
Kärdla Harbour was established after the construction of the Kärdla Broadcloth Factory (in 1830) to facilitate the transport of raw material and production. Originally, the port belonged to the Hiiu-Kärdla Broadcloth Factory and in the 19th century, it was the only harbour on the island that had foreign trade rights. The harbour operated between 1849 and 1944, initially just as the harbour with the highest goods turnover on the island, but in the beginning of the 20th century, a passenger service line between Kärdla and Tallinn was launched, which operated until the beginning of WWII.
In order to facilitate the entry into the harbour, three lane markers were built in – two in Kärdla and one in Lehtma.
The central structures of the harbour were the quay measuring 142 metres and big stone harbour warehouses.
The goods were carried from the quay to the warehouses by horses. For this purpose, a railway was built on the quay, on which barrows with goods moved pulled either by horses or pushed by manpower.
Kärdla Harbour was destroyed on the eve of WWII in 1944.
Since 2011, the development and restoration of the harbour have been the responsibility of the Foundation Kärdla Harbour.
This unusual name marks the location of a unique headland. You know you are close to the destination if you see the statue of Leigri, a hero of Hiiu County.
The esker runs from north-east to south-west. Its higher parts are covered with vegetation but become a beach full of pebbles. Unique trees and shrubs grow here: honeysuckle, alder buckthorn, buckthorn, and snowball tree. There is an abundance of sea kale on the shores, which make the beach an amazing sight during the flowering period. Not to mention the marvellous brier flowers. Kassari is a popular place for summer holidays: for example, the writer Aino Kallas and the linguist-diplomat Oskar Kallas have stayed here.
The 35-metre long and 8-metre wide three-masted motor sailboat Ernst Jaakson (Alar) is the largest old boat to survive in Estonia. The boat was built in 1937–1939 in the Village of Õngu on Hiiumaa Island. Most of its life was spent abroad. Now after 50 years, this giant has been brought back for restoration to the Sõru Harbour in Hiiumaa, which is the only wooden boat restoration centre in Estonia.
The first captain was Arnold Türi, whose father, Villem Türi, was one of the owners. One of the first jobs for Alar was carrying wood. Unfortunately new winds began to blow. In the summer of 1940 the boat began to carry construction material for the Soviet army bases from Loksa to Saaremaa. The ship had many different captains. The Estonian – blue/black/white flag, which was there only a year, was replaced with the red flag in August.
At the beginning of the war the crew somehow wasn’t sent to Leningrad and so Alar stayed in Estonian waters during the war. At the end of the war the owners of the ship and the crew with families (altogether 144 people) prepared to escape on board the Alar to neutral waters of Sweden. But their plan was betrayed to the German security police and they got caught in the port of Kõrgessaare. The seized ship was taken to Haapsalu, where women and children were released. The men were taken to a prison in Tallinn. Many of them were sentenced to death. This wasn’t completed as the Russian army came closer.Some of these men were able to go to Sweden later. The Germans took Alar under their flag and by the name of Kurland to Germany.
Several years later captain Arnold Türi, who had moved to the United States, found his ship of youth in the port of Hamburg. He took it to England. It was thoroughly rebuilt there and renamed “Arne”. It was sent again to sea with an Estonian crew and at first under the flag of Panama.
The captain sold the ship to Sweden and it worked under the Swedish flag until 1968. Captain Türi bought this ship, which needed thorough reconstruction, back from Sweden and took it to the port of Hobro in Denmark.
For several reasons the reconstruction took decades. 60 years after starting to build Alar there was an idea in Estonia (who was now free again) to bring this miraculously saved ship back to Estonia. On July 28, 1998 Alar was towed from Hobro to Hiiumaa. The ship, which was made at Õngu beach, had come home after 59 years of adventures.
On September 14, 1998 Estonian ambassador Ernst Jaakson (whose roots were in Hiiumaa) was interned at Kensico cemetery in the United States of America. The Emmaste local government renamed the ship after him Ernst Jaakson. This decision has a symbolic power. Both Alar and Jaakson served Estonia in the same way mostly from overseas.
Welcome to the northmost lavender field in the world!
The Lavender Farm is located on a rocky and sunny slope, on the edge of the Kärdla meteorite crater. Our 20,000 lavender plants grow in an area of almost 1 hectare and blossom from late June to early August. We make exciting products from lavender, such as lavender jam, lavender spice and lavender micellar water. During blossoming, there are 100,000 helpers at the edge of the field, who diligently harvest lavender honey.We look forward to seeing you at the Open Farm Day, Harvest Party and Conservation Holiday. At other times or with a bigger group, visits can be booked individually.
Kärdla Church is dedicated to John the Baptist. It was built in 1861-1863 for the workers of Kärdla’s Cloth Factory and the money for the construction was collected from the workers themselves. The factory administration and landlords of surrounding manors also gave some.
The interior is like a West-Estonian new 3-naval type church. There are some remarkable furnishings like – a simple neo-gothic altar area, carved pulpit, lamps and an altar painting – “Christ on the Cross”, made in 1889.
On the eastern side of the church a very awkward four-squared wooden tower was built in 1929. It is still there today. It was built around the original gable tower, which has wide bell shutters and totally covers this remarkable airy baroque style building.
Kärdla church existed as an auxiliary church of Pühalepa up to 1926. Before founding of this church there were two churches in Kärdla in different time periods. Neither of them has remained.
The Pühalepa Church is Hiiumaa’s oldest stone church. In 1255, the German Order started the construction of a stone fortress-church. Initially lacking a steeple, the arched stone church was completed in the 14th century; construction of the steeple started in 1770. After it renovation in the 19th century, Crosses of Malta were painted on the walls that are primarily associated with the membership of the Ungern-Sternberg family members in this Order.
One of the inauguration crosses has survived on the wall of the choir room. An unusual stone pulpit was given to the Pühalepa Church by the Hiiesaare manor lords, the Gentschiens in 1636.The burial chapel of the von Stenbock family is in the churchyard.
The PüThe patron Saint of this church is Saint Laurentius – Protector against fire and guardian of the poor and destitute.
This first stone church was built before 1260 and was considered a safe haven. The church was vaulted in the end of 1200s – early 1300s with three vaults.
The initial rectangular size of the church was 9 x 22 m with no windows on the north side. This Gothic style church replicates those found on Gotland, Sweden.
The earliest document that mentions the parish Pühalepa is from 1470.
The early building materials were mainly fieldstone with the outer corners faced with limestone and with no visible base. Initially, there was also no sacristy or steeple.
In 1575, during the Livonian war, the church was destroyed to ruins by the Russians attacking from Haapsalu.
In the early 1600s was the church rebuilt. A new triumphal arch and gables were added.
The late Renaissance stone pulpit, designed and constructed by Joachim Winter has been in the church since 1636.
In the second half of the 18th century, the church was thoroughly renovated. The steeple, sanctuary and the choir loft, all got their current shape during this building period. New neo-gothic windows were opened in the north wall and a large steep pitched window was added to the choir loft. The total length of the building was now 41.5 x 13 metres as it is today. In 1874, the steeple height was topped and a neo-gothic cupola added to cap its current height of 38.1 metres.
The churchyard is home to the two remaining, partly preserved sun crosses of Hiiumaa and Saaremaa, a disk-shaped cross, the small baroque cemetery chapel of the foundress of the Suuremõisa manor house, Ebba Margaretha Stenbock (1704−1775), tombstones for Suuremõisa’s gentlemen and other interesting grave markers from the 18th and 19th century.
In the post-war years, the church was used for storage.
Reigi did not become an independent parish until 1627. . The greatest treasure of Reigi church is its art collection.
Did you know…?
The name ‘Reigi’ comes from Swedish and means ‘smoke’ or ‘signal fire’Pihla Tavern, known from Gustav Ernesaks’s opera ‘Stormy Beach’, was located across the street from the churchInspired by the words of Runeberg, Pastor G. F. Rinne wrote a song of praise to Hiiumaa to a tune by Pacius
The name Reigi originates from the local Swedes and it means both smoke and beacon fire. Reigi was the biggest Swedish village in northern Hiiumaa.
After the Swedes were deported in 1781, local Estonians started to form their own community in Reigi. Swedish families that lived beside the church were not deported and at first people called the community Rootsi küla (Swedish village); later it became the official name. Even before the World War II some older people in the village talked to each other in the old Swedish language. O. R. L. von Ungern-Sternberg established a small dairy farm attached to a manor in Reigi village proper. Bricks were also produced near Reigi. In the 20th century a dairy operated in Reigi. The manor served as a schoolhouse. Reigi became an independent parish in 1627, when the congregation separated from Käina. The writer Aino Kallas has described those times colourfully in her book The Reigi Pastor. The characters of the book did not go to the church we see nowadays, but an old wooden church that was situated in Reigi village. A wooden church with an architecturally interesting central tower was subsequently built in the 1690s on the high Pihla hill. The church was dedicated to John the Baptist. Swedes formed the better part of the congregation, so the clergymen had to speak Swedish too.
The stone church, still used for services but reconsecrated to Christ, was built by Baron Otto Reinhold Ludwig von Ungern-Sternberg (1744-1811) in memory of his son Otto Dietrich Gustav, who killed himself. The church was inaugurated on August 24, 1802.
The heraldry above the main entrance also refers to the Ungern-Sternbergs. The family burial place is situated nearby. Although the coat-of-arms remind us of the higher dignitaries, ordinary workers and builders are also remembered in the church. Their names can be seen on the black boards at the side of the altarpiece, next to the names of the patron and landlords.
In accordance with modern traditions, the Reigi church is built to be roomy and light. If you think about it, being inside the church is very much like standing under a huge boat turned upside down. All of the architecture resounds with themes of belonging together. The biggest asset of the Reigi church is its art collection. Almost all the works tell a story that is older than the church and they lead us to the European art traditions through Biblical themes. It is not known exactly how all these works reached the far-away Reigi church, but some of them might have come from castaways and shipwrecks, and others must represent the taste or means of the former landowners. The year on the wall, 1899, is the year of the last major reconstruction work, when the church’s colour scheme changed and the current altarpiece was installed.
The church may also justifiably be proud of its organ, presumed to be of Hiiumaa origin. Folk tales connect the organ with the parish pastors, the Sakkeuses from Käina, although there is no written evidence.
The story of Reigi church could include a separate chapter about local pastors, because some of them were quite important in the history of culture. Some of them are more famous for their bad reputation than honest service in the congregation, for example the first pastor, P. A. Lempelius, who sentenced his unfaithful wife to death by beheading.
C. Forsmann was a pastor at the time, when the Swedes were deported from the island and also during the inauguration of the stone church. He hired an itinerant clergyman and launched a hat factory. pictures or something else. The farmer could not answer these questions and at last he said, that there was just a bunch of straw with little creatures crawling on them – sheet music!
Pastor G. F. Rinne could speak the local language very well, and composed an ode to Hiiumaa inspired by the words of Runeberg to a tune by Pacius he had heard in Finland. It is presumed that even J. V. Jannsen (1819-1890), an Estonian writer and person of culture during the awakening period, who couldn’t understand Finnish or Swedish, used the words of Rinne’s Hiiumaa song while composing Estonia’s national anthem.
Across the road from the church was once situated the parsonage and the famous Pihla tavern that is even mentioned in Gustav Ernesaks’s opera Stormy Shore. The parsonage is still unoccupied, but full of dignity. Nothing is left of the Pihla tavern, and even the hill on which it was situated has been bulldozed.
Legends and stories
The church was also a place where people could get additional education, especially in reading and singing. But once it happened that a farmer found a book that he couldn’t understand. He offered it to the landlord and other people. Everybody asked: what does the book look like? Does it contain stories or is it empty, are there.
The Estonian Orthodox Hiiumaa Church of the Birth of the Mother of our Lord in the Village of Kuriste was completed in 1873. The historicist-style stone church was established on the island in the course of the conversion movement. The stones were brought from Riga. Icons and liturgical textiles from the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries are on display. The former priest’s house is located next to the stone church. The church is the only orthodox church to have survived in Hiiumaa, where services also take place.
Orthodoxy and Hiiumaa
At the end of the 19th century the “Apostolic- Orthodoxy”, broke in to Hiiumaa.
In the year 1883 four peasants from the village of Lelu were present at a Divine Orthodox Liturgy in Haapsalu. In the beginning of 1884 one of them, Tõnis Padu of Matse, while being at Haapsalu, called a priest (probably Nikolai Poletajev 1879-1888) to the island. Due to the fact that priest could not come to the Hiiumaa, traveled Tõnis Padu on 13th of July, with ten men or so to Haapsalu to adopt the new religion. Already in August were a large number of Lelu villagers newly chrismated. That’s how the Orthodox parish of the Nativity of the Mother of God of Emmaste – Lelu (the later Emmast – Kuriste) got started. The parish was officially created on the 9th of November 1884 at the farm of Matse of the village of Lelu, where also an Orthodox school was soon opened.
After the creation of the Orthodox parish in Kuriste a massive conversion to Orthodoxy began. In the Orthodox religious services all the human senses were absorbed and there were no separate services for the nobles and for the common people, as there were in the Lutheran Church.
At the end of the 19th century there were about 1500 Orthodox believers in Hiiumaa. At the time of the first Republic of Estonia, Hiiumaa had 3 Orthodox parishes and an active religious life. The Soviet time in Hiiumaa had a devastating impact on Orthodoxy and its sanctuaries. The Kuriste church was at that time the only active Orthodox sanctuary in Hiiumaa.
According to the last census (31.12.2011) there are 91 Orthodox believers in Hiiumaa.
The churches of the historicist style were built in Hiiumaa shortly after the introduction of the Orthodox faith to the island. The construction of the Kuriste church of the Nativity of the Mother of God started on the 17th of May 1888. The builders of the church were said to be the inhabitants of Saaremaa. The yellow bricks were brought with horses and oxen from Riga. The architects of the church were K.Nyman and I.Dmitrijevski.
The church was consecrated on the 27th of July 1890 in memory of the Nativity of the Mother of God. The parish celebrates its feast on the 8th of September. The feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God has been celebrated on the 8th of September probably already from the 6th or the 7th century, but it was taken officially to the Liturgical Calendar only on the 9th century.
Next to the church a graveyard was established and a schoolhouse, together with a priest’s house was also built. The teaching in the school of Kuriste was organized according to the program of the Ministry of Education. The headmaster of the school was a priest and there were 3 – 4 teachers. The only lessons not held in Russian were the lessons of religion and mother tongue (Estonian language). The parish school of Kuriste was closed on the 1st of January 1922. After the establishment of the Education Society of Kuriste in 1997 the house was renovated. At the time of the feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God on the 8th of September 2012 all the local people together with their priest consecrated the house of the Education Society.
In 2011, after the restoration of the roof, floor and interior solution, the church got back its former beauty. The restoration of the spire was finished in 2013. The Kuriste church of the Nativity of the Mother of God is currently the only active Orthodox church in Hiiumaa.
Troparion, tone 4: „Thy birth, O Mother of God, has brought joy to all the world; for from thee arose the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, Who, having dissolved the curse, has given His blessing, and having abolished death, has granted us life eternal.“
An elderly childless couple Joachim and Anna prayed to God and a miracle happened – to them a little girl was born, whom they dedicated to God. Virgin Mary did the biggest act a human being can ever do – to accept God inside her and to give birth to Him. That’s why Virgin Mary is the Mother of God.
Construction of this stone church started in 1866, after the Sõru wooden church near the Emmaste Manor became usable. The land for the new church was presented to the congregation by the lady of the manor, Countess Brevern de la Gardie.
The nave resembles a church hall, despite the two rows of thin support columns. The choir room is separated from the nave by a high, but relatively narrow, triumphal arch. The Emmaste Church has a unique altar painting entitled The Resurrection. The author of the painting, as confirmed by the signature at the bottom of the canvas, is Tõnis Grenzstein, the distinguished representative of the Dusseldorf School in Estonia. The altar painting was completed in 1900.
The oldest sacred building in Emmaste was Sõru wooden chapel which had become unserviceable by the time an independent Emmaste parish was formed in 1866. The owner of Emmaste manorial estate Brevern De la Gardie allocated a piece of his land for a new church. It was then called the Nõmme pine forest and is now known as the Church pine forest. Emmaste Immanuel Church was completed in 1867; the first minister was Ferdinand Luther. Theodor Embeck, who had become famous due to his missionary work, was also a minister of Emmaste Church.
Emmaste Church is one of the youngest Lutheran churches in Hiiumaa. For local people it had also a more practical purpose- it was an excellent seamark. The most noteworthy work of art in the church is the altarpiece “Resurrection”, painted by Tõnis Greinztein (1863-1916) in 1900.
The story of the bells of Emmaste Church is also interesting. Initially the church had two bells which were removed during World War I and probably melted into cannonballs. After the end of the war, local people raised money and had new bells made for the church. A man called Harju Tooma Johannes delivered the bells free of charge and only asked that the bells would be tolled at his funerals without a charge. During the Second World War local people hid the bells, fearing that the history would repeat itself. By now, one of the bells has been found and is hanging in the tower of the church again.
During the period from 1889 to 1891, an apostolic orthodox church and a schoolhouse for the children of the congregation were built in Puski. The peculiar choice of location has been explained by the fact that the first Russian priests of Puski did not know the local conditions. The land was owned by Ungern-Sternberg who, as an opponent of the attack of orthodox faith and religious conversion in general, donated a plot in the middle of nowhere. Nowadays there are ruins of the church and schoolhouse in Puski and a quiet village graveyard sleeping with the sough of wind in the pine grove.
The ruins are located in the heart of the locality Käina. The church was built at the turn of the 15th – 16th century. The Gothic church in Käina seated 600 persons and was the biggest church on Hiiumaa. The church was destroyed in 1941. Several tombstones as well as the sun cross above the entrance are protected as art monuments. A fire in the church destroyed many art treasures: the altar of the Virgin Mary, Saint Nicholas and Saint Antonio, the organ built by the father of the Estonian composer Rudolf Tobias etc. The church also served as the parish centre for many centuries. The ruins have now been conserved, the restoration of the church is planned. The trees that surround the church form a nice park, as the locals call it.
After Hiiumaa had been divided between Livonian Order and Saare-Lääne Bishop in 1254, Käina became the centre of Bishop’s area. Probably in the 13th century already a wooden church was built in Käina.
The stone church dates from about 1500 when Bishop Johannes III Orgas ruled. The first guardian saint of the church was Nicholas, later Martin.
The speciality of the soil wasn’t taken into consideration so the church built on varved clay started to subside. The walls had to be shored up with mighty props. Käina church was very thoroughly rebuilt at the end of the 1850-s. The southern wall of the building was cut down and the former building was united with the annex in the south part of the church. This kind of solution was unique in the Baltic area. The church changed from the usual east-west side to the north-south side.
In 1660 Axel Julius De la Gardie gave 600 hectares of his possession to the church. After that Käina church became one of the biggest landowners among Estonian churches.The grave plates with relieves from the 17th century have got historical and art value.
Paluküla Church was established by the local great landlords Ungern- Sternbergs in the second decade of the 19th century. No documentation of the construction period has been preserved, but the elegant style of the building reflects an educated craftsman, who understood the German architecture of that time period. It seems that the building was meant to be the family’s burial site as there is a barrel vaulted chamber in the basement resulting in the unusually high base for this church.
The church was dedicated in 1820. The weather vane on the spire bears the year 1815 which likely indicates the year of construction (historical certified statement 1989). The plan to have this as a burial church failed because of the unexpectedly high groundwater level, so the sanctuary operated as an auxiliary church of Kärdla until the summer of 1939.
There are 100 seats in the building.
The church steeple was used as a seamark for a century and a half – the steeple height is 29 metres.
In 1939, when the soviet military bases were established in Hiiumaa, the church was taken over by the soviet army and used for storage and as a lookout tower. The church was still used as a storage facility after World War II until it gradually fell into disre- pair and burned to ruin on 26. April 1990.
The roof of the long building was restored in 1994 and the church’s steeple in 1996.
The first chapel was erected in thanks to God by Danish seamen, who had escaped from a shipwreck on the Mänspäe coast. The chapel was built from the pieces of the shipwreck and is said to have had room for only 10 people. In the first half of the 19th century, one of the first “reading schools” in the area operated in the chapel. The present Mänspäe Chapel – the third at this location – was built by the Emmaste Manor lord, Baron Hoiningen-Huene based on a plan designed in 1908. The builder was master builder Toomas Koolmeister. In 2006, the chapel received a new coat of paint, which is exactly the same shade of yellow as when the chapel was built a century ago.
In about 1690, so the tale goes, a ship ran upon the rocks nearby but the crew reached the land safely. In token of their gratitude towards superior powers for being saved, a chapel was erected to the place of salvation. Initially, the chapel of Mänspäe belonged to Käina parish. After Emmaste church was built in 1866, Emmaste parish, the fourth and newest in Hiiumaa, was formed.
By the beginning of the 20th century, the chapel was in such state of decay that a new one had to be built. The present Mänspäe church was built as a subordinate church to Emmaste church and was consecrated on 26 October 1908.
The tight relation of the people of Emmaste with the sea is vividly demonstrated by the great number of seamen and ship owners who have been buried in Mänspäe graveyard and whose tombstones often have an anchor or a ship as an element of design.
Many distinguished figures of education and culture have found their final resting place in Mänspäe Cemetery. Those elderly patients of Tohvri nursing home who have no family are also laid to rest in Mänspäe graveyard. There is a memorial stone for fourteen villagers who were murdered on 12 October 1941 by the Soviet Army retreating from German landing troops.
Soonlepa estate was a subsidiary estate of Suuremõisa. At the end on the 18 century a dairy farm was established in Soonlepa and the estate was extended on the account of the lands of Lepistu and Soonlepa villages. The inhabitants of the villages were forced to move to the forests of Alutaguse in Virumaa. Before that they were made to carry several dozens of earth to the infertile fields of Lepiku village.
Differently from other subsidiaries of Suuremõisa, Soonlepa was still a knight’s estate in 1913. The main building of Soonlepa estate has been destroyed, only barn houses, a stable of working horses, the ruins of the roadster stable and the spirits’ storehouse, a farm hands’ house and the granary building are preserved. The latter was built in the first half of the 19 century and the rest of the buildings in this remarkable complex are from the middle or the second half of the 19 century.
Estonians have always honoured trees. They believed that trees had souls like other living creatures. Some trees were considered sacred and protection was asked from them in tum for sacrifices. Oaks, lime trees and pines were the most common sacred trees in Estonia. However, it was the shape, location or the relation to an important event rather than the species that made a tree sacred.
In Hiiumaa, it was though that Ülenuti small-leaved lime in Kõpu can cure skin diseases if a piece of cloth was torn from clothes on top of the damaged skin and Dailed to the trunk of the tree. For another sacred tree, Tärkma sacrificial oak, it is not clear for what purposes sacrifices were offered up.
In this climate, an oak (Quercus robur) may live up to 700 years. Oaks are the oldest trees in Estonia. Our ancestors said that the first 300 years an oak shoots up to the height, the next 300 years it becomes thicker and the following 300 years it just stands there as it is. Tärkma sacrificial oak is believed to be more than 600 years old. Its growth bas obviously been hampered by strong winds because it is only 11 meters high, but it is very thick, its breast height diameter (at the height of 1.3 meters) is a little more than five meters.
These rocks which have been carried and stacked near Otimse are rather mysterious. It is unknown when and why the limestone ground was cleaned to be a foundation for a pile of rocks; neither is it known if the planned work was finished or is it still uncompleted. Even the origin of the name of the pile of stones is unclear. Some think that once upon a time an eternal (põline) agreement was made between people living by the sea and superior powers, according to which each person was to add a stone to the pile before a longer voyage to prevent accidents. However, both the name of this place and that of Pühalepa may have been derived from words “põhja lõpp” (end of bottom). This is the place where the bottom” or thick limestone layers cease to be close to the ground and the areas of a thicker layer of earth begin.
According to one version, the stones were heaved up to mark the grave of an ancient Scandinavian king Ingvar. Though this theory remains utproved, an Iron Age cist can be found a hundred of meters to the northeast from the stone pile. However, it is possible that the pile was put there relatively recently. An overseer of Sunremõisa estate may have ordered the peasants of nearby villages to gather the stones, either as a punishment or in order to clean the fields of the estate. The story goes that he was a malicious man of Estonian origin who, in the end, escaped a revenge for his brutality.
Ungru Stone is located on the peninsula of Ninametsa. The beautiful scenery of Ninametsa attracted the lord and lady of Kõrgessaare manor who often spent their leisure time by the sea. The lights of a summer house, which was built by the sea, was noticed by the people of coastal villages who were convinced that the Count of Ungru is involved in piracy. People believed that he had the light of Kõpu lighthouse put out and lured ships off course by lighting a fake fire on the top of Ungru Stone. Wrecked ships were allegedly robbed by baron’s servants and no mercy was shown upon castaways.
Apart of the legend claiming that the notorious Neckmansgrund reefs were for Baron Otto Reinhold Ludwig von Ungern-Sternberg a good source of income is probably true. Kõrgessaare estate had the obligation to help ships which had run upon the rocks and the state paid a considerable amount of money for it. The guilt of the count of Ungru was in the amount of remuneration there was a lot of wheeling and dealing related to it. And a lantern attached to the holes drilled in Ungru Stone was probably just to guide the rescuers back to the shore…
Good wanderer, you have come to one of the most mystical places on Hiiumaa and you can see the good old classical stone labyrinth. In Estonia stone labyrinths are typical in costal area that were settled by Swedish settlers. It is not known when they started to establish them and what was the purpose and use of each labyrinth. The world history of labyrinths goes way back to thousands of years before Christ. They have been used for fertility magic and meditation. Also different games and incantations. In Estonia and other countries labyrinths have been called Jerusalem, Turkish City, Constantinople, Peter’s Games, Giant’s Path etc. We know that here in Kootsaare theywere called “Sailor’s Games”. A Swedish sailor who couldn’t get away from Hiiumaaafter his ship was wrecked built one big and two small stone labyrinths to commemoratehis home. Later young people played secret games there, where adults could not see them. Fishermen and sailors consulted them to get better catches or favorable winds, etc.
In 1990 the location of smaller labyrinths were explored about 100 metres to the south. It appeared that stones were there but the labyrinths were not built.
The date of the building of that labyrinth is unknown but it is assumed to be around16-19 century.
A labyrinth is one of the most ancient magical signs in the history of mankind and as a building used for rituals. Labyrinths which were drawn on the ground or marked by stones are known from several thousands of years BC. Labyrinths were built and used for rituals by Navajo and Hopi Indians, Etrusks and the Samis, Vikings and Swedes who lived near the coast. A place, where people once performed fertility rituals and cast spells to conjure up favourable winds and successful voyages, has become a place of games and reflections. The northern and
western coasts of Hiiumaa have been for hundreds of years settled by Hiiumaa Swedes, so it is natural that labyrinths are found in this area. The first written record of Hiiumaa labyrinths is from 1844 when Karl-Ernst von Baer mentioned the labyrinths in the northern tip of Hiiumaa.
A labyrinth built by Swedes is preserved on the peninsula of Kootsaare. The tradition was continued in 1964 when the people of Kaibaldi village built miniature labyrinths for their children to play in. These labyrinths were copied from Kootsaare labyrinths.
Hiiumaa Kuninglik Karskete Ölutinautlejate Selts (The Hiiumaa Royal Association of Temperate Beer-Lovers), established in 1997, undertook to revive the labyrinth building tradition in Hiiumaa and has built 8 labyrinths in different places on the island: Ristna Southern Point, Kõpu Church Hill, Mägipe Beach, Sääre Beach, Kassari, Mihkli Museum, Kärdla and Tahkuna.
The labyrinth that was built in 1997 was an exact copy of the original Kootsaare labyrinth. However, the visitors of the labyrinth started to extend it and the initial classical cross spiral with round paths has turned into a simple spiral to which stones are added. People who wish to get a particularly magnificent view of the labyrinth should climb to the top of the lighthouse. Good traveller! Walk to the centre of the labyrinth, think about the world and your life, add some stones to the path and enjoy yourself!
Sinkholes, which are in Estonian also called “kurisus” (mouths of evil) are a kind of karstic cavities. Karstic formations are rather common in Hiiumaa and in particular in the south of the island. There are many other large sinkholes in the woods surrounding Uuejärve sinkhole.
Karstic holes are created by synergy of several factors, the most important of which is the solubility of the bedrock in water. In Estonia, karstic holes can be found in places where the bedrock is formed of dolomitic lime stone or limy dolomites.
Superficial waters are absorbed into the ground through the cavities left by dissolved limestone layers. A karstic phenomenon is especially vivid during spring flooding. Alarge amount of water may quickly disappear from a sinkhole. This is the reason why our ancestors called karstic holes “the mouths of evil”- it seemed as if an evil mouth had swallowed the water in the bottom of the hole. Some legends tell about things, animals or even people swallowed by a sinkhole. Karstic holes are often associated with places a good distance away where water comes up from the ground again.
The main part of the “life’s work” of Hellamaa windmill was done in the neighbouring Tempal village where it was
for more than 100 years known as Nauri windmill. The windmill was built in 1848-1849 and brought to its present location and repaired in 1946.
About ten thousand years ago, retreating glaciers left behind an enormous rock. It was too big to resist weathering and over some time it broke into eight large and a number of smaller rocks. These rocks are gathered close to each other on a half-hectare piece of land. When examined more closely, it can be seen which pieces fit each other.
By now, the island has accepted the rocks, found a nice place for each, suntoumded them with junipers, pines and firs and covered them with moss.
This remarkable collection of rocks was examined twice, in 1871 and 1879, by Gregor Helmersen – a Baltic German of Estonian origin, a professor at St. Petersburg Mining Institute and a member of St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, the first chairman of Russian Geology Committee. He considered the boulders so amazing that he called it the best sample of boulders in the world. Now, his memory is saved in the name of the boulders he examined.
Kurisoo Hole is also called Kurisoo, Koolme or Neelme sinkhole. This cleft is easily mixed up with another Kurişu sinkhole in Kõrgessaare rural municipality as both are near Kurisu villages which got their names from the sinkholes. Both are good examples of karstic phenomenon,
Karstic holes can be found in several places in Hiiumaa, A karst is formed in places where the bedrock is easily soluble in water. Superficial waters are absorbed into the ground through the cavities left by dissolved rock, During spring flooding, a lake is formed in Kurisoo Hole. When the water reaches a certain level, its absorption becomes especially intensive and the lake disappears into the ground in 10-12 hours.
This phenomenon left great impression on people of the old times. Legenda describe karstic holes as mouths of evil which together with water may swallow things and animals and even people. The name “kuri suu” (evil mouth) was shortened into “kurisu.” and is up to now used as the name of large sinkholes.
Kurisoo Hole is the largest sinkhole in Hiiumaa; it is 100 meters long and 30 meters wide and it reaches down to 6 7 meters.
Navigation in the waters surrounding Hiiumaa is made easier by 28 larger sea marks and lighthouses which can be warning beacons or leading and guiding marks. The latter include also Sõru leading line lighthouses. Sõru leading line together with Emmaste leading line marks the axis of the lane going through Soela Sound.
The leading comprises two or sometimes three lighthouses, navigation beacons or lights which are positioned at certain distance on one line which goes through their axes of symmetry and forms an axis of the leading line. When sailing along a leading line, the ship must be kept on the axis of symmetry of lighthouses or sea marks. Thus, it is sailing along the axis of the leading line.
In 1913, two pairs of wooden leading marks were put up on the coast of Hiiumaa by Soela Sound: one pair in Sõru to help ships navigate through the eastern channel and another pair in Emmaste to take ships through the western channel. In 1934 the first pair of sea marks was rebuilt into lighthouses. Both are reinforced concrete towers with the diameter of 2 meters. The front lighthouse which stands 16 metres tall with the height of light 18 metres.
Emmaste sea marks were rebuilt in 1935 one of them is a round 11 metres high monolithie reinforces concrete lighthouse and another is a 19 meters high metal frame tower with a square shield.
The beginning of Vaemla manorial estate was during the enfeoffment under the Swedish rule when these lands were acquired by a legendary Swedish military commander Pontus De la Gardie. As soon as in 1582, the estate was bought by the family of Wachtmeister and remained in their ownership for 165 years. Later, the estate changed hands rather often and belonged to a number of blue-blooded families.
From the perspective of the cultural history of Estonia, the estate is made valuable by the period when the first Estonian professional artist Johann Köler (1826-1899) lived and worked at the estate. Köler was an academician of St. Petersburg Academy of Arts and worked in the 1860-ies and 1870-ies as the art teacher of the Russian Czar’s daughter, grand duchess Maria Aleksandrova. At the same time, Köler did a lot for his home country and influenced significantly the Estonian National Awakening
In 1863-1864, while travelling in Estonia, Johann Köler visited Hiiumaa and was invited to Vaemla by the then owner of the estate Karl Jakob Rudolf von Gernet (the same persons are depicted in a book by Jaan Kross “The Third Hills”). Here, the artist made the drafts of many of his later paintings (“Hiiu Women by a Well”, “Hiiu Peasant with an Axe”, “The Blessing Christ”.).
Another prominent figure of the Estonian culture had also connections with Vaemla estate. Ado Velmet (Adolf Villmann) (1910-1974), a composer, choir conductor and music teacher, was born in Vaemla. Unfortunately, the house where he was born and where he grew up has not preserved.
The City Park takes up 5.2 ha. The first part of the park was established in the 1860s after the church was finished in a place called Kirikupõllu (Church field). A more thorough tree planting took place in the beginning of the 20th century. The youngest part of the park was planted in the 1970s. Kärdla song festival grounds are located in the City Park. The first song festival in Hiiumaa took place in 1867 in Leigri village in the yard of Murru pub. There is evidence of a children’s party in Lepakopil in Kärdla already from 1874. In 1926 the first national song festival was held in Kärdla. This was conducted by Tuudur Vettik, a composer, choral conductor and music teacher who later became one of the leaders of the Estonian national song festivals.
In the early 20th century, major landscaping works were carried out and new plants added then and again in the 1930s. The newest part of the park was planted in the 1970s. The main species of trees include native ones like black alder, common ash, maple and linden. But represented are also spruces, oaks, willows elms and bushes like hazel, hawthorn, lilac and snowberry. Of alien species, the park features large-leaved lime, like hazel, hawthorn, lilac and snowberry. Of alien species, the park features large-leaved lime, spindletree, blue spruce, European and Russian larch and silver poplar. An interesting feature in the centre of the park is a circle formed of big ashes, where some dead trees have been substituted by new ones. The park has lots of high black alders and ashes standing at about 25 metres. All in all, there are more than 30 species of trees and bushes in the park. Choir singing tradition in Kärdla was established in 1855. In summer, song festivals were held in Lepa- kopli, where a temporary stage was built every year. The beginning of spring was celebrated with a party organized in early May at Kirikupõllu. For the Hiiumaa First Song Day, which took place in 1926, a permanent choir stand was erected in the park. The colour solution of the present choir stand was inspired by the colours of the municipal flag and was designed in 2012, when Kärdla became the Estonian Song Capital.
In front of the Kärdla Church, a monument has been erected to the residents of Hiiumaa who were killed in WWII. The author of the idea of the monument is Hiiumaa-born Otto Mägi and in realising the idea, he was helped by Heino Kerde. The sculptor of the monument is Elo Liiv and its architects are Maris Kerge and Kadri Kerge. The sculpture was modelled after Marek Vainumäe, a young man from Hiiumaa. The monument was erected with the support of the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Defence, private persons and organisations. The construction of the monument was coordinated by the Kärdla Town Government and the Hiiumaa Organisation of the Freedom Fighters and Repressed Persons. The monument was completed in 2012.
The village, which currently has about 70 inhabitants, is spread over an area of approx. 24 km². The nature of the area is diversified by the fact that it is located on the edge of the Kärdla meteorite crater. This was a suitable spot for a settlement to emerge already two or three thousand years ago, which is proven by incidental findings in the form of boat-shaped stone axes from the area. The earliest written record, with the spelling Twbbesälke, dates from the year 1564. Soon, the name Tubaselja was taken into use; and only in the 20th century, it was replaced by Tubala. The location of the village in the proximity of the fast-growing Kärdla increased the number of its inhabitants as well as their self-esteem. Perhaps the latter got an additional boost from the legend of an important stake that is in Tubala and that is said to keep the Hiiumaa island anchored to the sea bottom. Anyhow, people living elsewhere started to call the Tubala residents “true Hiiumaa natives”. The sixth-largest boulder of Hiiumaa, which is located near the road, and two beautiful windmills naturally attract the attention of travellers. The windmill that stands farther from the road and has been carefully restored is the Allika or Tubala windmill, built in 1886; the other one, Tõnise windmill, is a bit younger, dating from 1903. An interesting fact is that in the 1960s, there was an enterprise specialising in impregnating electricity poles in Tubala village. Another notable fact is that it was in Tubala where the anagama kiln, which is of great interest to the potters, was built in 2013. Katri Guesthouse, which has been in operation for decades, is in Tubala village; and in its proximity, Hautselja farm boasts a lavender field, which is the biggest in Estonia and one of the northern- most in the whole world.
The ruins of Pühalepa Tavern are a beautiful example of the tradition to build a tavern close to the church. This Tavern was mentioned as early as 1529 but is probably even older.
The Tavern was established on one of the most important crossroads of Eastern Hiiumaa. The southbound road went by the church and manor to the southern part of the island, the northbound road went to Vahtrepa harbour, the eastbound road toward the villages of Valipe and Sarve and the westbound road, to Suursadama harbour and the neighbouring villages beyond. In time, the crossroad shifted to the manor and now it’s where the roads branch half a km east of the Vahtrepa crossroads.
The size of the tavern was quite remarkable – (length 37.5 m, width 14.7 m, total area 552 m²).
After the fire at the end of the 1500s, the bailiff of Hiiumaa occupied Pühalepa Tavern in the early 1600s. At the start of the 17thcentury, it became part of the church lands and used by the clergy. However, most of the time the Tavern belonged to the Suuremõisa manor, and provided income with its expansive distillation and sale of spirits to Russia – 22 barrels of vodka were produced there in a week during its glory days. The manor had 12 taverns on its combined territory but only the ruins of the Pühalepa Tavern have been preserved today.
The latest major renovation of the Tavern was in the 19th century with the last “adjustment” in the 1930s when the Tavern installed a wooden floor and large windows. In the corner of the main room, a kitchen remained with two rooms behind it.
The Tavern business ceased by the end of the 1930s at which time a hospital like an establishment was set up by the Germans during World War II. It was used for housing until 1956, after which it was vacant and then slowly and completely dilapidated.
The first stone bridge over the 16 km long Suuremõisa river with a 62,4 km2 catchment basin was built at the beginning of the 19th century. The bridge as a grand facility with three limestone arc vaults correlated at that time with the manor complex. A bit smaller match of the Big Bridge lied a kilometre towards the river delta.
In 1931 the crumbling middle arc was replaced by the 6,5 m concrete span. The nearby new bridge was built in 1973 together with the new road.
The Old Port of Kalana in Kaleste Bay is the westernmost port in Hiiumaa. Its construction was started as early as during the reign of King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden in 1611–1632. Back then, the port was primarily intended to support maritime rescue. In the 1870s, a lifeboat station was built near the port. In the 1930s, a ten-oar boat manned with volunteers was located there.
During the last decades of the 19th century, the Kalana landing site was primarily used for exporting forest and construction materials. During World War II, the port of the rescue station was damaged; and the lifeboat was used by war refugees for ﬂeeing abroad.
The need for a new ice-free port arose with the establishment of fishing industry in Hiiumaa; and in 1960, a 102-metre-long wooden quay was completed in Kalana. After a few years, the construction of a quay made of concrete began. Until the 1980s, one of the main fish reception points and winter ports for the ships of the collective fishing farm Hiiu Kalur was located here. Circumstances changed; and in the 1990s and 2000s, the port stood idle for a long time, changing owners several times.
In 2011, the local entrepreneur Endel Evert (OÜ Ewent) started with the construction of a new private port next to the old fishing port. The Hiiumaa municipality bought the private port area at the end of the year 2020 and renamed it the Kalana Marina. The new marina has 40 docking spaces for both guests and local sailing enthusiasts, including coastal fishermen. The ship of the Hiiumaa Voluntary Maritime Rescue Society will also be docked there, continuing the tradition of the historical Kalana rescue station.
Salinõmme harbour was built after the division of Salinõmme Cattle Manor into farms in 1924. Salinõmme harbour is located on Kasuklaid (Kasuk islet) in local toponymy. Salinõmme Fishermen Cooperative was founded in 1925.
Construction work of farms and purchasing of fishing equipment swallowed anyway scarce resources and the activities were initially limited to maintaining the landing places of the peninsular for pulling the boats to the seaside. The first Salinõmme harbour facilities were constructed in 1942-1943. In these years a landing bridge resting on comb cases and a fish buying up building were constructed. In 1942 the Salinõmme fishermen belonged to the South Hiiumaa Fishermen Cooperative. The Cooperative closed down in spring 1949. Assets, including the Salinõmme harbour, were transferred to the newly established fishing kolkhozes. Salinõmme fishermen belonged to kolkhoz called “Nõukogude Kalur” (“Soviet Fisherman”). During the time of “Nõukogude Kalur” capital repairs were made to the har- bour bridge and the fishermen house was built (was expanded in 1972). At the same time the first fish plant department was constructed. In 1959 a new integrated fish plant department, a new fish reception bridge and a red-brick gun booth were built.
On March the 14th 1961 small fishing kolkhozes were joined into a big “Hiiu Kalur” kolkhoz and the Salinõmme harbour went as part of the new kolkhoz asset to the disposal of Salinõmme fishing brigade (in 1972 it was renamed to Väina brigade). In 1968 an ice cellar was constructed to one side of the fish plant. In 1969 the dredging of the
harbour area was done and a new wooden wharf built.
In 1974 a recreational harbour which represented a 30 metre long wooden wharf and a detached harbour building came into being next to the fishing harbour.
In 1983 a net shed was built to the fishing harbour. During 1986 – 1987 a steel tower with radio communication equipment for communicating with fishermen at sea was erected in front of the guard house in the harbour. In 1989 a concrete wharf was constructed.
In 1993 a Salinõmme Strait Fishing Farms Commercial Association was founded and most of the Salinõmme harbour went to its ownership.
In 2006 a new concrete ramp was constructed with state funding and the harbour dredging works were done.
The Käina Church founded a small man- or-like household for the widows of pastors and other members of the pastors’ families who were elderly and in need of caretaking. The manor was situated in Selja village; so, the local people called it Seljamõisa (Selja Manor) or the Widows House. This spot was marked on maps as early as in the 18th century. However, at the beginning of the 20th century, the house became uninhabit- ed; so, Doctor Arthur Norman, the first physician of Käina, who had started working in Aadma Manor in 1895, moved there with his family and serv- ants. New doctor’s offices were soon built in the north end of the house. After Doctor Norman left in 1937, Doctor Rimscha and Doctor Kaljas also worked at Selja before World War II. At the end of 1940s, the doctor’s office was converted into a country hospital with 10 beds and a maternity ward. About a dozen years later, Doctor Endel Türi started practicing medicinal mud treatments at the hospital – something that Dr. Norman had pioneered already half a century earlier. Mud therapy was used there up to the year 1962. The Selja Country Hospital was closed on 17th July 1985, because the building of a new modern outpatient clinic was completed in Käina. The Widows’ House was demolished in 1989-1990. The only things reminiscent of its pleasure garden, which was once held in high esteem, are the fields of spring snowﬂakes and wild tulips in bloom in the springtime.
Kõpu (formerly Dagerort) is the name of a 21-kilometre-long peninsula in the western part of Hiiumaa. However, this name has been made famous primarily by the oldest lighthouse in Estonia, the construction of which started on the tallest hill of Hiiumaa as early as at the beginning of the 16th century. The earliest written records about the village by the same name date from the year 1565, but traces of human settlement are thousands of years old. Fifteen sites of Stone Age settlements have been found, some of them on the territory of Kõpu village. Several stone graves and fire pits, bone arrowheads, remnants of ancient fields, an iron processing site, etc., have been unearthed from those sites.
One of the reasons why the current Kõpu village was born was probably due to the necessity to provide living quarters for lighthouse keepers and service personnel. The small Kõpu Manor, which was situated nearby and dates back to at least the 17th century, is also believed to have been related to lighthouse inspectors. By 1917, there were already 32 farms in the village. In 1959, the village had 130 permanent residents; whereas in 2019, there were just 43 in- habitants.
In 1873, the first school was built in Kõpu. The school has had several diﬀerent names and diﬀerent forms of study. The Pentecostal prayer house, which was completed by the village road in 1933, was taken into use as a community centre about 20 years later; then, as a shop; and yet later, as a private residence.
A village well, quite a rare sight in Hiiumaa, along with a fire station built nearby, are still attracting attention by the village road.
Käina kalmistu on rajatud peale 1772. aastat, kui Katariina II ukaasiga keelati matmine kiri- kutesse ning kirikuaedadesse. Seni kasutusel olnud Käina kirikuaed suleti matmisteks ja asutati uus kalmistu, kirikust ca 1 km kaugusel. Esimene matus Käina kalmistul toimus tõenäoliselt 1850. aastate alguses, kuid vanim säili- nud hauatähis kannab daatumit 1855. Tegemist on kalmistu loodeosas asuva kiviristiga (1), millel on tekst: Siin muldas maggab
Sündind 1790 aastal
Laulatatud 1808 aastal
Surnud 24tamal Mais 1855. Keik Temma murre vaew ning piin
On önsa otsa sanud siin
Ta kandis risti ilma peäl
On surnud ellab siski veel
The first sacristans started working at the Käina Church already in the 17th century. At first, the sacristan’s home resembled an ordinary farm- stead of Hiiumaa, with its granaries, barns and the traditional threshing-room dwelling house. However, a new borough-style house was built for the sacristan who was invited to work here and came from the mainland in the 1830s. The stone cellar in the middle of the yard also dates back to the same or even earlier time. Starting from the 1930s, sacristans were no longer hired for the church; and the building was then used as an ordinary dwelling house.
The management of the collective farm “Käina Säde”, founded in 1948, decided to convert the old threshing-room dwelling house that was in the yard of the sacristan’s house into a pigsty and chicken coop for the collective farm.
In the 1950s, a plan was made to demolish all the buildings, but that idea was not implemented. Instead, in 1959, a memorial plaque informing that it was the birthplace of composer Rudolf Tobias was attached to the dwelling house. In 1973, a museum presenting his life and works was opened in the same house.
The wooden granary, which the museum has brought here from the Rootsiküla village, resembles the farmstead’s original granary, which, just like the old dwelling house, had fallen apart in the course of time. Also the windmill, which was originally situated in the pasture by the Käina Bay, was replaced by another one, brought here from Emmaste, Ole village, as recently as in 2003.
The oldest written record of Õngu (also: Öinigu, Ennige, etc.) village dates from the year 1583. A brook by the same name ﬂows through the village and via the millpond into Mardihansu Bay. There was a watermill in operation on the brook already in the 16th century. In 1990, a fish farm was founded nearby; and the millpond was cleaned. Mill services, although no longer pow- ered by water, were oﬀered in the village all the way up to the middle of the 20th century. Now, people can marvel at one of the smallest windmills on the island here. As time passed, Õngu evolved into a typical coastal village of Hiiumaa. Many famous sailors and shipbuilders grew up here – the Hanslep(p)s, the Vanaseljas, the Timmelmanns, the Engsos, and others. For many years, there was a loading place for exporting timber on the village coast. From 1937 to 1939, a 35-metre-long three-masted motor sailboat was built in Õngu village. The sailboat was named Alar; and it is the biggest old wooden ship built in Estonia that has survived up to the present day. Ingel Timmelmann-Pork (1855-1937), who came from Õngu village, gave the name Hiiu to a subdistrict of the Nõmme district of Tallinn.
These days, one of the sights drawing attention in the village is a species-rich rhododendron garden (a private property), which is situated in the pine forest. Various other rare plants grow there as well. The building of the Baptist praying house, which was actively used before World War II, has been torn down; while thedwelling house of the Vanaselja family, which was de- signed and built by the local builder August Lund (1890-1969) in the 1930s, as well as several other old buildings in the village, have been either restored or well maintained.
