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Southern Estonian

temptations start in


It’s easy to establish a town! Võru is a town with a unique history of origin. In 1775 Catherine II issued the new decree of the administration of provinces and its implementation brought along new counties as well as 205 new towns in Russia, including Võru. The large County of Tartu of that time was split up; 8 parishes were separated to form a new county that also needed an administrative centre. Initially, the new centre was to be in Vana-Koiola, but then Governor General of Livonia George von Browne residing in Riga offered Catherine II the lands of Võru Manor on the shores of Lake Tamula, that were quite close to old merchandising roads, as the new location of the town. “The Governor probably knows better where the town should be,” said Catherine – and the new town was born. This took place in 1784. The first dwellers got their plots of land according to the approved town plan that was an example of modern urban design elements of that time: streets were to cross at a square angle and have perspective views to the lake and the central square. Such a rare street network has been preserved till now and gives Võru a certain uniqueness and value along with its beautiful historic wooden buildings.

Order around people also helps them find inner balance.

Church towers add colour to the town environment. The first townsmen were in great hurry to settle in, so the first buildings were constructed mainly of wood, thus stone-buildings were quite scarce. Churches were built of wood of course and made properly spacious with the view to the future growth. At the time of the birth of the town its citizens were the subjects of the Great Russian Czarist Empire, and immediately after its establishment the town also got the Apostolic Orthodox Church of Ekaterina (consecrated in 1804) in addition to its Evangelic Church of Catherine (consecrated in 1793). The latter was allegedly designed by Ch. Haberlandt, an architect from Riga. The Apostolic church was designed by M. Schons, the official architect of the Province of Livonia. Both churches also received generous donations from Czarina Catherine II. The churches are architecturally quite impressive and enjoy a dignified position in the town environment.

In a small town people are closer to other people and truth is nearer to truth.

Is Võru a small town or a big one? The world, its uncountable temptations and opportunities seem to be pretty incomprehensible at times and Võru is only a speck in the universe. However, the world can shrink to the size that fits easily in the home, thoughts or dreams of every townsman. As if we actually lived in the heart of the world. Võru is a nice and quiet place for everyday life, creative work and for being a part of the world. Võru offers its inhabitants urban conveniences and an opportunity to lead a full life. The environment is peaceful, safe and human and has clearly visible opportunities for growth and improvement. Traffic noise on the streets, people entering shopping centres, stopping in small shops and all of a sudden noticing that another new building is about to be completed. At the same time the town provides an easy opportunity to take a turn to untouched scenery, beautiful lakeshores or hike in forests and hills to restore your strength for meeting the new challenges of life. The people of Võru are ambitious and open to everything new but they also value everything inherent or good and understand the genuine values of life. There are bigger lakes, higher hills and deeper valleys in the world. Having seen them with their own eyes, the people of Võru still regard their home town the most beautiful place in the world. The Father of Songs, Kreutzwald, once said that it is of no importance where you live, but how you live your life. Võru helps you find your lost balance, restore your weakened spirits and reach clarity in yourself as well as in worldly matters.

Small outside, but upon closer look surprisingly big inside.

Townsmen with the mind of countrymen. Võru is a town! Straight and very urban-looking streets take you to Lake Tamula, to an impressive chain bridge and further to a small cape, called Roosisaare. And you will be out of town, in a village. This place was highly favoured by ancient countrymen – namely there was a dwelling place on Roosisaare in the Stone Age, inhabited about 4,200 years ago. The landscapes of Võru and the villages in its vicinity melt into one, so the people of Võru have always had a kind of a countryman’s mind despite their proud urban origin. Võru is surrounded by the circle of summer houses and patches of farmland where the people of Võru replace their urban worries with these of gardeners.

Seeding and planting makes you a Creator in the best sense of the word.

The people of Võru in their home town and far away. Võru has presented Estonia and the world with many famous people – writers, artists, public figures, musicians, actors, scientists, athletes, etc. Born and raised here, they have acquired the wisdom of a farmer, common sense, certain conservatism as well as an ambitious mind and diligence. Having made their first attempts at rising and spreading their wings in Võru, they have confidently flown far to higher skies, but they still remember their roots. Today, there are about 14 000 citizens in Võru. If someone has chosen Võru as his home town, he has to live to the fullest, they say, so the people have made their town more attractive and beautiful. Võru has its own lake – the beautiful Tamula. If it’s windy, you can see white rabbits topping its waves, in hot summer days it offers rest and coolness and on tender summer nights you can rest your glance on its surface that is smooth as glass. A beautiful alley takes walkers from the town centre to the old dignified town park, guarded by Kreutzwald, the Father of Songs, sitting on a high concrete platform.

It’s easy to get used to the beautiful and good.

Something is always going on in Võru. Võru strives to offer its people diversity, excitement, sometimes bustle and even commotion. In browsing the calendar of cultural events in Võru, we can conclude with great satisfaction that there are events to meet every taste and age: concerts given by community amateur groups – dance-groups, choirs, bands, orchestras, gymnasts and performances by the Võru Theatre Studio. The modern and cosy Kannel Community Cultural Centre offers performances by Estonian professional theatres, concerts of classical music. The halls of Võru Music School and the Kreutzwald Museum are also known as popular concert sites. The Town Gallery and exposition halls of the Võrumaa Museum, located in Kannel, organise exhibitions of art, photographic art and handicraft and have numerous other expositions of varied genres and areas. The people of Võru value amateur hobby activities, love to attend performances and concerts, open air festivities and welcome visitors from far away and close by to participate in them. The Võru Folklore Festival has become very popular and has hosted folk-dance groups from 33 countries in Võru. It has grown into an event that is the apogee of summer for town people as well as for their guests. Ball-games are highly rated as well. Sports activities in Võru got a new impetus after the completion of a newly opened modern sports centre. The Võru Roller is a summertime ski race on roller-skates on town streets. Võru is the starting place for many bike races and motorcar rallies. The curvy roads of Southern Estonia with ups and downs are just right for racing. Having taken off from the flatness of Võru, drivers and cyclists have to test themselves on the curvy and sharply ascending roads of Võrumaa. “They must ban the beautiful scenery,” say those who did not win. “No way! This was exactly what inspired us!” argue the winners.

Southern Estonian attractions start in Võru!

Kreutzwald in Võru. The compiler of the Estonian national epic Kalewide, a general practitioner and a man of letters Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald (1803-1882) worked and lived in Võru in 1833-1877. We are among the few nations in the world who have their own epic; it comprises our spiritual treasures, our understanding of life, our mind and nature. In 1853, Kreutzwald, the town doctor, finished compiling the epic in the attic of its house in Võru. His work was first published in fascicles from 1857 to 1861. We will never know the full details of Kreutzwald’s industrious and complex story of life. What helped or supported him in Võru? How did he actually manage? Times change, our judgments are based on people’s attitudes to other people, family, children, career. Kreutzwald was of Võru, and in Võru we have always grounded our understanding of life on a countryman’s rational attitude and tolerance. The museum, located in the property that once belonged to Kreutzwald, is also a reflection of the town history and its development story. The property is the only one in the town that has preserved its original borders. Living quarters alongside the streets, yards and gardens offering romance and being playgrounds for several generations of townspeople.

Swinging gates and beds of plants in backgardens – a reminiscence of former Võru.

The Võru dialect and Võru mind. The people of Võru, like all other Southern Estonians are a sunny, open and trusting people. Sometimes the specialties and the temper of the Setu people living in the southeast makes them wonder. Then they look towards Tallinn, where people have the businesslike mind of Northern Estonia. They make jokes about the funny language of the Latvians and have always stood in awe or maybe even feared the mightiness and power of the Slavs. People living at borders know better than others that the period of peace might not last. The people of Võru are well aware that it is easy to start a fight over nothing and a big mouth may cause big trouble, so it’s better to live in peace and in mutual understanding. Jokes, laughter and a good sense of humour are always abounding and at hand in Võru. Let us be a in our own way. “Nothing doing,” says a native of Võru to a fellow Estonian with a foxy half-smile, “you have to do with what was left after Taara gave the best qualities to us.” A town of its own is a good slogan and applicable in every occasion – if the people of Võru have acted in the right way out of their own wisdom or if they have not. Everybody wants to be unique and emphasise it. Are the people of Võru more inquisitive, open or talkative? That is what outsiders believe, sometimes in a way of giving us credit, sometimes reprovingly. We still speak our dialect and argue about whose dialect is more genuine and pure.

The people of Võru have kept something that has become extinct elsewhere.

