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Travel Routes in Valgamaa GENUINE SOUTH-ESTONIA

Valgamaa – the Southern Gate of Estonia Valgamaa (Valga County) is one of the youngest and smallest counties of Estonia. The landscape is picturesque and variable. Land around Sangaste and Helme is flat, around Otepää and in Karula moraine hillocks are frequent; the countryside is rich in big forests, beautiful lakes, and winding rivers. The rich historical and cultural heritage and the beautiful natural sights of Valgamaa have also given rise to abounding folk tradition. Tietoa Valgan maakunnasta Area 2046 km2 Population 36 000 Population density 17.6 people per km2 There are 11 parishes and three towns in Valgamaa: Tõrva, Otepää, and Valga, the County centre. Valga County Government Kesk 12, Valga 68203 + 372 766 6100

Valga – One Town, Two States

Valga Tourist Information Centre Kesk 11, Valga 68203 +372 766 1699

Valga was given the rights of town by Polish King Stefan Batory on June 11, 1584. The County centre Valga and the Latvian town Valka are twins, separated by the Estonian/Latvian border. The border was marked by an international jury headed by British Colonel Stephen Tallents in 1920. The distance from Valga to Tallinn is 250 km and from Valka to Riga 155 km. Area: Population:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Valga (Estonia) 16,5 km2 14 750

Valka (Latvia) 14,4 km2 6 700

St. John’s Church Memorial plaque Townhall Chapel Memorial plaque to Stefan Batory The building of the German Bank Valga Cultural Centre Central Library Valga Museum Memorial to Alfred Neuland

11. Cathedral of the Apostolic Orthodox Isidor Church 12. Valga railway station 13. Memorial locomotive 14. Chatolic Church of the Holy Spirit 15. Memorial to the dead of War of Independence 16. Memorial site of the Russian and German prison camp 17. Pedeli recreation area

1. St John’s Church The St John’s Church, designed by Ch. Haberlandt, an architect from Riga, and completed in 1816 is the only church with an oval ground plan in Estonia. Its rare organ of exceptionally good sound has been built by an organ building master Fr. Ladegast in Weissenfels near Leipzig. The organ was completed in July 1867. Since summer 1997 the church’s bells peal daily at midday and midnight.

4. Chapel The first stone building in Valga built in the 18th century, after the Great Northern War. It is the oldest building in the town.

2. Memorial plaque to the Sons of the North This memorial has been set up to commemorate the Finnish voluntaries who were killed in the Estonian War of Independence on the wall of the St John’s Church on February, 1934, on the 15th anniversary of the war. The Soviet occupation powers had the plaque beaten to pieces in 1940. The plaque was restored on January 31, 1999, the 80th anniversary of the victorious Paju battle of the War of Independence.

6. The building of the German Bank The author of the project, combining neo–classicist features with art noveau details is Wilhelm Roessler, an architect from Riga. The building was at first designed as a bank. The building of the German Lending and Depository Bank was completed in 1912. The central part of the front is of extremely plastic design with its Ionian coupled pillars, neo–classicist triangle gable and the oval window in it in an ornamented frame. In 1919 in this building the Headquarters of the Third Estonian Infantry Regimen and the Third Division were located as well as the headquarters of the American Red Cross. In 1940-1991 the building was at the disposal of the Soviet Army. Today the Valgamaa County Government work in the house. Kesk 12

3. Townhall The Valga Townhall was completed in 1865. This one– floor building with high half–hip roof is one of the most notable examples of the historicist wood architecture in Estonia. On the wall of the entrance hall is a memorial plaque to Johannes Märtson – the first mayor of local origin in Estonia (1902–1917).

5. Memorial plaque to Stefan Batory Polish king Stefan Batory gave Valga the right of a town on June 11. The memorial by the alley of Kesk Street was completed in 2002 as a joint project of the town of Valga and the Embassies of Hungary and Poland.

7. Valga Cultural Centre The Valga Cultural Centre was completed in 1967 according to the first after–stalinist standard club–house project. In 2001.the renovation work of the building was finished, in the course of which the house was in most part reconstructed. The cultural centre got a modern theatre and concert hall, exhibition galleries with contemporary equipment, rooms was hobby centres, a café, and a public internet room. Kesk 1

8. Central Library of Valga The house was designed and built by Karl Schmid in 1902 upon the order of Kaagjärve manor bailiff Zencker. The building has housed different institutions in different times: a girls’ school, the crime police office, the officers’ casino of the Valga garrison. The building has housed the headquarters of the German military force, orphans’ home, militia headquarters, pioneers’ house, and children’s hobby school. In1996 the house was renovated and given at the disposal of the town library. Aia 12

10. Memorial to Alfred Neuland Weight lifter A. Neuland (10.10.1895 – 16.11.1996) is the first Estonian Olympic champion. From the 1920 Antwerp Olympic Games A. Neuland returned with a gold medal. He was also successful at the Olympic Games of Paris where he won the silver medal.

9. Valga Museum The museum is housed in the former Säde club, completed in 1911 according to the project of G. Hellat. This is the biggest clubhouse in Estonia from the beginning of the 20th century. As a capital construction with an art noveau treatment of the front, the building is important in the Estonina architectural heritage. It was renovated in 1999. The museum’s permanent exhibition demonstrates the natural history of Valga town and its roundabouts, their history and cultural history through pictures describing milieu. The exposition is complemented by waxwork and itinerant exhibitions. Vabaduse 8 +372 766 8867

12. Valga railway station Valga railway station was by the end of the 19th century an important transit centre attracting both merchants and businessmen. During the 1890s the main red–brick historicist station building, the manoeuvring depot and the workshops were built. Nearly 500 employees worked at the workshops before World War I. The present towered station building was completed in 1949 according to the plans of architect V. Tsipulin. From the passenger bridge above the branching rails opens a view of the surrounding industrial landscape. Jaama pst. 10

11. Cathedral of the Apostolic Orthodox Isidor Church This church in historicist style, ground plan imitating the Latin cross and belltower of five cupolas was built in 1897–1898 according to the project of architect V. J. Lunski.


13. Memorial locomotive This memorial set up in 1998 commemorates the 110th anniversary of the Pskov–Valga–Riga railway connection. The locomotive, SU 251-98, has been built in 1949 at the Sormovo Factory. 14. Catholic Church of the Holy Spirit The church was completed in 1907 and was without a tower at first, as the Czarist government did not give a permission to build a tower. The building of the church took place upon the initiative of prelate Affanasowicz and mainly the Lithuanian and Polish railway–workers participated in the construction work. The services are now held in the rooms of an extension completed in 1995. Maleva 8 15. Memorial to the dead of the War of Independence at the Priimetsa Cemetery More than 300 dead of the War of Independence have been buried on the grounds of the Priimetsa Cemetery. On October 11, 1925 the War Minister of the time Jaan Soots opened the memorial. The memorial was hidden by the people during the Soviet occupation and was reopened on November 27,1988. 16. Memorial site of the Russian and German prison camp at Priimetsa The prison camp Stalag No. 351 was built in late autumn of 1941. Nearly 30,000 dead have been buried under the firs of Priimetsa to whom this monument called “Mourning” has been erected. The author is one of the best known Estonian sculptors Anton Starkopf. Camp No. 187 started receiving prisoners in November 1944. Nearly 300 prisoners have been buried on the grounds of the Priimetsa cemetery. 17. Pedeli recreation area Artificial lakes with beaches on their shores have been dug on the River of Pedeli flowing through the twin towns of Valga and Valka, there are also 2 hiking paths suitable for recreational action and playgrounds for children.

Route to see the town avifauna

The route runs on the shores of the northern artificial lake. The distance is 1 km and it takes about 20-40 minutes to pass it. With the help of information boards the traveller can watch and learn about the most common bird species of Estonian towns in the areas of apartment blocks and small houses as well as in parks and wastelands.

Study trail

It takes about an hour to pass the 1.5 km study trail, running along the pavements on the shores of the artificial lake. There are four tourist attractions along the trail: the Pedeli ferry–trip to see water–life, the sundial, trees for climbing to demonstrate the variety of the Estonian landscape, and a 1m profile explaining how soil is formed.


1. Jaanikese Holiday Centre 2. Hummuli manor and the battlefield of the Great Northen War 3. Valgjärv at Koorküla village 4. Koorküla caves

5. 6. 7. 8.

Barclay de Tolly Mausoleum The ruins of Helme church Helme Local History Museum Ruins of the Helme order castle 9. Helme caves

10. 11. 12. 13.

Taagepera castle and park Taagepera Church Mats Erdell’s Chapel Riidaja manor house, Gerdruta chapel 14. Bagpipe far

1. Jaanikese Holiday Centre The centre is located 2 km from Valga in the beautiful Jaanikese valley. On this best motor–racing track in Europe activities take place all year round at the ATV safaris as well as playing orienteering and adventure games. Jaanikese village +372 766 8745;

4. Koorküla caves The caves cover an area of about a quarter of a hectare and are located in the Burtniek layer of the Mid–Devonish sandstone. The spot of the cave area is marked on the surface with small craters of irregular shape with small entrances to the underground tunnels.

2. Hummuli manor and the battlefield of the Great Northern War The Hummuli region has first been mentioned in the cadastral act dividing land between the Bishop of Tartu and the local Order in 1226. The first data about the manor are from 1470. The present mansion was built in the 1860s. In 1914 the Sangaste Count Friedrich von Berg bought the manor for his younger son. Since 1930 the building houses a school. Yhe Great Northern War took the name of Hummuli into great history for the first time. On the fields of the Hummuli Manor, on July 29,1702 a bloody battle between the 18, 000-men Russian and the 7000-men Swedish armies was held. The Swedes got beaten and were made to retreat. In 2002, a memorial stone was placed in front of the Hummuli manor–house to commemorate the battle.

5. Barclay de Tolly Mausoleum Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly (1761–1818) was a Russian army leader of Scottish descent and from a Baltic aristocratic family who played an important role in the battles of 1812–1814 against Napoelon. Barclay de Tolly’s name is connected to Jõgeveste since his marriage in 1791 to Helene Auguste Eleanore von Smitten. Through his wife, the army leader became the owner of the Jõgeveste Manor. M. A. Barclay de Tolly was the first General Governor of Finland annexed by Russia, the War Minister of Russia, the Commander–in–Chief of the Third Russian Army and later the Russian–Prussian Army. The famous Russian army leader died in East Prussia near Insterburg. His remains were brought to Jõgeveste and buried here; according to the legend, his heart was buried at the place of his death. The mausoleum was in 1823 built by Count Barclay de Tolly’s widow. This building od neo–classicist style has been designed by one of the best known Russian architects of the day Apollon Shchedrin, the author of the tombstone is sculptor Vassilyi Demut-Malinoski. The sarcophagi of Barclay de Tolly and his wife have been preserved till today in their original shape. Jõgeveste village +372 538 35 718

3. Valgjärv at Koorküla village The pearl of the idyllic landscape around Koorküla rich in lakes is Valgjärv – a forest lake with very transparent light green water and high steep shores. From the shallow place in the middle of the lake the remains of a 1300–1400 years old unique lake dwelling have been found. It has apparently been the fortified dwelling place of the ancient community leader living separately from the rest of the people. The Estonian folklore connects Valgjärv and Udsu Lake 200 at the metre distance with a legend about the manor and the church being swallowed by the earth during the wedding of brother and sister.

6. The ruins of the Helme church The precise time of construction of the church is unknown but it took place approximately during the 13th–15th centuries. Architecturally it is a typical South Estonian church with two naves. The building’s length from the outside is 41 m and the width 20 m, the height of the tower is 46 m. There were 800 places in the church and it could house more than 2,000 listeners. During the September battles of 1944 the church was hit by a long distance shell. The building was seriously damaged and stands in ruins since. 7. Helme Local History Museum The museum is located in the former pastorate built in the 19th century. Among the exhibits there are tool used for cultivating land, documents about the cultural life in the Helme–Tõrva region, schoolbooks and school certificates. Kirikuküla, Helme parish +372 528 2264 8. Ruins of the Helme order castle The order castle is located on a small natural cape separated from mainland by two moats. The remains of the wall and the ground plan date the building into the first half of the 14th century. The castle fell into ruin during the Russian–Swedish war in 1658 when the Swedish troops destroyed it. By now only the walls with high window openings have been preserved. Judging by the remains it has been ascertained that the ground plan of the main castle was an elongated oval of 120x60 m placed in the north–south direction. The oldest and most interesting part of the castle remains is apparently the tower–like formation in the central part of the castle. In the valley below the order castle there is a sacrificial spring: according to a legend its water can cure seven ailments. 9. Helme caves The caves are located on the high and narrow slope of a ridge toward the north from the ruins of the order castle. The main attraction are two halls, first with the diameter of 3.5–6 m and height of 3.5 m and another with a diameter of 5.5 m with the height allowing to stand freely. The Helme caves have been dug by human hands as a hiding place and presumably even before the ancient battles for freedom.

10. Taagepera castle and park This castle built in 1907–1912 according to the design of architect Otto Wildau, represents the art noveau archaic–romantic style, partly hinting at the influence of Finnish architecture. The castle belonged to its owner Hugo von Stryk until its transference to the independent Estonian Republic in 1919. The park of free design surrounding the castle is one of the largest in southern Estonia and very rich in species. The castle has now been rebuilt and houses a hotel. Taagepera village, Helme parish +372 766 6390

11. Taagepera Church A small stone church with a wooden tower built upon the initiative of the manor owing family of von Stackelberg in 1674.


Total length 110 km, provided with signs and a map.

12. Mats Erdell’s chapel Mats Erdell was an Estonian peasant whose descendant Hans Erdell bought himself the Roobe Manor in 1868. This was one of the first purchases of the kind on the territory of Livonia. In the Taagepera cemetery there is Mats Erdell’s family burial chapel. The text on a stone plaque in the chapel says: “Here rests peacefully of his earthly toil and care the owner of the Sõnni farm, the owner of the Roobe Manor and the tenant of the Patküla Manor MATZ ERDELL – born in the Erdo farm of the Pöögle parish during the sermon of the first day of Christ’s resurrection holidays in 1792 and died in the Patküla Manor on December 2, 1847”. 13. Riidaja manor house, Gerdruta chapel The Riidaja manor house completed in 1762 is now one of the best preserved Baroque wooden manor houses in Estonia. Half a kilometre towards east from the manor house the von Stryk family burial ground is located with a redbrick chapel in neo–gothic style built in the second half of the 19th century. The chapel that for some time was in ruins was restored upon the initiative of the Stryk family and celebrated in 2001 as a church. 14. Bagpipe farm There is a Bagpipe farm at Riidaja where bagpipe music can be listened and making a bagpipe learnt. +372 527 8149

The hiking trails and bicycle paths in the parish of Helme offer an opportunity to enjoy motion and variable landscape and get acquainted with the historical heritage of the roundabouts. A visitor can choose among 13 routes of different lengths beginning with a distance of 3 km till a route of 27 km. The paths run along the local roads, they have been supplied with signs marking the bicycle paths information boards in Estonian and English. There are tourist information offices both in Taagepera and Tõrva. There are 9 sheltered resting sites along the paths where one can rest and have a picnic. Tündre, Holdre ja Taagepera holiday areas have are also supplied with campfire grounds. In addition to the information boards, it is also possible to get information in Estonian, English, and Finnish from the T–number of the mobile phone.

