Worth seeing in Haapsalu and Läänemaa

In the romantic small town of Haapsalu and small villages, hospitable people await you, surprising you with their sincerity and interest in history and culture. The guests who stayed here are remembered again and again with great respect.

St John’s Lutheran Church in Haapsalu

St. John’s Church in Haapsalu, a town church rebuilt from a granary, first mentioned in writing in 1513, is a Lutheran church which has been active without interruption since 1524. In the church there is a stone altar wall, created by Joachim Winter in 1630. The stone altar is rare in the whole Northern Europe. Its central motif, a high relief depicting ‘Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane’ is also unusual. The tombstone of the first known pastor, Joachim Jacobi (1581-1587), lies on the ground in front of the altar. The wooden pulpit with baroque-style wooden carvings dates back to 1707. Two bells, the older of which is from 1590, toll in the church tower.

Haapsalu Lace Centre Museum and Gallery

The Haapsalu shawl, an extremely fine knit shawl that can be pulled through a woman’s ring, has been the symbol of Haapsalu for more than a century. Ever since then, these shawls have been highly regarded by women. The knitters of the traditional shawls are professionals and the skill is passed down from generation to generation. In the Shawl Museum, you can see a permanent exhibition on the past and present of the Haapsalu shawl, examine the extremely fine patterns, and buy one of the masterpieces for yourself. In the summer, local shawl knitters hold trainings and workshops. Haapsalu shawls have been presented as gifts to the women of the Swedish Royal Family as well as the honoured guests of the President of Estonia.

Ungru Manor ruins

Ungru Manor is one of the most impressive neo-baroque buildings in Estonia, although the castle was never fully completed. It is an imposing building, which is an almost exact copy of the Merseburg Castle in Germany. Behind the construction of the manor was a sad love story: Count Ungern-Sternberg fell in love with the daughter of the lord of Merseburg Castle, who had promised to spend her entire life in Merseburg Castle. The count promised to build an exact replica of the building and she agreed to move there. However, the construction stopped when the count’s lover suddenly fell ill and died. These are mystical ruins in a beautiful place, making it a wonderful place for taking pictures!

Haapsalu Church of Mary Magdalene

The Estonian Orthodox Church of Mary Magdalene is located on the Haapsalu Promenade. The family of the Russian Emperor Nicholas I attended the opening of the church in 1852. The church was restored to its present state and it is open as an Othodox place of worship in 2001. The church is open on Sundays from 9am to noon. To visit at other times, please contact us in advance. The church windows are decorated with stained glass by artist Dolores Hoffmann. The illustrator Ilon Wikland lived with her grandmother and grandfather in the church house during 1938-1944 at Linda 2.

Haapsalu Castle Museum

Haapsalu Castle is an architectural gem built in the 13th century, which until the end of the 17th century was the seat of power for local authorities. The museum in the main castle focuses on the history of the castle itself. You can learn about the construction of the castle, the birth of the town of Haapsalu, and the fate of the rulers and locals of the Bishopric of Ösel–Wiek. In order to better understand the life of that time, guests can try out different mechanisms. The passages on the walls offer a wonderful view of the castle and the picturesque town of Haapsalu.

Lääne-Nigula Church

Driving on the highway through Taebla you will see Lääne-Nigula Church. The building was restored in 1816, the steeple dates back to 1882. The height of the church is 52.2 metres of which the spire is 26.7 metres. There is an old cemetery around the church. You will find the old crosses and headstones in the cemetery interesting. The present interior design of the church dates back to the 19th century. The magnificent Empire style altar wall was made by master Sigismund from St Petersburg. Interesting facts: The altar paintings “Last Supper” and “Resurrection” are copies of Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings.