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.

Vormsi Farm Museum

Vormsi is an island where Swedes lived for centuries. Documents show that there was a settlement as early as in the 13th century. Vormsi was a Swedish-speaking island, where, for example, in 1934, 2,393 Swedes and 122 Estonians lived. Vormsi Farm Museum is a typical pre-World War II farm of Estonian Swedish people. The farm has been restored with the help of old photographs, written sources, and the memories of the people of Vormsi who were born in Vormsi and fled Sweden to escape the war. The museum sells Vormsi handicrafts, souvenirs, and Vormsi-themed books.

Carl Abraham Hunniuse Monument

On the Promenade make a stop at the monument to Carl Abraham Hunniuse (1797-1851), who established the resort of Haapsalu. Dr. Hunnius was the first to notice that the local residents used the sea mud to find relief for their ailments and was inspired to start investigating the properties of the mud. At his initiative, the first therapeutic mud baths were established in Haapsalu in 1825. Interesting fact: Haapsalu was named an Imperial resort, and Russian Tsars Nicholas I, Alexander II, Alexander III and Nicholas II and their families all vacationed here and took the mud baths. Come and try a Haapsalu therapeutic mud bath in the Hestia and Fra Mare Spa hotels!

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.

The building of Läänemaa Upper Secondary School

The historic building has accommodated a school for almost 200 years, making it one of the oldest schools in Haapsalu. The oldest part of the schoolhouse was built at the end of the 18th century, the newest part in 1928. The completely renovated school that re-opened in 2013 is now called Läänemaa Upper Secondary School; formerly, it was named in the honour of linguist and scientist F. J. Wiedemann. Some years ago the schoolhouse got an extension – a sports hall, which is the most contemporary sports facility in town. One can cheer for their favourite team there, rent the gym for sport games, use the body building centre and the sauna. The building belongs in the National Registry of Cultural Monuments.

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 Town Hall

The historic Town Hall building (1775) introduces the 190-year resort history of Haapsalu. The resort changed the urban structure of Haapsalu, brought new connections, a different way of life, and a broader world view. The visitor sees the development of the provincial town into an imperial resort of the Russian Empire and a lovely Estonian summer vacation town. In addition, the Town Hall exhibition house offers interesting themed exhibitions.