Tõrva Tõrva Tourist Information Valga 1, Tõrva 68605 Estonia +372 766 3300

1. Inn 2. Church and chamber hall 3. Õhne river 4. Tantsumägi (Dancing Hill) 5. Memorial of the War of Independence 6. Vanamõisa lake 7. Riiska lake 8. Tikste primeval valley

Tõrva, a garden town and summer resort is located at the crossing roads to Valga, Tartu, and Pärnu and is the heart of the parish of Helme. There are two natural lakes near the town with beaches on the lakeshore – the Riiska and Vanamõisa Lakes. Through the town flows a river called Õhne. Area: 4,8 km2 Population: 3300

arched bridge. The “better” people, however, used the so–called “White beach” for bathing. Here the riverbank resembles a dune. Many beautiful natural sights open from the riverbanks, the most notable of them being the Õhne primeval valley at the Koorküla Manor. At Holdre, Koorküla, and Tõrva the river has been used to make artificial lakes for watermills. The Õhne River is also suitable for canoe trips.

1. Inn The first house of Tõrva was an inn at the crossroads of Viljandi, Tartu, and Valga. First information about the building dates from 1834. Initially the inn was wooden; after 1890 it was destroyed in a fire and restored as a stone building. After World War II the inn was for years used as a country store. In 1998-1999 the inn was renovated. Now the house is considered the symbol of the town of Tõrva and its most beautiful building. Valga mnt 1

2. Church and chamber hall A memorable concert can be enjoyed in the church/ chamber hall of Tõrva. It is well known among the Estonians as a place where annual nature festivals take place comprising several exhibitions and concert series. The church was initially built as the Helme–Tõrva Orthodox Apostolic Church of Christ’s Nativity (built in 1903-1904). During the fierce September battles of the World War II in 1944 the church was strongly damaged. The congregation did not have money for restoring the church and so it stood in ruin for years. As the town did not have a good concert hall, it was decided to restore the church as a chamber hall in 1987. The work lasted for three years; at Christmas of 1990 the festive reopening of the hall took place. Valga mnt.44a 3. Õhne river The town of Tõrva is cut by a river called Õhne. The total length of the river is 91 km, a 3.5 km length of the river flows through Tõrva. The river has received its name from a word in Estonian „ahne” (greedy) as according to the local belief in old times many people had drowned in the river. In the 19th century inhabitants of Tõrva used the Õhne River for swimming and bathing. One of the favourite places for bathing was near the present

4. Tantsumägi (Dancing Hill) Tantsumägi is located on the southern border of the town, on the left bank of the Õhne River. In the19th century within this area was the Patküla manor park with beautiful bridges, stairs and a dancing square, which has given the place its name. The place is still suitable for comfortable walking tours in summer or skiing trips in winter. On the open stage concerts and theatre performances take place in summer. 5. Memorial of the War of Independence The memorial was erected in 1928 to memorize the war heroes of the Helme parish. The monument was destroyed in 1940 by the occupation authorities. On June 23,l 1990 the memorial was reopened at the Tõrva High School.

6. Vanamõisa lake Vanamõisa Lake is located by the Tartu road. The lake is the favourite bathing spot of the Tõrva people. The water is clear and becomes warm in summer; the depth of the lake is 10.5 m and the area 2 ha. The lake has a beautiful sandy beach, a 10 m diving tower and several squares for call games. In summer the lifeguard service also works on the beach. 7. Riiska lake Riiska Lake is located by the Valga road. The lake has shallow shores, sandy bottom and several springs in it. Its depth is 12.2 m the area 5ha. There are a beach and squares for ball games on the shores of the Riiska Lake and in summers the beach is guarded. 8. Tikste primeval valley Tikste primeval Valley on the western border of Tõrva is a natural wonder. The width of the valley flat is 150–200 metres. The flat begins near the former Helme rectory and cuts the wider valley flat of the Õhne River. The slopes are covered by dense fir, nut tree, bird cherry, and alder shrubbery, all alternating with open spots. The Tikste Stream had two watermills in earlier times, one at the parsonage; the other on the shores of the artificial lake.


1. Kaagjärve manor complex 2. Karula manor 3. New Karula church 4. Karula National Park

5. Hargla Church 6. Taheva manor 7. Koiva meadow 8. Aheru lake

1. Kaagjärve manor complex The manor house of the complex or Alamõis is a building in the style of the 19th century neo–renaissance. Several beautiful red–brick buildings from the end of the 19th century belong to the complex: the bailiff’s house, the store–house, etc. In the 1880s a powerful industrial complex od Mäemõis was built at 2.5 kilometres distance from the manor on the banks of the Kaagijärve stream running out of the Rautina Lake. The complex consisted of a brewery, flourmill, wool factory, spinning factory, and other industrial buildings. These one– and two–storied buildings in uniform historicist style were all built of red brick and local stone.

2. Karula manor The imposing manor house was destroyed in 1919 during the War of Independence. The neo–gothic bailiff’s house reminding a Middle Age castle of local stone has been preserved. At a distance of half a kilometre from the manor there is the burial ground of the manor owners, the family of von Grote called Krootimägi with its walls of a neo–gothic chapel.

