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A simple mistake to make when visiting Estonia is to cling to the nation’s intensive shoreline. In any case, the Baltic coast is house to some main locations, not least the capital Tallinn. However every time I’ve ventured inland in Estonia, I’ve been delighted with what I’ve discovered. Living proof, is the historic and inexperienced city of Viljandi, my most up-to-date foray inland. Simply take a look at the attractive sights to see in Viljandi and also you’ll see why it’s clever so as to add cities prefer it to your itinerary.
Viljandi is an actual vacationer city, however I imply that in the very best manner. There are issues to see and expertise round each nook right here and lots of the issues to do in Viljandi appear to enchantment to home vacationers simply as a lot as worldwide guests. It has a balanced, well-rounded really feel to it that makes visiting simple and cozy. To point out you why I feel you may’t miss this little Baltic gem, I assumed I’d take you on a unfastened strolling tour of Viljandi.
Viljandi is a medium-sized city close to the guts of Estonia and sits nearly midway between the cities of Pärnu and Tartu. It’s a spot with a beneficiant historical past to its identify, but additionally a great deal of inexperienced areas, making it a straightforward place to love as a vacationer. In that sense, it bares quite a lot of similarities with Sigulda in Latvia, one other Baltic vacation spot I’m very keen on.
However the largest connection between Viljandi and Sigulda is that each are tightly linked to the Livonian Order of knights. It’s due to this order of “warrior monks” that the city was fortified and started to prosper within the thirteenth century. Viljandi earned city’s rights in 1283.
The opposite cause Viljandi is attention-grabbing is that it was one among simply 5 cities in trendy Estonia to be a member of the Hanseatic League. That is noteworthy because the others all sat on the coast or on main waterways and Viljandi is manner inland. What made Viljandi particular was its handy place on regional medieval commerce routes. Sadly, centuries of warfare within the Baltic led to the decline of the city and far of its destruction.
With that background defined, let’s take a look at modern-day Viljandi and what to do there now.
Stroll Across the Previous City Centre
The perfect place to start out a go to to Viljandi is with its small city centre. Strolling across the historic components of Viljandi actually received’t take you too lengthy, but it surely’s effectively price doing. You’ll discover cobblestone streets all through and a captivating assortment of brick and wood-panel homes alongside then. Viljandi has the identical “frontier” really feel I’ve described for different Baltic locations, however feels someway greener and quieter than the others.
Tallinna is the primary road via the city centre, however I’d argue that Lossi Road, Kauba Road and Pikk Road are Viljandi’s prettiest. One other spot to go to is the nice Backyard of Arcadia, which has stays of the medieval city partitions off a pedestrian path. I can’t converse to the world close to Viljandi Manor as that a part of city was present process large public works on the time of my go to.
The Viljandi Previous Water Tower
As you discover the city centre you’ll probably discover an odd sight poking above the city’s rooftops. That’s the previous Water Tower of Viljandi, a brick tower with a modern-looking statement room on the high of it. Head as much as the highest of the tower for views over Viljandi or keep on the bottom and like me think about a wizard dwelling up there.
The opposite towering landmark round Viljandi that may probably draw your consideration is the town’s whitewashed Lutheran Church. Surrounded by pristine lawns and bushes, the Jaani Church seems prefer it belongs out within the countryside someplace. It was initially inbuilt 1464 as a part of the native Franciscan Monastery. Nonetheless, warfare and the Soviet period left it a shadow of its former self till 1992 when like quite a lot of church buildings throughout the Baltic, it was in a position to be renovated.
Take pleasure in its Viewpoints
Heading over to the japanese and south-eastern edges of the city centre you’ll be met with fairly a pleasing scene. It’s in these areas that you simply realise Viljandi is up on a hill and surrounded by lush greenery. Viljandi was really dubbed the “Forest Capital Metropolis of Estonia” in 2009 and that’s saying one thing given its competitors.
There are a number of viewpoints alongside the ridgeline linked by a delicate strolling path. Every has its personal strengths however all of them look out to Lake Viljandi and reinforce why the Baltic’s nature is one among its greatest options. One viewpoint even has a swing that was all the time occupied after I walked previous.
Head All the way down to the Lake
Having noticed Lake Viljandi from on excessive, why not take a wander all the way down to the water’s edge? The lake is definitely well-known nationwide as there’s a romantic Estonian music a couple of boatman rowing on Lake Viljandi.
One of the best ways to get there’s down the steps of Trepimägi, a historic stairway of 158 steps. Alongside the steps you’ll spot a few of the city’s grander villas and on the backside sports activities fields, a leisure complicated and even a seashore. Although I used to be there in late summer season the lakefront space was reasonably empty, however summer season is transient on this a part of the world.
Discover the Fortress Ruins
To me, and possibly many guests, probably the most attention-grabbing attraction in Viljandi is the city’s medieval fortress. The fortress ruins are discovered on the southern finish of city and are free to stroll via and admire. They date from 1224 when the German Order of the Sword, later the Livonian Order, began building.
For a time Viljandi Fortress was an important throughout Livonia and it prospered as a significant commerce hub. Just like the city, it suffered from the area’s repeated wars and immediately is a set of brick fragments. Partitions stand right here and there, to not point out the primary gate, however the remainder of the fortress is in smash. There are a number of excavation pits that spotlight the archaeological work completed right here, however in actuality, the primary goal of the location now could be as an atmospheric backdrop for open-air live shows and performances.
Stroll Round Viljandi Fortress Park
After you’ve seen the fortress ruins, it’s time to absorb the huge greenery of the park surrounding it. So far as I can inform the park space has no unifying identify, but it surely mainly stretches south and west of the ruins. Begin with a visit throughout the Viljandi Suspension Bridge, a proud native icon that’s greater than 50 metres lengthy.
From there you’ll discover quite a lot of paths to observe, together with some via the intriguingly named Thinker’s Alley. By way of different landmarks, there are a number of however the giant Music Pageant Area stands out, highlighting the standard significance of music in Estonia.
Journey Suggestions for Visiting Viljandi
Since Viljandi isn’t an particularly well-known vacation spot, I feel it’s price me providing recommendation on how you can go to.
Let’s begin with getting there, as that’s all the time vital. The best approach to get to Viljandi is from Tallinn, with a handful of train departures every day that make the two hour prepare journey. In any other case, take a look at the bus connections with cities like Pärnu and Tartu. The draw back of taking the prepare is that Viljandi prepare station is a good manner from the city centre. To get into city, it’s both an affordable stroll otherwise you’ll have to take a neighborhood bus.
Then there’s the matter of staying in Viljandi. I went with the reasonably priced choice and stayed at Hostel Ingeri with no complaints. However there are different places to stay in Viljandi as effectively, in order for you one thing a bit extra comfy. One perk in regards to the hostel is that it’s proper subsequent to Tegelaste Tuba, an inexpensive and scrumptious tavern-like restaurant that I extremely suggest.
Had you heard of the city of Viljandi in Estonia earlier than? Does this inexperienced and historic vacation spot curiosity you sufficient so as to add it to your subsequent journey to Estonia? Please share your ideas within the feedback under.
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