Posted by: Rasma R | September 30, 2013

Lahemaa National Park, Northern Estonia

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Just 70 kilometers east of the capital Tallinn lays Lahemaa National Park and it is the largest park in Estonia. To the north of the park is the Gulf of Finland. It was established in 1971 and has become quite popular. There are companies which offer day tour packages to Lahemaa National Park from Tallinn. The park is heavily forested and rich in flora and fauna. There are raise bogs among them the Laukasoo Reserve which is 7000 years old. Wildlife within the park includes bears, lynx, and wolves.

In the park you can find four manors – Palmse manor, Vihula manor, Kolga manor and the baroque Sagadi manor. Of all of them the Sagadi is the most visited.

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Palmse manor once belonged to St. Michael convent in Tallinn in the middle ages. Besides the manor house which you can visit there are other buildings on the grounds like a distillery, greenhouse and barn. The park surrounding the estate has romantic pavilions and a bath-house.

Vilhula manor dates back to 1501 and has belonged to various Baltic German aristocratic families. During Soviet occupation this manor was a collective farm. The house has neo-Renaissance details. Outer buildings include a palm house and a”coffee house”.

Kolaga is a small borough in Kuusalu Parish, Harju County in Northern Estonia within Lahemaa National Park and is best known for its classicist manor.

Sagadi is a village in Vihula Parish within the park’s territory. The Sagadi estate dates back to 1469 and has belonged to several different Baltic German families. The manor house was designed in rococo-style. There are 20 outbuildings and a surrounding park. The main house is historically furnished.

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In the national park you can find areas which are covered by mires and forests and are home to moose, boars, brown bears, lynxes, and foxes. On the beaver trail one can discover the lives of beavers which is located in a picturesque valley between two rivers the Oandu and the Altja. Common birds seen here are the Ural Owl and Black Woodpecker; the Common Crane arrives here to feed in the fall.

A fascinating thing about Lahemaas is that the shoreline and cultural heritage are intertwined as from this area fishermen would go to the Finnish islands to catch fish and seals and the sea was used for trading. There are famous fishing villages here Kasmu a captains’ village, Altja a fishermen’s village and Vinistu a village of spirit smugglers and now the location of an art museum. The park also has lots of pine forests.

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The visitor’s center is located in Palmse, in Sagadi you can see a forest museum and in Oandu you can participate at a nature school. Vosu a former resort area is great for beach holidays. You can wander the nature trails or explore on bike and discover a whole other world.

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