5. Hargla church The church was completed in 1821. The altarpiece painted by E. Jacobs, originates from 1895 and won a gold medal at the competition of alter pieces in London. The organ has been built in 1876 by organ master A. Knauff in Gotha. In 1781 a chapel was built in the Hargla cemetery to bury the remains of the owner of the Laanemetsa Manor, Russian Major General Gotthard Wilhelm von Wassermann, his wife, mother and his brother–in –law, the owner of the Taheva Manor von Riekoff and other members of the family. The remains of the buried are mummified. 6. Taheva manor This stately two–storied neo–baroque building was destroyed in 1944, in the battles of World War II. A great number of out–houses, however, have been preserved, the most interesting of them being an ice–cellar built in 1820. From the Taheva Manor start 20, 25 and 50 km marked cycling pats. There is also a gazebo to see the landscape.

3. New Karula church There has been a church at Karula since 1318. the last church was burnt in 1944 and it stands still in ruins. The new church has been built of a former shed and was completed in 1997. On the Midsummer Day of 2001 the church got a beautiful stained glass window (made by Dolores Hoffmann, a German artist) presented to the congregation by the descendants of the former owners of the Karula Manor the von Grote family. The foundation of the Karula church and the tip of the tower of the Urvaste church are at the same height. 4. Karula National Park Karula National park located in the Valga and Võru counties is characterized by forests, meadows, mires and rolling country with more than 50 lakes. The highest hill of the region is the Tornimägi of Rebasemäe: from a massive 30m gazebo on Tornimägi opens a breathtaking view of the Otepää and Haanja highlands. There are 4 study trails on the area of the National Park, all supplied with information posts and signs; a long and a short cycling path and a number of places for camping. Information about the Woods Crone Family Park may be received fro the following website address: Ähijärve village, Antsla parish +372 782 8350;

7. Koiva meadow One of the most beautiful valley flat wooded meadows in Estonia is the Koiva meadow by the Estonian/Latvian border. The dominant species growing on the meadow are oak, lime, and aspen; on the riverbanks a real rarity the spindle tree can sometimes be met; here grow also some orchid species rare in Estonia and other rarities. The Mustjõe meadow is included in the list of international importance for bird species. Several camping and campfire sites have been prepared on the riverbanks. 8. Aheru lake (or Kantsi Lake, Suurjärv Lake, Ahero Lake) It is the biggest among the Karula lakes (234 ha). The lake is located in the Hargla basin 3. 5 km from Koikküla. Among small lakes Aheru is one of the richest for fish. On the shores of the lake at the Oore recreational farm the visitors have accommodation, campfire sites and boat landings at their disposal.

Otepää – Winter Capital of Estonia Otepää Tourist Information Centre Tartu mnt. 1, Otepää 67404 +372 766 1200

The parish of Otepää was formed by joining the town of Otepää and the parish of Pühajärve in 1999. The parish has 21 villages, the biggest among them being Sihva, Otepää, Pühajärve and Vana-Otepää. The town of Otepää is the parish centre. From the winter solstice till the beginning of spring, Otepää bears the title of the Winter Capital of Estonia. Area: 217.36 km2 Population: 4500 (2400 in the town of Otepää)

1. Otepää castle hill and the ruins of the bishop’s castle 2. Townhall 3. Energy column 4. Tehvandi Centre

5. Otepää Adventure Park 6. Otepää St Mary’s Lutheran Church 7. Museum of the Estonian Flag 8. Otepää Ski Museum 9. Memorial to the heroes of the War of Independence

1. Otepää castle hill and the ruins of the bishop’s castle A settlement of ancient Estonians was founded on the Otepää castle hill during the II millennium B.Ch. The Otepää castle hill is first mentioned in the Novgorod Chronicle in 1116. In 1224 German invaders built here a stone fortification, which is the oldest known stone fortification in Estonia. The fortification was destroyed in about 1480 in a war against Russia, its ruins can now be seen on the top of the hill. In 1937 a metal map of the fortification was set up on the castle hill.

2. Townhall In this house built in 1957 the Otepää parish government, police headquarters, town library, public internet centre, café (WIFI), and several firms are now housed.

5. Otepää Adventure Park By the Tehvandi Centre an adventure park was opened in summer 2005 with 5 adventure trails on trees of different level of difficulty, which under the guidance of experienced instructors offer unforgettable impressions in summer both to the old and to the young. +372 504 9783; +372 766 1313 6. Otepää St Mary’s Lutheran Church The first church founded in Otepää stood on the highest peak of the castle hill. The next church, the former place of which is marked with a stone cross was founded on the eastern slope pf the hill. The present church was built in the time of the Swedish invasion in the second half of the 17th century. In 1850 the church underwent inside repairs and the gallery was built. The organ was made at the mastery of a Tartu organ builder Kessler in 1852. The church–tower got its present design in 1860. 7. The Museum of the Estonian Flag In the Museum of the Estonian Flag the story of the birth of the Estonian flag is told. On July 4, 1884 the blue–black–and–white flag of the Estonian Students’ Society was celebrated in the Rectory Hall of Otepää, which became the Estonian national flag in 1922. The bas–relieves depicting the celebration ceremony of the flag have been set on the front wall of the Otepää St Mary’s Church. Rectory, Otepää +372 765 5075; +372 525 4860

3. Energy column In the roundabouts of Otepää sensitives have found positive energy fields. The reasons of their origin are not exactly known. It is presumed that it is because here grow a great number of very old trees. In 1992 the existence of the positive energy fields was decided to mark with a decorative sculpture.