The house was built in the early 1900s – it was ordered by a former Kärdla merchant, Mähle. Although the house has undergone some reconstructions over the years, its general layout reflects the expectations that a wealthy provincial merchant had to its home at the beginning of the 20th century and in line with the era, it had to be functional, comfortable and also show the wealth of its owner. Nigolas Mähle owed his wealth to good relations with the administration of the Kärdla factory, which exercised control over the number of stores allowed in Kärdla through the municipal government. Mähle’s goods were believed to be too expensive and he re- acted to the complaints over the too high price of the goods by saying that he took only a small profit: merely one kopeck on every kopeck. As the trading business in the town was controlled, competition was non-existent and he gained more and more wealth. The Mähle family were the first Estonian-born residents in Hiiumaa who could send their sons to a university.
Initially, one end of the house accommodated a store. In 1909, the Kärdla Consumer Association also established a bakery and a small bread-baking plant in Mähle’s store.
After WWI, the building was sold to Kärdla municipality and for a long time it served as the court house.
Since 1996, the house has accommodated the Ave Vita Non-profit Association, which promotes cultural and youth work.
Mähle House has been under heritage protection since 2010.
The Kassari Manor, also called Saaremõisa (’Island Manor’), was founded in this location by David Johan Gaertner, the archivist of the Est- land Supreme Land Court, in 1730s. In 1758, the Stackelbergs became its new owners. That Baltic German family took care of and managed the Kassari Manor until the beginning of the 20th century. One of the buildings that once belonged to the old manor and that have survived is the stone-built steward’s house, which later housed a school, a library and a post office and is now one of the sites of the Hiiumaa Museum. Other buildings surviving from the manor are the stone-built stable, the gardener’s house, granary and the big Dutch-style windmill. Here and there, one can also spot the remnants of the limestone wall, once surrounding the manor centre, as well as the foundations of some buildings.
The village of Vahtrepa is a typical Eastern Hiiumaa town, located on moraine formations with just a thin layer of soil and is interspersed by beach dunes. The soil is mostly limestone rubble with sparse greenery: twisted shrubs, open wastelands and small clumps of forests. To the north of the village is a noteworthy terraced base rock – Kallaste’s steep limestone shoreline is also an environmentally protected area.
The earliest indication of the village was in 1564 as Wachterpä by; a name consisting of two words: ‘wachter’ and ‘by’ – ‘Watchman’s village’ and probably a middle ages observation of the sounds made the waters of the Hari Strait.
Vahtrepa was an important harbour village until the middle of the 19th century. It was the shortest connection to Haapsalu and Vormsi from here. The importance of the village decreased in the second quarter of the 19th century when the harbour became too shallow due to rising ground levels and the building of a new harbour in the next village of Heltermaa.
In the 20th century, there were 16 farms, 14 cottagers, 3 ships and 9 windmills in the village.
On the terraced shoreline of Kallaste there are many unique and rare plants like northern oak fern, rock hutchinsia, wall-rue, rock wormwood, brittle bladder-fern, hairy St John’s-wort, dark-red helleborine, etc.
There are many legends and folktales about the terraces of Kallaste – including those of evil spirits, the building of the Church and aspects of village life.
The village received its name from the surname of the first inhabitants of the area – Halte, later spelt as Halt or Haltti.
Whether it comes from Swedish and means a person who limps (halts) or is derived from Haltestelle, once the German name for the stopping and loading place for ships, is not entirely clear until this day. However, it was only at the end of the 19th century when Peeter Koolmeister built his first vessel named Liide here that Haldi became more widely known for its shipbuilding. Later, more than 10 additional wooden ships were built by the Koolmeisters on the same shore.
A harbour, however, was built in Haldi only at the beginning of the 1950s; and for a while, it became one of the major locations in Hiiumaa where Baltic herring was received and processed in springtime. From 1961 to 1992, it was mostly just the renowned coastal fishing team of the collective farm Hiiu Kalur that went to sea from there. During several years that followed, the private limited company Haldi operated at the harbour. It went out of business in 2000, due to generally scanty catches. At the initiative of Aivo Härm, work was started in 2016 to upgrade the harbour. Further operations are run by the non-profit organization Haldi sadam. In 2017, 6.6 tons of fish was unloaded at Haldi Harbour once again. 2.5 tons of it was ﬂounder; and 1.5 tons was gar- fish.
There are 13 farmsteads in the village, but only about 20 people permanently residing in them.
In summer, the information point of Orjaku village centre, located at the Orjaku harbour, provides the opportunity to see various exhibitions, buy local handicrafts, use the services of a public internet point, and find tourist information about the sights and events in Hiiumaa.
You can organise trainings, seminars, or family events in the village centre.
From May to September, different cultural events take place on the island of Kassari, including the Cultural Thursdays of Kassari. You can also enjoy hikes in the wilderness, special theme nights, and concerts.
In Orjaku, you can go out on the sea on fishing boats and yachts, rent row boats, water bikes, and bikes.
SEE YOU AT THE HARBOUR!
The church mansion of Reigi was established in the early 1700’s. Today’s building (which is the third main building at this location was built in 1775-1779 and is the second most remarkable baroque style building next to Suuremõisa palace in Hinimaa.
A novel by Aino Kallas – “The Pastor of Reig” (“Reigi õpetaja”) made this place very famous. The novel is based on true events that happened in the middle of the 17th century and the main characters the first minister of Reigi Paulus Andreas Lempelius, his wife Catharina and her lover Jonas Kempe were real persons.
Many important people, who had a great part in Estonian and the island’s cultural history, were involved with the Reigi Church Rectory. Jacob Marrasch, who is known from the history of hernhute, has worked here as a private teacher. David Gottlieb Glanstrom was born and raised here. He has translated the Estonian Peasantry Law. One of the ministers of Reigi Carl Forsman who was very favourable of education also established a hat industry that later spread to other parts of Hiiumaa, too. Gustav Feliks Rinne, another minister, started the music culture in Hiiumaa, His son Immanuel Rinne established the first public library of Hiiumaa.
The limestone main building of the Kassari Manor is home to the permanent exhibition ‘Life on the island. Fire, water, air, earth.’ which gives a glimpse into the everyday life and events of the people of Hiiumaa, but also leaves room for philosophical reflection and important turning points in the history of the island. Thousands of years of human life are presented here through the four primitive elements mentioned in the title. The exhibition features a large number of objects and in addition to well-known consumables, there are also some contemporary items that have been made on the spot.
The museum shop has a wide selection of handicrafts and souvenirs from Hiiumaa.
In front of the Kärdla Church, a monument has been erected to the residents of Hiiumaa who were killed in WWII. The author of the idea of the monument is Hiiumaa-born Otto Mägi and in realising the idea, he was helped by Heino Kerde. The sculptor of the monument is Elo Liiv and its architects are Maris Kerge and Kadri Kerge. The sculpture was modelled after Marek Vainumäe, a young man from Hiiumaa. The monument was erected with the support of the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Defence, private persons and organisations. The construction of the monument was coordinated by the Kärdla Town Government and the Hiiumaa Organisation of the Freedom Fighters and Repressed Persons. The monument was completed in 2012.
Bronze bell – a ship’s or soul bell that starts ringing by itself in a strong wind. With the movement of its cross-shaped pendulum in a storm, it seems a bring a message from the sea – a bell tower in a way … symbolically. The incline of the monument has a visual and emotional impact and should also call to mind the last moments of the ship. Tender details are also added to the bronze bell – four child faces on each of the main points of the compass.
According to official anouncements the front visor of the ship is located about a mile to the west of the wreck. To investigate the reasons for the shipwreck, the visor was lifted to the surface in 1994 and taken to Hanko, Finland. In 1999 the investigative committee gave the visor over to the Swedish Maritime Museum and it was taken to Södertälje port in Sweden. From there the front visor was taken to a Swedish naval base on Muskö island in 2002.
The shipwreck of Estonia was the biggest disaster on the Baltic Sea after the wars. Among the victims of the accident there were people from 70 diﬀerent nationalities.
According to the official report of the international committee investigating the shipwreck the visor ripped open by the storm dragged with it the ramp attached to it which led to water reaching the car deck.
Estonia was a ferryboat built in 1980 in the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. The fromer names of the boat were Viking Sally (1980–1990), Silja Star (1990–1991) and Wasa King. Eesti Merelaevandus and Nordström & Thulin bought the ship for the Tallinn-Stockholm route. Estonia began operating the lane under the Es- tonian ﬂag on Fegruary 2, 1993. The ship was 155.43 m in length and 24.21 in width. Maximum speed of the ship was 21 knots. It had 1190 cabin spaces and fitted 460 cars on the car deck.
On the cape of Tahkuna, land nearest to the crash site, a memorial was put up on the initiative of school teacher Ants Rebane, funded by donations and built in large part as community work done on All Souls’ Day – November 2, 1995. The memorial was dedicated to the children (of whom none survived) perished in the shipwreck, the children left orphans by the disaster and the children that were never born because of it.
The author Mati Karmin has defined the idea of the monument as follows (a selection of the author’s explanation on 10.07.1995)
- Bronze bell – the ship’s or death bell which rings on its own in storm. With its cross-shaped pendulum moving in the storm as if bringing a message from the sea.
- Stainless round pipe cross always seems silver and crisp.
- The iron frame (parallelepiped) rusts (is covered with rust) rather fast and is in essence appropriate to the sea – it would be the natural state of a human product – iron – in sea. Wrecks also rust …
- Granite base, which is tilting towards the shipwreck but also in relation to the shore. The heeling of the monument aﬀects one visual- ly-emotionally and should remind of the perished ship’s last moments.
- The pile of stones surrounding the monument gives people the chance to, besides ringing the bell, bring a stone to the pile and through that communicate with the monument.
- And finally the sacral monument – in a way the bell tower… although symbolic.
- The bronze bell has some subtle details – 4 faces of children in all the 4 cardinal directions…
- In a January storm of 2005 the monument was damaged significantly, when the sea and the storm washed away the filling of the foundation and the stones that covered it. On the initiative of Kõrgessaare parish the surrounding of the foundation was additionally filled and reinforced with concrete.
Earl Jacob De la Gardie (1583-1652) established Estonian first glassworks to Hiiumaa in 1628. The Hüti village located there got it’s name from German or Swedish from words glashütte/glashytta. Latest data concerning the business of the glasshouse date back to 1664.
The village had many advantages during the time: many roads passing, lakes and rivers, fine white sand, enough wood and cheap slave labour.
The glasshouse covered up to 2500m2 of land.
There were 30-35 people working in the glasshouse in the middle of the 17th century. In addition, local peasants were forced to help with the works.
During 36 years of work, 70 different products were manufactured. Technical level and the skills of the craftsmen met the needs of the modern consumers. Both local and imported sand was used. Also, many other necessary components were imported. Besides cheap green glass, so called forestglass, even blue, orange, violet and white glass was produced, also milkglass. Before 1644 the glasshouse produced only window glass, bottles, laboratory and pharmacy equipment. In some glass details, influences from neighboring cultures can be found. Glass with optical illusion was especially popular in 17th century. It was produced by blowing an air bubble between vertical ribs. The illusion had the biggest effect on white glass.
Also many surface ornaments such as buttons, tubes and threads were common. Using threads was very wide spread. The thread had a thicker end and was therefore called a tapeworm. This technique was used mostly in higher drinking glasses.
Throughout the time, four masters worked in the glasshouse. They were assisted by apprentices, boxmakers, woodmakers and carriers, ovenmakers and ash collectors.
During poor times, even mainland peasants were included in ash collecting. It took at least 400 fathoms of wood. Of course locals were not satisfied with the increased workload.
Most of the produced glass was taken to Stockholm, Tallinn, Haapsalu and other bigger towns. Windowglass was needed by surrounding manors and churches.
Misjudging the market lead the glasshouse into problems. Sweden had many competing manufacturers, also Russian market was not as interested as previously thought.
After the death of Jakob De la Gardie in 1652, his youngest son Axel Julius De la Gardie took over the glasshouse but the small profit and big problems forced him to close it down in 1655. The glasshouse was still used after closing. In November 1662, the glasshouse was sent materials and necessary products were bought.
By Maks Roosma’s initiative, excavations were held in 1958-1961. The summary of the works was published as a brochure „Hüti glasshouse in Hiiumaa“ in 1966.
The community centre building is from the 18 century. Poetess Marie Under’s father and writer Aino Kallas had connections with this building.
1800-1862 Mäeküla Pub
1863-1930 Kassari School
1931-1940 Kassari Educational Society
1940-1947 Military barracks
1947-1949 Collective farm club
1995- Kassari Educational Society
About 455 million years ago, a meteorite crater about 4 kilometers in diameter formed in shallow seawater on the other side of the equator. After many geological processes such as the formation of sediments, the movement of the earth’s crust and several ice ages, the crater is difficult to see in nature today.
