Thursday, 21.09.2017

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Rapla county


Rapla County in North-Western Estonia is with Järva County the only county in Estonia which has no border to another country or to a large water body.


Rapla County covers 4 types of Estonian landscape: Pärnu lowlands, North-Estonian plateau, West-Estonian lowlands and Kõrvemaa. Rapla County has the most important Estonian watershed, Paluküla hill and many more sights to visit. Most famous city is the County capital Rapla, followed by hamlets like Järvakandi, Kohila and Märjamaa.


Rapla County has around 100 manors with each of them having its own, different (hi)story. If interested in manor heritage, visit Järlepa, a classical-style manor at the southern shore of a lake and surrounded by a beautiful park.


Mahtra manor remembers the visitors about the events of the Mahtra war/novel. Most of the houses of the modest manor are destroyed, there are a lot of ruins left. Maidla manor has belonged to the famous family of the von Maydells giving the manor its today’s name – it’s a baroque stone manor from the 2nd half of the 17th century.


Kehtna manor was constructed around 1790 with the early-classical main building standing until nowadays with a fine park. There’s a nice 0.5km alley leading towards Rapla.


Helle manor was erected in 1870-s as a late-historic castle, it was destroyed during the uprising of 1905 and only the 2-storeyd right side could be rebuilt. The classical Hõreda manor is considered to be the finest example of its kind in Estonia.


In addition to this, Rapla County has other historical sites of interest, such as Loone castle hill (mentioned in the famous Henrik’s Livonian Chronicle as „castrum Lone“) actually consisting of 2 castles Loone I and Loone II.


Further to Keava castle hill in Kehtna parish, which is considered to be one of the biggest centers in Estonia during the Viking period. Varbola castle in Märjamaa parish is one of the largest castles of ancient Estonia. The gate passage and the 13m well with the surrounding limestone wall have been restored, with turret and bricole.


Haimre Park and chapel with the large neo-gothic park pavilion from the end of the 18th century (along with the partially preserved ice-cellar in the manor park) is a true oasis. The famous great stone – Pahkla Suurkivi, also called the King of the Estonian Stones, measures 29.5m x 4.4m. Other significant glacial boulders close by are Mägrakivi (trans. Badger’s Stone), Mari Nutukivi (trans. Mary’s Weeping Stone) and Ussipõllu Suurkivi (trans. Great Stone of Snake’s Field) with 17 sacrificial hollows. All of the stone have their own legends…


Kuimetsa karst field is the biggest and most unique of its kind in Estonia with many different forms of karst and Estonia’s largest caves. Loosalu Lake at the western edge of Kõrvemaa is the largest marsh lake in Estonia.


Jalase village with its interesting landscape pattern is worth visiting, as well as, Vigala river and the surroundings of the Vana-Vigala manor, Pakamägi hill in Raikküla, considered to be the meeting place of ancient Estonia’s tribal leaders in Henrik’s Livonian Chronicle, Paluküla castle hill, which is connected to the story of Kalevipoeg’s sling throwing and where one should see Kalevipoeg’s fingerprints until today. Make sure not to miss the chance to visit the Eeru tavern, built in 1840, which has as the only one survived and maintained its original form as a typical North-Estonian peasant tavern.


There are several interesting museums to see, like Mahtra Peasant Folk’s Museum (Mahtra Talurahvamuuseum), Kabala Cotton Mill (Villaveski) and Sillaotsa Farm Museum (Talumuuseum). The proud capital of Rapla County is the town of (Ger./Russ. Rappel), with its magnificent 2-towered Rapla Church having no other competition in Estonia except for the Tallinn Kaarli church.


Vigala or Konuvere River flows through the city, interesting sights include Rapla’s old cemetery and chapel with von Tiesenhausen’s burial chambers. Also Kalevipoeg’s whetstone or the Kõpsoni stone, Rapla’s stone bridge from the end of the 18th century and several administrative buildings from 1920-s and 1930-s.