4. Tehvandi Sport Centre Tehvandi Centre was founded in 1977 as one of the centres for preparing the Olympic team for winter sports of the Soviet Union. In addition to the main building a ski stadium, cross–country ski paths, and a K70 ski jump hill, a shooting range, running and roller–ski path belong to the complex. From the ski jump hill a breathtaking view opens to the surrounding landscape. Tehvandi Centre Foundation Nüpli village, Otepää parish +372 766 9500;

8. Otepää Ski Museum Otepää Ski Museum was opened in the Otepää Rectory in 2001. The museum was recognized by the International Ski Federation (FIS) in 2003. The permanent exposition of the museum demonstrates the history of Estonian ski sport and Otepää as a winter sport centre. Since 2005 a visitor can try a hand on the simulator of biathlon. Rectory, Otepää +372 766 3670; +372 501 6082 9. Memorial to the heroes of the War of Independence Memorial to the war heroes was opened in 1928 (sculptor Voldemar Mellik, executed by stonemason P. Veeber). During the Soviet occupation the monument lay hidden in the ground. It was reopened in a new place on the hill in front of the St Mary’s Church on April 22, 1989. The huge granite boulder with the full list of the names of the dead (54) has been lost (54), only 22 names have been preserved.

Routes Pühajärve walking path 1.5 km, supplied with signs and a map.

The path starts at the sources of Väike Emajõgi in the southern tip of Lake Pühajärv. The path is very suitable for children and families. By the path one can find boards with information about fauna and flora and marry children’s attractions. The path takes the walkers to Koolirand, where there is a resting ground with wooden blocks to sit on, a place for campfire, and a swing.

Apteekri forest trail 3 km, supplied with signs.

The trail starts and ends at the Otepää Sport Centre in Mäe Street.The path runs along the Nüpli training path to the Apteekrimets, cuts the forest trail between Marguse artificial lake and the Otepää garden suburb and having crossed the bridge of Sulaoja, ascends step by step back to its starting point.

HIKING PATHS AROUNG LAKE PÜHAJÄRVE Info: Administration of the Otepää Nature Park Kolga tee 28, 67404 Otepää +372 765 5876; Otepää–Pühajärve–Kääriku foot- and cycling path 11 km, covered with asphalt

The path starts from the intersection of the Mäe and Pühajärve Roads and runs downhill towards Lake Pühajärv. The section Otepää-Pühajärv is meant for people travelling on foot. The Pühajärve–Sihva section is for people travelling on foot, on bicycle, or on roller–skates, the Pühajärve–Kääriku section is for both the hikers and the bicycle riders.

Pühajärve–Kääriku ski path 9 km

The path can be taken starting from the Pühajärve Holiday Centre or from the Kääriku ski stadium. From the same places skiing equipment can be rented. In the short days in winter when darkness sets early the 3 km Kääriku–Sihva section of the path and the roundabouts of the Pühajärve Holiday Centre are illuminated from 17–22 .

Pühajärve hiking trail Length 12 km, supplied with signs and a map, runs around Lake Pühajärve.

The path starts from the Centre of the Otepää Nature Park. For those travelling on foot or by bike, a 12 km path is meant, taking one to a trip around Pühajärv. It takes from 3 to 6 hours to pass the route. The path runs past the Kolga farms, Kiigemägi, Armuallikas, Poslovitsa, Hobusemägi, Koolirand, the Pühajärve Park and beach. Along the path a traveller finds resting places and places for building campfire. Part of the path (ca 2.2 km) runs along the foot– and bicycle path by the Otepää–Kääriku road.

PATHS AT KÄÄRIKU Info: Non–profit association Kekkonen Path +372 515 1404; The Kekkonen path 15 km, supplied with signs and a map.

The path is used all the year round – by hikers, sportsmen (both amateur and professional) and bicyclists in summer and by skiers in winter. The path has got its original name from the visit of Urho Kaleva Kekkonen, the Finnish President to Kääriku in 1964. The path starts from the Kääriku ski stadium and runs up– and downhill to such beautiful places as Alpiaas, Hirveorg, and Harimägi. By the Kekkonen path there is a 26 m wooden lookout from which opens a wonderful view to the hillocks of the Otepää upland and across the river valley of Väike–Emajõgi to the Karula upland. It is possible to follow the 2.5 side–paths of Amfiteater and Purakamäe; in that case the total length of the path is 20 km.

Kääriku cross–country ski paths 1; 2; 2.5; 3; 5; 7.5 km, supplied with signs

Ski paths of 1; 1.5; 2; 2.5; 3.2; 5; 7.5; 10 km

MOTION PATHS AT TEHVANDI Info: Tehvandi Sport Centre Nüpli village, 67406 Otepää +372 766 9500;

MADSA RECREATION PATHS Info: Madsa Recreation Centre +372 767 9656, +372 514 8103;

The paths run from the Kääriku ski stadium. The 2.5 km path is illuminated. There is the equipment rental at the stadium.

Running, imitation, and pole walk paths 5 km

The path starts from the main building of the Tehvandi centre and runs around the hills of Kunimäe, Hobuseraua, Püksisääre, and Tehvandi. The path is covered with sawdust and marked with blue ribbons. At the path there are signs marking passed kilometres. This is a difficult path with steep rises and falls and is not advisable for amateurs!

All ski paths of high quality, covered with artificial snow start at the Tehvandi Centre and end at the Tehvandi ski stadium. The 3.2 km training path and the 5 km competition path are illuminated. The 10 km path is good for amateurs.

Ski paths 0.9; 1.5; 4 km

The paths start all from the Madsa Holiday Cantre. The paths are illuminated at night, the 4 km path only partly.

Roller ski and roller skate paths 5 km

This 3 m wide path starts from the Tehvandi centre and runs over the Hobuseraua, Lättemäe and Tehvandi mires, around the Tehvandi hill, and in the roundabouts of Ansomäe. This is a one–way path only. The path is supplied with signs marking kilometres passed. The path is difficult, with dangerous steep and winding descents. It is meant only for well trained and experienced sportsmen in roller–skiing and roller– skating!

Bicycle path 5.7 km

The path begins from the Tehvandi main building and runs from the Tehvandi stadium along the Tartu Cycling Marathon path to Ansomäe, from there on to Kasemetsa, passes Kuusemetsa and Savimäe, then to the Tehvandi hill and the Tehvandi mire, running past Lättemäe and Linnamäe back to the starting point. The path is mostly soil–covered and runs across fields, sometimes even over difficult marshland. It has been marked with yellow ribbons.

Running and pole walking path 5.5 km The path starts at the Tehvandi Centre and runs around Kunimäe, Ansomäe, Kasemetsa, Kuusemetsa, Savimäe, Tehvandi hill, and Tehvandi mire; later Lättemäe and Linnamäe. The path is partly covered with sawdust and marked with red ribbons.

Health path 1.2 km

The path runs around Kunimäe and starts from the Tehvandi Centre. Along the path seven training areas for training different muscle groups and balance have been built. The path is marked with green ribbons.

TARTU MARATON PATHS Info: Klubi Tartu Maraton; +372 742 1644 Tartu cycling marathon path 63/31 km, marked, supplied with map

The Tartu cycling marathon path starts from Otepää, from the Tehvandi ski stadium, and ends in Elva, at the Tartu County Health Sports Centre. The path is marked with blue cycling signs answering the Estonian standards, the signs mark the route in both directions and also show the distance passed. The path is meant both for hiking and training. In most part, the path runs along forest trails and smaller gravel roads. The path is passable on bicycles of different type, the most suitable is the cross–country bike. The cycling marathon path runs in its beginning near the winter ski marathon path, later along the Nüpli training path, crosses then the Hanimäe and Meegaste hills and runs further across the Elva–Vitipalu landscape protection area.

Tartu ski marathon path 63/31 km, marked, supplied with map

The Tartu Marathon path starts from Otepää, from the Tehvandi ski stadium. It runs through Matu, Mäeküla, Meegaste, Palu and Hellenurme to Elva to the Tartu Caounty Health Sports Centre.


1. Memorial of the Paju Battle 2. Sangaste castle 3. Märdi cork trees 4. Kääriku 5. Harimägi

6. Gustav Wulff-Õis’ Farm Museum 7. Pühajärve lake 8. Pühajärve Holiday Centre 9. Pühajärve War Oak 10. Otepää golf links

11. Hellenurme watermill 12. Nõuni lake 13. Leigo Tourist Farm 14. Otepää Nature Park

1. Memorial of the Paju Battle Near the Paju Manor on January 31, 1919 one of the most important battle of the War of Independence took place. Together with the Estonians, a regimen of Finnish volunteers called Regimen of The Sons of the North also fought. The most legendary leader of the War of Independence Julius Kuperjanov was mortally wounded in the battle. The battle is memorized by a granite monument on a three–step pyramid of earth, which was reopened by the Estonian President Lennart Meri on the 75th anniversary of the battle on January 30, 1994.

4. Kääriku Kääriku started developing since 1947 when the study and training centre of the faculty of Exercise and Sport Sciences of the University of Tartu was founded here. Today Kääriku with its beautiful landscape and motion paths usable all the year round has become a very popular place of people’s sport. One of the most frequently used paths is the 14 km Kekkonen hiking path. One the shore of the Kääriku Lake one can find a boat rental, a pier and a diving tower.

2. Sangaste castle The Sangaste castle completed in 1881 which belonged to the famous rye breeder Count Berg,has been built after the designs of architect Otto Pius Hippius. This magnificent mansion of red brick is one of the most representative examples of historicism in the whole Baltic region and in the outside look of the house one can notice elements reminding the Windsor Palace in England. The attention of the guests is attracted by a park with its ponds and rare tree species and the echo effect under the vaults of the front stairs. Lossiüla, Sangaste parish +372 767 9300

5. Harimägi Harimägi is one of the biggest plateaus of the Otepää upland: 211.3 m above the sea level according to the latest measurements. The hill has also been called the Leenardi and Leonhardi hill. There is a 28 m high wooden watch-toweron the hill; the height of the upper platform is 24 m. A scenic view opens from the tower to the hills of Otepää and across the valley of Väike-Emajõgi river till the Karula upland.

3. Märdi cork trees The Märdi cork oaks under protection grow near the dam built of the Väike-Emajõgi. The former watermill dam has been built so that it is possible to stand behind the water–curtain and listen to the murmur of the waterfall.

6. Gustav Wulff-Õis’ Farm Museum Gustav Wulff was born on January 1,1865 in the VastseOtepää parish at the Juusa farm. He became known as the author of the words of a well–known song “Sweet Nightingale”. The song has become almost a hymn of Otepää. At present the Lõhmuse farm houses a museum and the mistress of the farm is the poet’s grandchild Mari-Ann Karupää. Nüpli village, Otepää parish +372 765 5119; +372 523 3060

11. Hellenurme watermill The Hellenurme watermill is located at 14km from Otepää towards Elva on the shores of a beautiful artificial lake. This magnificent watermill built of local stone and red brick was built in the 1880s by the Middendorff family who were the local manor holders. The machinery found in the mill originates from the 1930s. Hellenurme, Palupera parish +372 520 5142;

7. Pühajärv lake Pühajärv Lake is the biggest lake of the Otepää upland: the length of the lake is 3.5 km, and the widest spot 1.6 km, the greatest depth is 8.5 m, area 292.6 ha and the total length of the shoreline 16.4 km. There are several springs on the lakeshores; the best known is the Armuallikas (Spring of Love) in the baylet. From the southern tip of the lake Väike-Emajõgi river begins. In the park on the shores of the lake stands a wooden sculpture in the honour of the religious leader of the Tibetan people His Holiness Dalai Lama XIV Tenzin Gyatso’s visit to Estonia in 1991. Pühajärv is suitable for fishing, bathing and sunbathing; there is a boat rental in summer; one can find several beach cafés and the beach is also watched by the lifeguards. The Pühajärve beach was given a Blue Flag in summer 2000, which is the symbol of eco–friendliness in Europe. The recognition is annually applied for. 8. Pühajärve Holiday Centre Pühajärve Holiday Centre offers recreation through health, treatment, and beauty procedures. There is a bowling area, a water centre and bodybuilding hall in the centre. In summer a pleasure yacht cruises the lake starting from the harbour of the manor park. Pühajärve village, Otepää parish +372 766 5500 9. Pühajärve War Oak Pühajärve War Oak is the jewel of the manor park. The trunk diameter of this old tree with a huge spherical crown at the height of 1.3 m is 210 cm; the circumference of the three is 6.6 m, its height 20 m, and age nearly 380 years. The oak is called a War Oak as the witness to the events of the 19th century. In autumn 1841 the peasants of the Pühajärve manor refused to work for the manor. They were punished in the neighbourhood of the big oak on December 16. There are several walking paths in the neighbourhood of the oak. 10. Otepää golf links Otepää golf links are located in the village of Mäha. The driving range and the pitch-put were opened in July, 2005, the completion of the links is planned by the season of 2007. Otepää Golf Club +372 56 200 115

12. Nõuni lake Nõuni Lake is one of the richest for fish in the region. The main fish species are the bream, the roach, the perch, the pike, etc. The area of the lake is ~79 ha and the depth is 15.5 m. on the shores of the lake one can find places for having rest and for bathing; it is possible to take a trip around the lake on foot, by bike as well as by car.

13. Leigo Tourist Farm Leigo tourist farm has become widely known and popular because of its lake music concerts and performances that take place every summer. Lutike village, Palupera parish +372 509 1344 14. Otepää Nature Park Otepää Nature Park is located in the northern part of the Valga County on the area of the Otepää, Palupera, Puka, and Sangaste parishes. The Nature Park covers 22,430 ha in the central part of the 1,180 km2 Otepää upland. By its territory the Otepää upland is the largest landscape protection area in Estonia. Centre of the Otepää Nature Park Kolga tee 28, Otepää

Text by: Marina Lauk, Liivika Liiv-Kaldma, Mare Raid Translation by: Kersti Unt Design by: OÜ Disain ja Trükk Photos by: Tiina Viirelaid, Toomas Uibo, Jaanus Ilp, Olev Merivee, Mare Raid, Andy Karjus Printed by: AS Triip 2005

This publication is supported by the European Union

Printed on 100% recycled paper Cyclus with inks based on natural resins and oils ©Triip

Valga Tourist Information Centre Kesk 11, Valga 68203 +372 766 1699 Otepää Tourist Information Centre Tartu mnt 1, Otepää 67404 +372 766 1200;; Tõrva Tourist Information Valga 1, Tõrva 68605 +372 766 3300

Travel Routes in Valgamaa  

Valgamaa (Valga County) is one of the youngest and smallest counties of Estonia. The landscape is picturesque and variable. Land around Sang...

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