In order to get a better overview of the special natural monument, a model field of the crater has been built, which gives a spatially perceptible picture of the size and proportions of the Kärdla crater. The model field has a hundredfold reduction compared to the actual size of the crater, its diameter is about 43 meters and the length of the circle is 140 meters.
The Heltermaa Handicraft House is the largest and most attractive handicraft shop at Heltermaa Harbour, at the gates of Hiiumaa, in a former tavern.
We sell handiwork made in Hiiumaa! Here, we have handicraft made by our grandmothers next to the work of youth and companies.
Everything you find here is made in Hiiumaa and by people living here. Every piece carries the soul and might of its maker.
The souvenir shop of Hiiumaa Museum is located in Kärdla, in the Long House of Hiiumaa Museum. The shop sells a wide range of handicrafts and souvenirs made by local craftsmen. You can also buy paintings, glass art, jewellery, ceramics, magnets, mugs, and postcards.
Our books cover a wide range of topics: history, nature, cooking, crafts, fiction, school literature, and children’s books.
The Hiiumaa Museum souvenir shop is also located in the Kassari Exhibition House.
Also visit our online store on our website.
Hiiumaa craftsmen’s shop is located in Kärdla in a historic factory yard of the Broadcloth Factory. Here, you can find unique handicrafts, souvenirs of Hiiumaa, local body care products, and many other beautiful items for decorating your home.
The crafts of Hiiumaa are exclusive and unique.
Knitting shop Üll is located in a lovely yellow building in Kärdla, in the historic Factory Square. There, slow fashion is made with fast knitting needles. Inspired by traditions and the latest trends, we make hats, scarves, gloves, socks, cardigans, and everything else here. Our soft knitwear, the sound of knitting needles, and an armchair make this a paradise. And the selection really is abundant!
Only a wool warehouse built in 1849 remains of the barns that used to form the Kärdla Marina building complex; it was used by the Kärdla broadcloth factory (in business between 1830–1941) to store large balls of wool that were shipped here from Australia and New Zealand. The building is made of limestone and covered in lime plaster.
The second warehouse in the marina has two floors and is also made of limestone and covered in lime plaster; this used to be the office of the marina. The building, formerly a barn, was constructed in 1849 and the locals call it Viinaladu (‘vodka storage’).
The public is not admitted inside the buildings.
Scrolls mention Suursadam harbor for the first time as Sääre Sadam (Serle Ham) in 1593. In 1680 Dutchman Erasmus Jacobson built a bigger ship-building concern in Suursadama harbor. There were lime-furnaces nearby. The production of these lime-furnaces was sent to many ports of the Baltic Sea.
In 1848 a 358-ton bark (ship), “Hioma”, was built in this harbor. This sailboat was the biggest boat in Estonia in the 19th century. “Hioma” was the first sailboat that sailed over the equator in 1854 and around Kap Hoorn into the Pacific Ocean.
A big storehouse has been taken under protection as an architectural monument.
Kärdla owes its existence to the many waters running within its borders, which are channelled by the edges of an ancient meteorite crater to a relatively narrow area at the Tareste Gulf. The abundance of water in the location had an impact on the setting up and expansion of the village of Hiiumaa Swedes in the present-day territory of Kärdla and the relatively rich waters of the Nuutri River were also a decisive factor for choosing the site for the future broadcloth factory.
There are three larger streams running through Kärdla: the Nuutri River, Liivaoja and Kammioja, with a total length of 7.9 kilometres within the town and also countless ditches, streams and rivulets. These can be crossed via trumms (bridges). The name ‘trumm’ is a loan from Coastal Swedish dialect (trumma) and the word was formerly used almost everywhere in Hiiumaa to denote a bridge that could be crossed with a horse cart. To date, the word trumm is used to denote bridges in Kärdla only and local people know all trumms by their name.
The bridges got their names in different ways: it was sometimes derived from the name of the owner of the nearest plot of land, e.g. Marditrumm or Balli trumm (was situated near the bakery shop of Madam Ball, popular in the beginning of the 20th century) or from its lo- cation, e.g. Vabrikutrumm (Factory Bridge) was next to the factory, Kabelitrumm (Chapel Bridge) next to a German chapel built in 1847, or after the body of water it crossed, e.g. Liivatrumm across the Liiva Stream and Nuutri trumm across the Nuutri River. The name of Suur trumm (Big Bridge) is also believed to be associated with the name of the river Suur- jõgi (the Big River) but sometimes also with the fact that it is the largest and most impres- sive of the bridges in the town. The name of Hõbetrumm (Silver Bridge) has been derived from its former silver grey colour; another explanation says however, that the name comes from the complaints of a baron of Kärdla over the cost of its construction, which was said to be nearly as high as if the bridge had been built of silver.
Kärdla Fire and Rescue Society was established in the middle of the 19th century by the management of the broadcloth factory and it was based at the factory. The construction of the fire station began in 1928. The poor economic situation of the beginning of 1930s dragged out the construction and the fire station was finished (with weatherboarding and exterior paint) only in 1937. The newly completed wooden building had 3 rooms and a tower for drying hoses. By today, a mansard has been added.
The construction of the Kärdla power plant began in 1954. It is a fully functional diesel power plant with all the necessary machinery. All the equipment is in working order.
The chimney of the power plant was built in years 1953-1954 with special chimney bricks. The chimney is 40 meters high.
Kärdla power plant was shut down in 1977. Its 8 diesel engines were conserved and Hiiumaa was integrated into the single Estonian energy system with a cable brought along the seabed from Saaremaa.
The power plant complex located on the beautiful Nuutri river forms a unique ensemble which can be admired from the outside by all visitors.
In 1830, barons Ungern-Sternberg established a broadcloth factory in Kärdla. Today’s factory square formed the core of the factory complex. The four-storey broadcloth factory was located on the south side of the courtyard of the factory on the shores of the Nuutri river. On the western side of the courtyard, there was the residence of the factory director – known as the Long House, today home to the Hiiumaa Museum is located.
On the northern side of the square, 4 single-storey wooden houses or shop master’s houses for senior officials of the factory were erected and have preserved well until the present time. The houses had large gardens.
Until the end of 1970s, a house with pillars or the Summer Manor was located on the eastern side of the square. In the early years of the broadcloth factory, it was the residence of the factory director.
In 1980, the building of the ECP Hiiumaa District Committee was built on its site according to the design
project by architect Elvi Raigna. When the factory was put into operation, Baron Ungern-Sternberg planted a young oak tree under a window of his summer manor and it is still growing there. The diameter of the oak tree is 3.25 metres and it is 12.5 metres high.
Since 1982, a monument to the Kärdla Broadcloth Factory designed by Mati Karmin has stood in the centre of the Factory Square.
According to legend, there was a pile in Tubala village which used to keep Hiiumaa fixed to the sea bottom so that it does not drift away.
A pile was dug into the ground on 28 July 2003 to tell the ancient legend, but is also meant to support the entire culture of Hiiumaa – for at least as long as the Kõpu Lighthouse has stood on Hiiumaa. The Kõpu Lighthouse Foundation was established on 24 July 1999 to support the cultural life of Hiiumaa. The Board of the foundation decided that all donors would receive a nail bearing the donor’s name.
Traditionally, the nails awarded to new donors are hit in the Tubala pile every year on 28 July.
Initially, the people who were leaving the island came to the Hill of Crosses to make their crosses. Today, things are backwards – crosses are made by those who come to the island for the first time.
Here, on the former border of Reigi and Pühalepa parishes, a departure service was held on 20 August 1781 by the Swedes who were to leave Hiiumaa. Czarina Katarina II gave an order to resettle the Swedes to the south of Ukraine and the owner of Kõrgessaare estate Stenbock expelled free Swedish peasants from their farms. Thus they said farewell to the place that been home to the Swedes for at least 400 to 500 years. About 1000 people started a bitter journey on the eve of winter and erected their first cross here. About half of them reached their destination in spring and established Gammalsvenskby village. Only on 1929, the government of the Soviet Russia allowed the Swedes to move to Sweden. Most of them landed in Gotland where Roma became their centre.
Everybody who visits this place may make a cross in memory of the Swedes of Hiiumaa. The cross should be made of local natural material without damaging nature. The person who makes a cross this way is believed to have good luck in the future. According to a legend, two wedding parties met on the narrow road of Ristimägi. Neither of them agreed to give the way. The bridegroom of one couple and the bride of the other perished in the fight that broke out between the parties. The surviving bride and bridegroom were said to have got married later and to have lived happily ever after. Single people may find a partner and get married if they put up a cross in memory of those who were killed in the fight.
The largest area of loose sand in Estonia is located on Hiiumaa!
If you think you have already seen everything Hiiumaa has to offer, we invite you to discover something completely different! In the Pihla-Kaibaldi Nature Reserve, in the middle of a beautiful pine forest, there is a crescent-shaped field with loose sand. The nearly 12-hectare area was formed during World War II as a result of forest fires and the subsequent use as a training ground for tanks.
The sandy forest trails, unique heath pines, and white lichen there invite you to a short hike.Good to know: the Pihtla-Kaibaldi Nature Reserve was established in 1998 to preserve this unique natural community and the largest area of loose sand in Estonia, which was created partly due to human activities.
This is the oldest standing house in Kärdla. The present building was completed in 1851 and it was reconstructed from an older building on the same site – from a reed-roofed chimneyless hut originating from 1806. The house was built by Pisa Mats, a Swede who was born in Kärdla.
Kärdla was an ancient village of Hiiu Swedes and the oldest written records certifying it date back to 22 March 1470, when Grandmaster Johann Wolthus von Herse confirmed that local Swedes were free men. In 1810, the then landowner Konstantin von Ungern-Sternberg scattered the farmsteads of Kärdla Swedes and set up a manor farm instead.
The Pisa’s House is an example of the type of lodgings of Swedes in Kärdla, which followed the traditions of Scandinavian wooden architecture. The house still belongs to the heirs of the family.
The interior of the house has been rebuilt. It underwent a major renovation after WWII and in the course of it, several window openings were widened and added. The house was restored in 1993. Since 1999, it has been protected as a national architectural monument.
Kassari chapel is a building with romantic appearance that is the only functioning thatched-roof stone church in Estonia. Reputedly it dates back to 18th century because on the inner wall of the chapel there is a year 1801 that is associated with big repair.
In the graveyard there are the graves of many famous people – the ancestors of the poets M. Under and D. Vaarandi; the actor Olev Eskola; familiar from V.Panso book “The Funny Person” Lepa Anna. Familiar from art, literature and folk tales the name of Villem Tamm, whom J. Köler used as a model for Christ when painting his work “Come to me” in Kaarli church.
As a wood construction, Kassari chapel already existed in the first half of the 16th century. In the 18th century, the current stone building was erected, which was renovated for the first time in 1801; this date can also be found on the wall of the chapel. Initially, Kassari chapel served as a chapel of ease for Pühalepa congregation. In 1925, however, the church parishes were dissolved and Kassari chapel became a chapel of ease for Käina.
Kassari chapel is the only ecclesiastical building in the Baltic countries still in use that has a reed roof. An interesting and seldom occurring fact is that the pulpit of the chapel has been built into the altar, which can also be seen in Tuhala. The building has no electricity and thus, all the services and events take place in candlelight. Next to the chapel, you will find the burial chapel of Kassari landlord A. W. von Stackelberg, which was used during the rule of the first Estonian government as a place for funeral rites in bad weather.
Back then, the walls of Kassari chapel were adorned with metal wreaths. For a funeral, a wreath with the name of the deceased, and sometimes also with his profession and the names of mourners, was hung on the wall. The last thorough renovation of the chapel was carried out in 1992–1993, after which the chapel was also reconsecrated.
The building is surrounded with a cosy, calm and quiet graveyard, which serves as the last resting place for the island folk. Some of the well-known people buried in Kassari graveyard include poet Marie Under’s maternal grandparents, poet Debora Vaarandi’s great grandmother, the main character from V. Panso’s book Lepa Anna (Anna Sooba), the manor swineherd Aadu Vesingi, actor Olev Eskola, teacher Ann Tamm, Villem Tamm – the prototype of Christ in J. Köler’s paintings, folk poetry collector Frie- drich Villem Vahe, plant breeder Peeter Bollmann, headmaster Thomas Piik, and family members of Kassari landowners von Stackelbergs.
