|Ida-Virumaa County at Lake Peipsi|
Ida-Virumaa County is the northeasternmost county of Estonia bordering the Gulf of Finland to the north, River Narva to the east and Lake Peipsi to the south. Ida-Virumaa is known as an important industrial site, but it is home to numerous surprising sights and beautiful natural landscapes.
Ruins of the old Vasknarva order castle – which dates back to the year 1349 – can be viewed by visitors on the shore of River Narva. Its name (‘Coppernarva’) is said to descend from the copper roof of the order castle. Today one can view the walls and round towers of the castle which has been repeatedly destroyed and re-erected in the beginning of the 17thcentury.
In Kuremäe – the highest hill of the region, the most magnificent sight of Ida-Virumaa can be found – the only Russian-Orthodox Convent in Estonia. It’s called the Kuremäe Orthodox Dormition Convent, built from 1892 to 1910 and it’s functional until today.
The most important building is the main church of Godmother’s Dormition with its grand gate towers and walls. There are numerous side buildings in the convent yard. Other sights you’ll find interesting are the chapel, nuns’ cemetery, the giant oak and swimming house at the wellspring – the water is said to have healing powers. The convent can also be viewed from Ida-Virumaa’s highest natural point – the Iisaku observation tower.
On the northern shores of Peipsi you’ll find sandy beaches which are known as good swimming places for decades already.
In the northernmost parish Alajõe which mostly engages in tourism and fishing, one can find a 26km long coastline with a number of places for recreation – most known of them being hotel “Suvi” and “Villa Marika”. Most important sight of Alajõe is the traditional orthodox brick-church built in 1889 by Rudolf Otto Knüpfer in historical style.
Most popular holiday destinations at the northern coast of Peipsi are definitely the beaches of Kauksi and Rannapungerja. Next to iridescent waters of the lake, the coastal pines and sand dunes, tourists can visit the white lighthouse of Rannapungerja, the old postal houses and the boat port.
Close to Rannapungerja-Rakvere freeway in the midst of Alutaguse forests, in the hamlet of Tudulinna, you’ll find 2 churches. Rahukoguduse church, completed between 1938 and 1939 by the project of E. Sacharias, was built next to an old wooden church. The traditionally-shaped hall church has a gable roof with concave eaves and a four-pane western tower helmet. In the 1930s there was a church row resulting in the reactional part of the congregation erecting a new church with towers facing the east.
You can take a walk in the military cemetery of Tudulinna, with the statue of the War of Freedom.
In the northwestern part of Peipsi there’s the small hamlet of Lohusuu, with a port in the mouth of the river Avijõe. Lohusuu is a fishers village – but carries significance in Estonian history. In 1763 the outstanding national enlightener, linguist and the man who implemented the letter «Õ» in Estonian – Otto Wilhelm Masing – was born here.
In Lohusuu you’ll find the Lutheran church, built in 1878 to 1882 in neo-gothic style, surrounded by a cemetery with a chapel. Inside, look at the neo-gothic altar, the pulpit, the organ balcony and the altar painting. The orthodox church in Lohusuu is also worth a visit.
Avinurme is situated some dozen kilometers country inwards – a place where a lot of nice wooden things are made. In the old pastorate you’ll find the local museum showing exhibitions of the art that local basket makers and carpenters do. Avinurme’s wooden goods have always been traded on fairs and in order to revive this tradition, since the year 2000 each summer for the St. John’s day the traditional barrel fair takes place. A small part of a narrow-track railway has been restored, which can be used for trips.
If moving towards south, you’ll pass through the coastal villages of Tammispää and Ninasi, which are interesting for their symmetrical house placement, resembling street-villages.
One will also find numerous nature- and hiking tracks in Ida-Virumaa, the most well-known of these in Kurtna, Kotka and Kauksi.