To go or not to go? Go, of course! Võru is situated in the hollow, Võru Valley and a look around inspires many attractive travel ideas. Going towards Haanja and Rõuge you will move upwards to the hill area in Estonia, the Haanja Upland. There you will be welcomed by Suur Munamägi /Great Egg Hill/ with its watchtower at Haanja, seven picturesque lakes, Ööbikuorg /Nightingale Valley/ and hard-working ‘waterrams’ at Rõuge. The straight and wide road to Vastseliina will take you to the Setu Country, where the archaic but still living Setu folk culture captures and excites you and offers plentiful surprises and impressions. Going towards Lasva you will be met by marshes and moors rich in mushrooms and wild berries, the Valley of the Võhandu River and sunny pine forests. Driving to Antsla you can rest your eyes on vast farming fields, tidy farms, manors and parks. Guests from afar will find it indefinitely pleasant to return to Võru by nightfall, take some time off in a café, visit a concert or exhibition, walk in parks and make plans for the next day. Local people will come home, open a window and listen to nightingales on the background of town noise. Võru is a gateway to Latvia, via Latvia to Lithuania and the rest of Europe, Võru is also a starting point to the vastness of Russia via the Riga-Pskov stone-road. It takes just a day to visit Riga, the capital of Latvia with a truly European character and take a detour to the beach at Jurmala. By nightfall you will also be able to return from Russia, from a unique monastery town of Petseri, having also seen the ruins of the Truvor Stronghold at Irboska. Võru with its mind and dialect helps organise impressions and compare the cultures of the Balts, Slavs and Fenno-Ugric.

It’s good to visit far-away places, but our home is closest to our hearts.

Useful tips for taking a tour of Võru on your own. Reaching Võru from Tartu or from the north, you feel that you have finally reached the right place. The long and monotonous highway ends with an inhabited place, where friendly and hospitable people are willing to take a part of a traveller’s troubles on themselves. Stopping on the square in front of the Estonian Evangelic Lutheran Church (1793) for making plans for your visit, you will notice the regular network of town streets and can admire the buildings of the Võru County Government (1938) and Ühispank (1939). The former central town square, the cobble-stoned market place, was designed as a park in 1947. The monument in black granite with hands set in prayer for help commemorates the tragic autumn storm of 1994 on the Baltic Sea, when the ferryboat Estonia sank with 17 citizens of Võru on board. Standing in the park, you will also be able to see the first town building – the Manor House of von Mengden that since 1805 has accommodated the Võru 1st Basic School. The Fire Station next to the school is also one of the earliest buildings in the town. The Apostolic Orthodox Church of Ekaterina was consecrated in 1804. For going to Lake Tamula you can choose between Roosi, Karja, Koidula and Tartu Streets or Katariina Avenue. As the name indicates, it is the most beautiful avenue in the town. All streets are lined with historic wooden buildings and dwelling houses with well-preserved interesting details, doors, window frames, stairs and front doors that

according to the building style of that time had to open to streets. The lakeside park dates back to as early as the 1830s, when H. Krümmer’s Private Boarding School operated in Võru. The school building was one of the most beautiful ones in the town, situated between Tartu Street and Katariina Avenue, but unfortunately it is not preserved. At present you can see the common building of the Võrumaa Museum and the Sports Centre on its site. In 1926 a monument to the Father of Song, Fr. R. Kreutzwald, was erected in the Võru Town Park, designed by sculptor Amandus Adamson. Standing on the shores of Lake Tamula you will clearly see the Haanja Upland beyond. To walk back to the centre, you can choose Tartu or Vabaduse Street. Standing on the corner of Kreutzwaldi and Vabaduse Streets, you can see the former house of Kreutzwald (1803-1882) on your right, where the writer and town doctor lived from 1833 to 1877. Today it houses one of the best personal museums in Estonia. Standing on the corner of Jüri and Vabaduse Streets you will be able to take a splendid view along Jüri Street towards Võrusoo – it makes you believe that Võru is bigger than its town centre. Carefully renovated wooden buildings with interesting details are to be seen in every direction. Walking down the street you will be fascinated by the Post Office, one of the few older stone buildings in Võru with interesting Gothic windows and balconies. Jüri Street has been newly covered, many old wooden buildings have been renovated and enjoy their new life. The Rising Rock, a piece of art with a peculiar name roars its waterfall in the town’s Central Park. Going further towards the Lutheran Church you will notice a funny pile, an artwork of natural material, covered with the coat of plants that protectively embraces stones originating from the twinning towns of Võru.

