Thursday, 21.09.2017

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Pärnu county


Pärnu County is the largest of Estonian counties by territory full of interesting sights and places. It has over 200km of shore, 177 islands and islets, historical small towns and great nature from swamps and marshes to forests and sea. And not to mention the summer capital of Estonia – Pärnu.


Historically Pärnu County has been on the crossroads of trade ways from north to south and east to west and the best start would indeed be the capital of Pärnu County – the city of Pärnu.


What would be Pärnu without its beach and its newly renovated the elegant Pärnu Beach Promenade. Pärnu, at the mouth of the Pärnu River, is older than one could guess. Old-Pärnu (Vana-Pärnu  or Perona) at the mouth of the Sauga river, was a medieval city, which was destroyed many times and at one point, it was no longer rebuilt, but was connected to the city of New-Pärnu (Uus-Pärnu). On the Rüütli Str. you can many significant buildings, older objects are parts of the town fortification: partially preserved bastions and the moat the Red Tower (Punane torn) from the old medieval city wall and the baroque Tallinn’s Gate (Tallinna värav) from the 17th century. From later periods you can find the art nouveau-style Ammende Villa (from 1905) and several functional-style buildings (e.g. the Beach Hotel and Café from 1937 and 1940). The new theatre and several spa buildings were erected during the Soviet period. Pärnu might be charming all year round, but it’s still advised to visit Pärnu during the summer in order to make the most of it and spend as much time as possible outdoors.


After Pärnu one could visit the small town of Sindi 14km from Pärnu, named after the laird and Pärnu city counselor Carl Zindt and was fund at the 1st half of the 19th century as an industrial settlement (oldest industrial buildings from that period). Sindi is also known for educational facilities, many of which operate until nowadays. Worth seeing is the railway complex from the end of 1920s, the city hall and the Sindi-Lodja (barge) on Reiu river.


The third important town is the romantic Kilingi-Nõmme 40km from Pärnu, named after the manor of the Schillings and Nõmme tavern from 1789. Kilingi-Nõmme has preserved a fine example of main-street wooden architecture and numerous sculptures.


Visit the coastal areas of Päru County: Tõstamaa, Häädemeeste or Tahkuranna. Tõstamaa has an interesting Tõstamaa Maarja church (1763–1768), a manor with park from the beginning of the 19th century, Tõstamaa singing grounds and mill pond from 1970-s.


In Häädemeeste hamlet visit the Häädemeeste Mihkli church (1874), beautiful pine forests, shore meadows and the fine school building. The untouched Tolkuse marsh in Luitemaa reserve is impressive. Tahkuranna is a historic fishermen village and people there have been living from fishing for centuries.


Moving land inwards, you can visit Paikuse with the picturesque Reiu River, swimming possibilities, Seljametsa Lake with clear waters and the Soomaa National Park (trans. the ‘Land of the Swamp). There are 2 marshes on the territory of the park, the center is in the Tõramaa village.


In Tori, famous for its famous horse breed – the Tori horse – visit the Tori Museum, Tori church and Tori cemetery (consisting of the Lutheran and the Orthodox parts).


Vändra in North-Eastern part of Pärnu County is famous for its forests, there’s also a manor park and an old church park.


If you find time, a trip to the small island of Kihnu is a must (the other option is with plane). The island of Kihnu is so different and unique and despite of its smallness you can feel this special atmosphere on every step – be it the local folklore, traditional dresses, food, nature or traditions. Because of all this, the Kihnu region belongs to the masterpieces of oral heritage of the UNESCO.