The graves of the local landlords are marked with marble monuments for August Wilhelm von Stackelberg (1774–1827), Eduard Heinrich August von Stackelberg (1806–1881), Georg August Arthur von Stackelberg (1850 1908), and Eduard August Arthur Ludwig von Stackelberg (1885–1910).
A post mill with a classic wooden structure. The base of the mill is made of rocks without binder. The mill has a board roof covering and its body has horizontal boarding. It was built in the second half of the 19th century. Two post mills have been preserved in Harju village (Nõmme and Rätsepa).
Harju-Rätsepa windmill was restored by Emmaste local government in 2001. It is a typical post windmill of Hiiumaa.
Windmills have been an integral part of Hiiumaa’s landscape for centuries. The Windmills, which started to spread in the Western Europe since the 13 century were introduced in Estonia a couple of hundreds of years later. Already in 1572, there was a windmill in Hilleste village, Pühalepa. One of the oldest preserved post windmills in Estonia is in Kõpu village, on the grounds of Pihla farm; the windmill is from the 18 century (the turnstile of the windmill has an engraving 1762). The most important “biographical” data of a windmill were often engraved in its turnstile. These were usually the year when the windmill was built; some engravings were magical or other signs. The nearby Harju-Nõmme windmill is made unique by the engravings in its turnstile marking all important events related to the windmill.
People say that in the old times there were so many windmills in Hiiumaa that there was not enough wind for all and some windmills had to be destroyed. Indeed, there were times when every other farm in Hiiumaa had a windmill and by the end of the 19 century the total number of windmills would reach as much as 500. Hiiumaa was the region in the Baltic Countries which was the richest in windmills. It is a little sad that only 30 have preserved and very few are in working order and could be used for milling flour if necessary.
The limestone Partsi windmill, built in the 19th century, is a smock mill with a frame in the shape of a truncated cone. The roof of the mill used to resemble an upside down boat.
A pearling machine, millstones and some of the transmission system of the mill still survive.
The mill has been restored and the rooms have been refurbished for community activities; nevertheless, all those who are interested can still admire the exterior of the mill.
In the 1930-ties Partsi mill was operated by Priidu Ala & Co. At the time flour and sawmill was powered by steam engine.
In 1940 the mill was nationalised and after WWII the Partsi saw and flour mill belonged to the shipbuilding cooperative „Hiiu“. The cooperative ceased operating on February the 1st 1952 due to nationalising of the cooperatives.
The mill was taken under protection as cultural monument in 10.09.1999 and in 2010 the renovation of the mill started. Groats machine, millstones and partially transmissions have still been preserved in the mill.
Kallaste cliff is a limestone outcrop, about 400 metres long and up to 10 metres tall.
There is an old pine forest on the cliff, through which you can walk along the terrace. In the southern part of the cliff, there is a biohermal reef, formed from coral and other marine invertebrates. It is one of the most representative of its kind in Estonia. Several rare species of fern and flowering plants grow in the cliff’s fissures.
According to legend, Vanapagan used to make weapons inside the Kallaste cliff for the locals during the ancient war for freedom.
Kallaste cliff has formed about 2000 years ago as a result of abrasional activity of sea. On the cliff extending up to 10 m above sea level there is cropping out an extensive section of Silurian (about 400 million years old) layers belonging to the Tamsalu Regional Stage. They were formed in shallow coast water and consist of numerous fossils and small coral riffs of that time. One of these coral riffs is cropping out as an irregular rock body in the southern part of the cliff and is considered one of the most interesting denuded reef-like formations in Estonia. Three and half meter layers of limestone, which contains corals, and clayey limestone are clearly distinguishable from each other. Clayey layers are less durable and the weathering has brought out two visible niches in the rock.
The church of Kärdla was dedicated to John the Baptist and was constructed in 1863. It is the third church in Kärdla.
The barons of Emmaste, Suuremõisa and Putkaste were the initiators of the idea to build the church and gave the baron of Kärdla 2000 roubles for that purpose. The workers of the cloth factory made voluntary donations and a part of the money for the construction was taken from the workers wages. It is an architecturally harmonic, typical hall church with an “open” bell tower crowning the western facade (unique in Estonia). The architecture of the stylish and beautiful church in Kärdla is simple and ascetic. This architectural monument is one of the most distinguished working-class churches.
About ten thousand years ago, retreating glaciers left behind an enormous rock. It was too big to resist weathering and over some time it broke into eight large and a number of smaller rocks. These rocks are gathered close to each other on a half-hectare piece of land. When examined more closely, it can be seen which pieces fit each other.
By now, the island has accepted the rocks, found a nice place for each, surrounded them with junipers, pines and firs and covered them with moss. This remarkable collection of rocks was examined twice, in 1871 and 1879, by Gregor Helmersen – a Baltic German of Estonian origin, a professor at St. Petersburg Mining Institute and a member of St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, the first chairman of Russian Geology Committee. He considered the boulders so amazing that he called it the best sample of boulders in the world. Now, his memory is saved in the name of the boulders he examined.
Ristna Visitor Centre, which forms the centre of Hiiumaa Recreation Area, administered by the State Forest Management Centre (RMK), is in the village of Kalana, just off the Kõpu–Ristna road. It provides information about all leisure options offered by the RMK on the beach and in the forest in the Hiiumaa Recreation Area.
A photo exhibition showcasing the diverse nature of Kõpu Peninsula is open all year round. We offer nature study programmes and organise events with a forest and nature theme. Ristna Nature Centre can also be rented as a venue for nature-themed events.
A ‘sea supermarket’ is also open. You will have to come and see for yourself what is sold there.
Alvars can be best described as thin-soiled meadows rich in lime where there are almost no trees or bushes. Alvars can have up to 20 centimetres of soil but at times there is no soil at all and vegetation in these cases can be found only in cracks of the cliffs or smaller concavities. In different seasons the same alvar can look very different, depending on the amount of precipitation. On Sarve peninsula you can see alvars in gravel-pebble beach ridge by the sea. These alvars are different in comparison with those in North-Estonia or other alvars in West-Estonia.
Kurisu sinkhole is located near Kurisu village.
The upper part of the sinkhole has a diameter of about 32 metres, in the lower part it narrows down to 12 metres, and it is 6.2 metres deep. In here, the creek coming from Pihla wetland disappears under the ground.
In summer, when the weather is dry, you can see a limestone bedrock and a little opening to a cave at the bottom of the sinkhole. During high water in spring, so much surface water gathers here that the crater is filled with it and some of it spills over to the surroundings so that the whole place is reminiscent of a little lake.
The water that disappears into the sinkhole re-surfaces on the ground 3 km away on an old pasture in Pihla village.
Karst is a geological phenomenon in which rainwater dissolves easily crumbling bedrock and is absorbed through fissures, creating underground cavities, caves, and even underground rivers. In Estonia, karst phenomena occur mainly in the areas where limestone and dolomites form the bedrock. Karst is wide- spread in Estonia, mainly in Northern, Central and Western Estonia, including the islands. Large sinkholes are called ‘kurisu’ in Estonian. They can be funnel-, bowl-, or saucer-shaped and often reach dozens of metres in diameter.
In Hiiumaa, the karst phenomenon occurs in several places, but the most magnificent of them is the Kurisu sinkhole. During spring ﬂooding, the whole funnel is full of water and resembles a small lake. The water ﬂows away through a small karst cave at the bottom of the funnel and an underground river. Sometimes, when the absorption is rapid, a vortex can be seen in the middle of the funnel.
Several legends are known about the sinkhole. The most common one is the story of a girl who is said to have taken oxen exhausted by working to drink at the sinkhole. The vortex happened to be so powerful that it swallowed the oxen with the load and the girl. Only the girl’s red hair ribbon is said to have been found later in the pasture of Pihla farm, where the waters of the sinkhole come to the ground again. It is believed that such incidences were the reason why people started to call the sinkhole an “evil mouth” (‘kuri suu’ in Estonian). However, it is likely that the word ‘kurisu’ actually comes from such Balto-Finnic words as ‘kuristik’ (abyss) and ‘keeris’ (vortex).
The town of Kärdla is situated in the crater of a meteorite that hit the area about 455 mil- lion years ago during the Middle Ordovician period. The falling speed of the ‘star’ was about 20 to 30 kilometres per second and in a couple of centiseconds, it penetrated the water and the seabed and exploded at a depth of about 200 metres in the soil deposit at the seabed. The explosion, which equalled the power of 8000 nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima, moved the limestone plateaus at the bottom of the seabed slantwise upwards and this way created the Artesian wells or pressurised groundwater in the town of Kärdla. Rain water absorbs easily in the areas on top of the dome – Linnumägi, Antonimägi and Paluküla, where fissured limestone is covered only with a thin layer of soil and from there, it rapidly runs towards the lower areas of Kärdla. Where the limestone bed residing lower is covered with waterproof deposits (varved clay), the groundwater is pressurised; when the protective layer of varved clay is drilled through, the groundwater bursts out like a fountain and keeps flowing as a reach – Artesian water.
This is why there are many Artesian wells in the north western and western part of Kärdla, in particular in Tiigi and Aia Streets.
In the depths of the Kärdla meteorite crater, mineral water of very high quality was found too; it contains about 3 to 4 grams of solute mineral salts rich in Cl-Na-Ca per litre and also some bioactive components (bromine and iodine). This mineral water with medicinal quali- ties was produced here until 1991. (Deeper down, at 500 to 815 metres, the drilled well pro- duces mineral water with a mineral content of up to 16 grams per litre).
In early 19 century, an old Swedish village was replaced by a new settlement of the workers of a new cloth mill which was built in 1829. The houses of “factory nobs” or masters were built in the proximity of a Swedish cemetery. Very soon, the first director of the factory Baron Robert Eginhard von Ungern-Sternberg (1813- 1898) had the graveyard turned into a garden. The former cemetery is reminded by an iron cross which was erected in memory of Karel Taning, the last Swede laid to rest in the graveyard in 1848.
The Baron’s garden has by now become Kärdla Beach Park. The majority of the total of 29 species of trees and bushes are maples, ash trees, elms and fir trees. Foreign species decorating the park are purple-leaved beech, larch, white pine and silver fir. An area between the harbour and the Factory Square is filled with common alder hence the name Lepakoppel (Alder Paddock).This area used to be a popular place for open air concerts and summer parties.
By the seaside one can find a hill which is called Lubjaahjumägi Limekiln Hill. The name is an evidence of one of the past activities of Hiiumaa people lime burning. Now, there is a popular café and restaurant “Rannapaargu” on the top of the hill. The restaurant was built in 1971.
Close to the water is a boulder. The horizontal lines engraved in the stone mark the highest water levels in the history of Kärdla.
There is a monument called Kivi-Jüri in Hiiumaa that looks like a soldier’s head on a granite base, located at the crossroads of Heltermaa, Käina and Kõrgessaare highways coming from Kärdla. The authors of the monument are sculptor Endel Taniloo and architect Ülo Sirp. Kivi-Jüri is the largest granite bust and it weighs altogether 46 tons, 36 tons of which is the base and 10 tons the head leaning on the base. The monument was opened in September 1966 to commemorate all soldiers.
The study bed provides an excellent possibility for examining domestic orchids within a short period of time and without any guides. There are 10 species of orchids growing naturally on the study bed. The best time to see blooming species of orchids is around Midsummer’s Day. However, some species bloom also in July and August.
The study bed is located next to the car park. Boardwalk, time of completion 15 minutes. There are colourful information boards on the study bed.
Luidja alder forest may seem like an average black alder forest to everyday passers-by as you can find these trees elsewhere in Hiiumaa marshes and stream banks. But in fact this is an area which has more than a hundred year history in experimenting with fixating unique dunes. The alder forest was first established due to the need to protect the beach road of Luidja and the nearby fields and meadows from blowing sands. The alder forest was established by Karl Friedrich Vilhelm Ahrens (1855-1938) who was born in Germany in Meclenburg-Schwerin. He studied forestry in Rostock and Greifsvald. Ahrens established the alder forest in order to fixate the sand dunes in 1901-1903.
The items offered by KlaasiPank are designed by artists Kalli Sein (glassware, corporate gifts, glass clocks, awards, cups) and Valev Sein (stained glass, special design glass lamps and chandeliers, paintings).
The studio offers a selection of smaller series items, glass trays, glass jewellery, and souvenirs.
You can engrave a name or dedication to the items for birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings.We pack the glassware in gift boxes with silk paper.
Items can be ordered in various colours or sizes. Orders take at least a few weeks.
An Orthodox subsidiary congregation was established on Tahkuna peninsula already in 1885, due to the parish church in Puski being too far away for the congregation members. However, they started building their own chapel only after the opening of Malvaste cemetery in 1925. A house of worship dedicated to Prophet Elijah was built with timber from a former Puski cooperative store and consecrated already in the same year. The construction foreman was Peeter Holm. A modest bell-tower was added later together with an Orthodox pine cross by a forester Peeter Leiger.
The chapel that stood empty for a while was restored in 2008 by Juhan Kilumets and company Rändmeister. The thatched roof was installed by a roofer Siim Sooster and his labourers. In the summer of 2011, the chapel got a new furnishing and iconostasis. The saints’ relics were placed into the altar table. In the same year, on the feast day of Prophet Elijah on 20 July, Metropolitan Stefanus of the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church consecrated Malvaste chapel once again as sanctuary. The chapel’s bell-tower was also refurbished, and it received two new bells, which were blessed in November 2012. As Puski Christ Nativity congregation is being restored from ruins currently, the Hiiumaa Orthodox congregation serves today in Malvaste.
The Putkaste Manor, earlier known as the Saulepa Manor, was mentioned in written records already in 1532. During its long history, the manor has had many diﬀerent renters and owners, most notably from among the De la Gardies, the Stenbocks, the Ungern-Sternbergs, and the Stackelbergs. After the nationalisation of manors at the beginning of the 20th century, the Putkaste Manor became a state manor for a while but was already in 1924 rented to the Estonian Seed Grain Cooperative. In 1934-1938, an agricultural school with a one-year study programme was operated there as well. In 1940, the manor centre was turned into a separate settlement for the construction workers building a military settlement and an aerodrome. Some barracks from that period can still be seen here. In 1944, Hiiumaa’s only agricultural state farm – the Putkaste Sovkhoz – was formed of the former manor lands. By 1960, the main building of the manor, which was built at the beginning of the 19th century but destroyed in a fire during the Second World War and in ruins ever since, was restored; and the office of the state farm was moved there. After the restoration of the independence of the Republic of Estonia (1991), the giant agricultural farms gradually closed down; and the old manor buildings were once again left without a use. By now, the majority of them have private owners.
Emmaste manor was established by Jakob Pontus Stenbock (1774- 1824) in 1779 in the place of Emmaste village. The inhabitants of the village were resettled to another location. At first it was a dairy farm attached to Suuremõisa estate. Later it became an independent estate.
Emmaste manorial estate and its neighbors were the only estates once belonging to the De la Gardies which were no acquired by the family of Ungern-Sternberg. The state belonged to the De la Gardies up to 1899 when it was bought by Aleksander Thomas Eduard Nikolai von Hoyningen-Huene who was accused of espionage in for Germany during World War I and sent to Siberia.
After the Republic of Estonia was established in 1918 and manorial were nationalised in 1919, a new Emmaste village formed around the estate in 1922 – 1924.
he main building of the estate has been the builidng of Emmaste School since 1920. The one-storey building became too crowded when older school in the area were closed and another floor was added to in 1960. in 1997, 200-seat assembly hall was built.
A writer Herman Sergo and an artist Paul Reeveer studied at Emmaste School.
Emmaste, which in its earliest days was spelled as Emeste, was recorded as the name of a farmstead as early as in 1564. Even though the local people believe that the name points to the fact that the overwhelming majority of the villagers were women – as the men were at sea – the name of the village probably still originates from the name of a man who was called Emme or Emmo. The name ‘Emmaste’ was also given to a manor that was founded in the 18th century and became an independent entity after separating from the Suuremõisa manor. The main building of the Emmaste manor now houses a school. The area around the crossroads that is nowadays known as the village centre as well as the centre of the rural municipality district was previously called Nõmmeküla (i.e., Nõmme village – first mentioned in records in 1811). Nõmmeküla had a tavern by the same name, as well as a school. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were also a community centre and a post office in Nõmmeküla. A stone church was built in the Nõmme pine forest in 1867; and a cemetery was founded in the other end of the village. In 1920, the manor centre became Emmaste hamlet, later evolving into the centre of Emmaste village, which also comprised Viiterna and Nõmmeküla. In 1925, a creamery was founded in the former distillery of the manor. A dozen years later, the Piik family opened a small guesthouse and beer shop in the village centre. The local people could go to the store of the consumers’ cooperative and to a doctor’s office. A public library and a kindergarten were opened; several companies emerged. Nowadays, the former post office has become the centre of the rural municipality district. The store of the Hiiumaa Consumers’ Cooperative and a privately-owned restaurant are now operated in the former guesthouse. The building of the former store of the consumers’ cooperative has been sold to a private owner. The tavern building has been demolished. A family doctor centre has been opened in the old parsonage building; and the local youth centre and Emmaste Päevatuba (an activity centre for the elderly) are nearby.
The buildings of Emmaste parsonage (the main building and outhouses) were constructed in the 19th century. The main building became a cultural monument in 1999. It now functions as Emmaste Medical Care Centre offering the services of a general practitioner, a dentist and a pharmacy.
Emmaste Open Youth Centre was built on the foundations of the former parsonage’s outhouses (shed +shed +cellar).
The construction of the new building was initiated by the rural municipality of Emmaste and funded by the European Regional Development Fund in 2010. The building is currently in active use with a total of 500 square metres of usable space. The Youth Centre offers leisure facilities for everybody.
The construction of the stone church of Emmaste was launched in 1866, as the wooden chapel in Sõru, which was in the vicinity of Emmaste manor, had fallen out of repair. The plot of land needed for the new church was donated to the congregation by the lady of the manor Countess Brevern de la Gardie. Emmaste church boasts a unique altarpiece called „Resurrection“, painted in 1900 by Tõnis Grenzstein.
Emmaste is the newest of the four former parishes of Hiiumaa. It was separated from the parish of Käina in the second half of the 19th Century. Until the completion of Emmaste Church in 1867, people who ha passed on were buried in Sõru Cemetery which is not in use any more.
According to a new practice of that time, Emmaste Cemetery was established some distance away from the church. The oldest graves are in the centre of the graveyard. Many graves are those of the church. The oldest graves are in the centre of the graveyard. Many graves are those of seamen and ship owners, local people have always been closely connected with the sea and sailing.
Also, many people who have established their name in the cultural history of Estonia come from around Emmaste. The cemetery is the final resting place of Torupilli-Juss (Juhan Maaker). who was a musician known also outside Estonia, and his nephew Torupilli-Sass (Aleksander Maaker) , and Maarja and Priidu Mänd- the parents of a writer Ain Kalmus (Evald Mänd), many distinguished schoolmasters and clerics of Hiiumaa also rest in Emmaste Cemetery.
What differentiates Emmaste cementery is the irregular direction of the graves: northeast-southwest. As a rule, the deceased are buried on an east-west orientation with the head to the West.
Tilga village was first mentioned in written records in 1576. It is believed that the name was derived from the old-time teasing nickname Tilknina (Drippy Nose) or from the Germanic male name Tyliken. The village has been drained of people several times but has received new inhabitants each time. For example, after Orjaku village was claimed by the manor in the 1830s, its inhabitants were partially resettled to Tilga village. During the Soviet era, Tilga was temporarily merged with Prassi village.
The Tilga pine forest has been a protected area since 1998 in order to safeguard the protected plant species growing in it as well as to promo- te its beautiful forest landscape. One of the best known people who come from this village is Evald Mänd (1908-2001, pen name Ain Kalmus), whose novel Salty Winds, published in 1942, and book The Lost Island, published in exile in 1972, made Hiiumaa as well as the life and environ- ment of the author’s birthplace familiar to many. Estonian historian and archivist Jakob Koit (1906–1988) and naturalist and photographer Tiit Leito (1949) were born at Tilga. Pastor Guido Reinvalla and his family lived here for several years; and so did biologist and nature populariser Fred Jüssi for some time. Tilga village was also the birthplace and home for Joosep and Maria Piil, whose family with many children was visited by Konstantin Päts, the first President of Estonia, during his official visit to Hiiumaa in 1938. In 1993, President Lennart Meri followed in his footsteps by coming to the lands of this farm and meeting with the representatives of the Piil family during his first official visit to the Hiiumaa island.
Tärkma village has played an important role in connecting Hiiumaa and Saaremaa. It was from the shore of Tärkma that people went by boats to the neighbouring island to grind grain, pick berries, or engage in other activities, not to mention fishing. Access to the ice road connecting the two islands was also right here, by Tärkma village. At the beginning of the 20th century, a marine rescue station was built on the Tärkma coast. The station’s equipment included an iceboat for rescue operations in wintertime. There were only four stations like that one in the whole Estonia back then.
The gently sloping coast is dotted with a number of hillocks and holes – remnants of salt evaporation and brick production in bygone times. The Tärkma ‘salt life’, as the local people called the place, started its production activity in the year 1809. The seawater required for extracting salt was evaporated in a big open pan, where it was boiled continuously for 48-56 hours, which resulted in 450 kg of wet salt. Within a week, a little more than one panful of salt was produced. It was then dried in the threshing room. It took 200 sleigh loads of wood to produce a ton of salt. The work was supervised by the German salt boiler Adam Huth, who had been hired for just that purpose. The production activity lasted until 1812, when the price of salt fell in the world. During that short time, about 27 tons of salt is said to have been sold from Emmaste. At the turn of the 20th century, at least two brickworks with about 20 kilns were operated here. The bricks were transported to the construction sites in Tallinn, Haapsalu, and even Finland.
The new boat harbour, which was completed in 2015, and the people who are busy there are keeping the coastal life vibrant.
The tower was erected in 1970-ies. A wooden observation tower was there prior to the current one.
There is a spotlights- and guard team building at the base of the tower and the WW II–time dzots 100 m to the South-West and 200 m to the North- West of the tower.
The Soviet Union peoples Commissariat of Internal Affairs issued an ordinance on the basis of what approximately 2500 men of Russian boarder guards staff was sent to Hiiumaa right after the June coup in Estonia carried out by the USSR on June the 21st 1940 and were here until the German Army entered the island in 1941. The post-war
soviet boarder guard ar- rived to the island in December 1944. There was 24-hour surveillance during the Soviet time on the island.
Sääre observation tower belonged under Kuri cordon that carried out surveillance also in Suursadam.
The soviet army started leaving the country after Estonia regained its independence on August the 20th 1991. The last soviet boarder guard troops left Hiiumaa in September 1992.
The building has been constructed during 1888 – 1891 according to the design of architects I. Dmitrijevski and P. Knüpffer.
In 1885 an orthodox parish school founded by the Riga Peter-Paul Brotherhood was accommodated in the Priest House. It was of high level school of its time where also non orthodox children were accepted.
In 1918 the school had 6 classes. First time the school was liquidated in the first half of the 1930-ties. In 1945 Hellamaa School was brought to Kuri Priest House and it was closed in the spring of 1969. In 1990 a school was opened for the third time as Kuri elementary school in the Pries House. The third school period was short-lived – the school was definitely closed in spring 1997.
Bernhard Aleksander Tuiskvere (Tiismann), subsequently an internationally well-known forestry scientist has studied in Kuri School.Other Kuri Parish School students who later gained fame were the 20-th century beginnings writer Konstantin Koklat and the pre-war left-wing politician Artur Piht.
The Orthodox congregation of Kuri was established in 1885, the church was built 1888−1891 and the cemetery
around the same time too. The Cemetery is located on the hillside in Kuri. The ground’s gradient is 4 metres in
116 metres and is 7-11 metres above sea level. There are 1170–1200 graves spread over 0.97 hectares.
The Cemetery is still in use. The western, northern and eastern borders of the Cemetery are protected by a 1.4-1.8 m high stone wall, which is topped by a wooden rail in some places.
The limestone gateposts are 0.6 x 0.6 m with an opening of 2.3 m.
There are approximately 241 old, historical tombstones characterized by various time periods prior to World
War II remaining.
The monumental commemoration cross on the obelisk reminds all to remember sailors lost at sea.