Events in the Town of Võru and its vicinity January

Southern Estonian RALLY On roads in Võrumaa. Organised by SPORTS CLUB Sell.


Haanja Ski Marathon Haanja Ski Marathon is listed under the Estoloppet series. The tracks to be covered in classical style are 22 and 44 km long. Organised by Haanja SKIING CLUB.


SummerFest During the summer season once in every month in the garden of Kannel. A musical event for young people. Organised by YourEvents.


Wõro rOLLEr International roller-skate skiing championship Wõro Roller organised in honour of Raul Olle’s victory in Vasaloppet in 2000. Organised by ORIENTATION CLUB Võru.

Võrumaa song and dance festival Song and dance festivals have taken place in Võrumaa for 125 years. Organised by Võru County Government.


Võru Folklore Festival The 13th International Folklore Festival ‘07 is one of the most spectacular events in summertime and attracts participants of different countries to Võru. Organised by Võru County Government


The summer performance of Võru Theatre studio Võru Theatre Studio stages a new performance every summer. The season includes varied performances and projects.

Võru Town Days A series of events organised to celebrate the anniversary of the Town of Võru, including the Võru Brass Days, Visual Action, an International Volley-Ball Tournament dedicated to J. Gutman, Võru Bike Race, Handicraft Fair and Lake Concert. Organised by the Võru Town Government and Kannel Community Cultural Centre.


Võruvision An international contest of young singers and new original songs provides young musicians in Võru with a new experience in their hometown. Organised by the Kannel Community Cultural Centre.


Opening ceremony of the winter season and Christmas events Organised jointly by the town of Võru as well as Võru, Rõuge and Haanja parishes to open a winter tourist season. The Christmas Fair of the Võru Town on the Vabaduse Square and varied Advent concerts take place at the same time.

Accommodation in Võru

Eating out in Võru

Kubija Hotel

Kubija Hotel Restaurant

Männiku 43A Tel. +372 786 6000 Beds: 106 Seminar facilities (30 and 100 seats), restaurant, parking for caravans, camping area, campfire, outdoor grill, accommodation of pets, beauty services, solarium, snooker, a sauna complex with a steam and Finnish Sauna, pool, hall with an open fireplace, health centre, hiking tracks, track of Flying Squirrels, lake, swimming. Vee St. 4 Tel. +372 780 430 Beds: 43 Seminar facilities (for 40), beauty services, snooker, tennis courts, accommodation of pets, sauna

Ränduri Guesthouse-Pub

Jüri 36 Tel. +372 786 8050 Beds: 21 Seminar room (for 29), pub, sauna. Jüri 32A Beds: 49 A café.

Wermo Guesthouse Koidula 6 Beds: 51 A café.

Rändur Guesthouse-Pub

Jüri 36 Tel. +372 786 8050

Võhandu Tavern

Koidula 16a Tel. +372 782 1191

Hundijalg Pub

Tamula Hotel

Hermes Guesthouse

Männiku 43a Tel. +372 786 6000

Tel. +372 782 1326

Jüri 17b Tel. +372 522 7062

Õlle nr 17 Pub Jüri 17

Veinitare Pub Jüri 6

Katariina Café Katariina 4

Kuningatalu Guesthouse

Roosisaare, Võru vald Tel. +372 528 9100 Beds: 20 Camping, campfire, outdoor grill, lake, bond, swimming, boat, canoe, swindles, bike rental, tennis courts, trampoline, sauna.

Tel. +372 782 5750 Tel. +372 782 4490

Kalevite Kodu Café and Confectionary Jüri 22

Kannel Café

Liiva 13 Tel. +372 786 8133

Tel. +372 782 8461

Jaagumäe Diner

Kreutzwaldi 27

Bus Station Café

Vilja 2

Ex Café

Jüri 32A

Võrusoo Café

Kreutzwaldi 106

Tel. +372 782 1179

Tel. +327 782 0540

Tel. +372 782 8520

Tel. +372 506 2764

Tel. +372 5822 9857 Tel. +372 516 5631

Ramona Café

Antsla 36a Tel. +372 5622 6657

Coffee and More

Jüri 13a, Vôru Tel. +372 5343 9474

nightclub vollyball

Museums/ For active people / For leisure Võrumaa Museum

Silja Sport

Dr. Fr. R. Kreutzwald Memorial Museum

Kubija Campsite

Katariina allee 11 Wed.-Sun. 11-18 Tel. +372 782 1939

Fr. R. Kreutzwaldi St. 31 Wed.-Sun. 11-18 Tel. +372 782 1798

Rental of bikes and skis Vabaduse 1 Tel. +372 782 1916 Rental of sports and hiking gear Männiku 43 Tel. +372 782 4216

