Tuesday, 19.09.2017

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Hiiu county

 

Hiiumaa island (Ger./Swe. Dagö) is a County on its own. Prefer to travel by sea to Hiiumaa.

 

The center of the island is the only city of HiiumaaKärdla, first mentioned in 1564 and historically a Swedish settlement. Worth visiting are the church of Kärdla and the central square, there’s also a proper port for regular connections to Saaremaa and the mainland.

 

Then move towards Pühalepa, which has some of Hiiumaa’s islets like Vohilaid and Heinlaid and most of which are included to the Hiiumaa landscape protection reserve of islets. Kallaste landscape protection reserve has the Kallaste cliff-bank.

 

The St. Laurentius church in Pühalepa is Hiiumaa’s oldest church dating back to the 12th century and it is surrounded by Suuremõisa wild park. In 1951 the church fell into ruin and was used as a warehouse afterwards, in 1993 it was rebuild as a church. Some hundred meters north of the church you’ll find the Devil’s Stone, where the devil was supposedly aimed to hit the church with this stone and missed… This is only one of the many local legends – there are a lot of similar ancient stones in the region. One story tells that there was a secret underground passage from the Suuremõisa (Hiiu-Suuremõisa) castle to the church, in case the earl needed to escape – which is rather unlikely considering the distance of one kilometer in-between. Suuremõisa park is Hiiumaa’s biggest and most representative park with the caste’s main building used until nowadays as local civic centre, main school and Hiiumaa Industrial School.

 

Move towards Käina, with the ruins of Käina church (from around 1500) bombed in the II World War (supposedly the watch guard in the church tower shot on a destroyer flying over out of boredom and the pilot returned fire which destroyed the church).

 

Reigi in Kõrgessaare parish also has a historical church and there used to be a cattle manor and church manor as well.

Southwards go to Emmaste, the church was completed in 1867. Emmaste manor (Ger. Emmast) is at the south-most tip of Hiiumaa and houses a school.

 

The most famous spot on Hiiumaa must be Kõpu, with its famous lighthouse from the 16th century thus being the oldest lighthouse in Estonia, at the Baltic Sea and in the whole Baltic. One guesses, it might actually be the 2nd or 3rd oldest remaining lighthouse in the world. It’s built on 67m above the sea level at the highest point of Hiiumaa, the tower itself measures 36m. The tower was attacked only once in its history, during the bombing in the II World War in 1941 by German airplanes. The building below the tower was destroyed and the tower glassed sand optical instruments, but the tower itself luckily remained intact.