Peipsi

Kasepää Municipality, Mustvee Town, Pala Municipality, Saare Municipality, Torma Municipality

On Reastvere Kalevipoeg’s Bed some oak blocks, the remains of a wooden fortification, were found during an excavation. By folklore Kalevipoeg had a nap on this hill and afterwards helped a widow with haymaking. The present Torma Church, a massive building with a baroque tower, was built from 1755 to 1766 and renovated 100 years later. The interior contains a neo-Gothic altar and an altarpiece by Zhiltsov (1868). The calyx-shaped rococo pulpit is unique. Kõnnu Memorial, erected to commemorate the members of the local Defence League who fought against the Red Army in 1918, was opened in 1930 and reopened in 1988.

Mustvee, as a place name, appeared for the first time in records in 1493. The town is situated on both sides of the Mustvee River that flows into Lake Peipus. Lake Peipus, the main attraction of Mustvee, is the fourth-biggest lake in Europe. The opalescent sheet of water reaches the horizon. The lake is rich in fish. Even on cold winter days ice fishermen, thousands of black spots against the white background of the lake, are trying their luck. Mustvee is remarkable for its five churches that represent five different confessions of faith: St Nicholas’ Orthodox (1864), the Sole Faith Congregation of Mercy and Holy Trinity (1877), Lutheran Evangelic (1880), Old Believers (1930) and Bethany (2007). Mustvee Old Believers Museum introduces local history and culture. The bolder with the text in Low German in the park on the left side of the Mustvee River is considered to have marked the frontier between the Order of the Brethren of the Sword and the Bishopric of Tartu. The stone was found in the Mustvee River in 1910 and replaced to its present site. By folklore it hides a treasure.

In the 17th century the Russian Old Believers, persecuted in Russia for their confession of faith, settled down on the western coast of Peipus. The unique street-village, many kilometres long, contains Raja, Kükita, Tiheda and Kasepää villages. The Old Believers of Raja village were permitted to build their own sanctuary not earlier than in 1879. The church was destroyed in WW II, later the campanile was recreated. In Raja village the icon writer Gavriil Frolov founded his famous school of icon writing. The world-famous artist Pimen Sofronov (1898-1973) was one of his disciples. On the side of the Kodavere-Mustvee road, in Ranna, grows the Thousand Year Oak. Many legends are related to it. At the beginning of the 20th century the tree was burnt, only one big branch has survived (girth 486cm, height 16m), it is considered to be 400 years old. Kodavere Church dates from 1342. The present St. Michael’s Church is the fourth church on the site. This stone building was completed in 1777. On the western façade there is a triangular pediment and a cylinder-shaped tower with an onion-shaped spire.

In Pala nature trails can be explored. The Jõemõisa-Kaiu Lake chain has become popular with holidaymakers for the beauty of surrounding landscape and a recreation centre. East of the lakes the big Sõõru forests attract people in autumn to mushroom and pick berries.

By a legend in Kääpa, a short distance from the bridge on the Kääpa river, Kalevipoeg was killed by his own sword, just as the curse had foretold. In olden days people wanted to pull the sword out of the river. Six and even eight pairs of oxen were pulling with all their might but sorcery kept the sword on the bottom of the river. Sometimes it showed itself on the surface as if fooling the people. Then it fell back into the water again. And there we can see it at the present times. The museum of Kalevipoeg in Saare introduces the national epic “Kalevipoeg” by F. R. Kreutzwald and the legends and places of Kalevipoeg as well as local history.

In Kalevipoeg’s theme park different attractions demonstrate how big Kalevipoeg was believed to be. Saare Recreation Area consists of a large overgrown manor park and Lake Saare. All that remains of a stylish manorial ensemble are outbuildings. The Saare Manor was documented in 1512. Nowadays we find a herb garden with many different herbs behind the outbuildings. From there a lime-tree alley leads to the burial ground of the Mannteuffel family in the primeval forest on the shore of Lake Saare. A nature trail round the lake can be explored. In the fast developing Voore recreation area on the land of former Roela manor there is a beautiful artificial lake.