Kannel Community Cultural Centre

Kubija Sleep Rehabilitation Centre

Exhibitions, theatre performances, concerts, movies. Liiva 13 Tel. +372 786 8676

Võrumaa Rehabilitation Centre

Boschwechter Nightclub

Männiku 43a

Tel. +372 786 6000

Võrumaa Hospital, Võru-Kubja Tel. +372 786 8564, Tel. +372 786 8563

Hotel Tamula Tennis Courts Vee tn 4

Tel. +372 783 0430

Roosisaare, Võru vald, Tel. +372 528 9100

Profit Sports Club

Squash, gym, aerobics, spinning, solarium, sauna Fr. R.Kreutzwaldi 59 Tel. +372 786 8066 Vabaduse 8

Tel. +372 782 2993

Koidula 16a Tel. +372 782 1191

Bar Bevega Nightclub

Tel. +372 782 5960

Karma Antiquities Store Koidula 14

Tel. +372 503 1612

Aino Tamberg Art Shop Jüri 33b

Jewellery Jüri 16

Tel. +372 5560 4038 Tel. +372 782 7636

Käsitöö Handicraft Shop Jüri 15a

Tel. +372 511 5313

Käsitöökelder Handicraft Shop

Võru Sports Centre

Aerobics, gym, track-and-field arena, sauna, sports events Räpina mnt. 3a Tel. +372 78 28 770

offers combined hikes by canoes, bikes or on foot, rents mountain bikes and canoes. Tel. +372 511 4179

Adventure track of Flying Squirrels Männiku 43a At Hotel Kubija

Tel. +372 782 3284

Tavern Võhandu Nightclub

Mäe 11

Kuningatalu Tennis Courts

Võru Bowling

Paju 21

Tel. +372 786 6000 Tel. +372 506 8377

Koidula 16 Open: Mon-Fri 9-17

Tel. +372 782 0240

Flower and Gift Shop Melissa Vabaduse 7

Must Kass Lembitu 2

Tel. +372 782 3295 Tel. +372 782 1429

Timo Keraamika Ceramics Shop

Kivi 12 Tel. +372 782 1035


Jüri 26

Tel. +372 782 3836

Most, most, most… We would like to invite you to visit the southernmost county in Estonia – Võrumaa – that can proudly boast being the owner of several records related to natural landmarks in Estonia. The highest mountain peak in the Baltics – Suur Munamägi (318 m) and the highest cupola with a relative height – Vällamägi (304 m), the deepest lake – Lake Rõuge Suurjärv (38 m), the highest water reservoir in Estonia – Lake Tuuljärv (257 m), the deepest primeval valley – Kütiorg (up 70 m), the river with the biggest downfall – Piusa River, the highest sandstone exposures, at the Piusa River, the longest river – Võhandu (162 km), the thickest oak tree in Estonia – Tamme-Lauri oak tree (perimeter 8 m) and the southernmost point of Estonia – near Naha village in Mõniste Parish.

The information was gathered by the Võru Town Government and Võru Tourist Information Centre in 2007. Text by Siiri Toomik. Edited by Britt Vahter, Aivar Nigol. Photos by Jaak Nilsson, Toomas Hütt, Jüri Kuusk et al. Layout by Emajõe Disain. Printed by Triip.

FINLAND St. Petersburg Helsinki



RUSSIA Tallinn


Useful links::





Copenhagen Vilnius

Võru Tourist Information Centre Tartu tn 31, 65608 Võru, Estonia

Võru City Government Jüri 11, 65608 Võru, Estonia

Tel +372 782 1881

Tel +372 785 0901

Profile for Emajõe Disain

Southern Estonian temptations start in Võru!  

A 20 pages brochure with an overview of tourism attractions in Võru town, southern Estonia. English edition. Also published in Estonian, Lat...

Southern Estonian temptations start in Võru!  

A 20 pages brochure with an overview of tourism attractions in Võru town, southern Estonia. English edition. Also published in Estonian, Lat...


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