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Andrey Plokhotnichenko

Narva 9C, Mustvee

A lot of places of interest are situated no more than an hour of driving away from Mustvee; you can travel around the outskirts of the town by bicycle. On the road to Tartu on the coasts of Chudskoe lake, old believers’ villages of Raja, Kikita, Tiheda, Kazepya are situated and etc. Today Mustvee is a cozy provincial town.

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Outskirts of the town

On the road to Tartu on the coasts of Chudskoe lake, old believers’ villages of Raja, Kikita, Tiheda, Kazepya are situated. These villages’ buildings are situated close to one another, and one village merges with another; this location is known as “street village”, and its total length is seven kilometers. Spectacular examples of old believers’ village houses can be found here, with low roofs, closed yards and stone houses of richer old believers.

Raja.Closest to Mustvee is the village of Raja; here, an old faith temple can be found. The temple was funded by famous icon artist Frolov, the founder of icon artist school in Chudskoe region. The temple burnt down in 1944, but luckily, the icons and books were saved. The belltower was rebuilt in 1990.

Kikita.It is considered that this village’s original name is “Nikitovka” after its founder, Ivan Nikitin, who took refuge in the region during religious conflict in Russia. Local chapel was widely used by local Cossacks of the old believers during Napoleonic wars. In 1863, the old prayer house has collapsed, and a new temple was build and sanctified in the same year. The building burnt down during World War 2, and currently existing temple was built and funded by locals in the year 1949.

Tiheda.In Tiheda it’s recommended to visit a permanent exposition called “Room of Chudskoe’s Life”. Here, one can learn about Chudskoe’s plant and animal life. The exhibition is illustrated by a model 4 meters long and 1.4 meters wide. Major towns, museums, places of interest and watchtowers can be seen on the model. Learn more on Visitestonia.

In the building next to the exposition, a museum of Samovars can be found. The collection features 50 samovars, and other attributes of traditional Russian tea-drinking. Objects of everyday life of old believers can be also viewed. Learn more on Puhkaeestis.

Places of interest around one hour away from Mustvee

A lot of places of interest are no more than an hour away from Mustvee. A great share of these places can be found in the city of Tartu. Streets of millennia-old city can be seen here, and modern trade centers are open to visit. Families with children will find Vudila park, situated in Kayavere region. Not far away, woodland resort Vlistvere can be found. Additionally, Ice Age Museum in Jaksi can be visited. All these places of interest are situated not far from the main road, and are easily found by following the road signs.

For those who prefer strolls through historic places, an old road to Tartu will be of a great interest. The road takes you through old villages on the coast of the lake. Make a stop in Kallaste town, an old believers’ fishing village. Coasts nearby Kallaste is exceptionally picturesque, primarily due to sandstone cliffs of varied height. A lot of minor caves can be found here. The town also features an old chapel.

It is worth visiting other villages: the village of Nina has an old orthodox church, Kolkja — an old believers’ museum, Kasepeja — chapel of Russian old believers which is active since XVIII century. Varnja is one of the oldest Russian settlements, local chapel is situated right to the coast of Chudskoe lake.

On your way back to Mustvee it is highly recommended to make a stop in Alatskivi, where one of the most beautiful mansions in Estonia, Alatskivi Castle, can be found. This castle was inspired by royal residence in castle Balmoral, Scotland. Alatskivi Castle’s interior is open for visits; furthermore, a restaurant combining three traditional cuisines — German, Scottish and Estonian — is open for business inside the castle halls. From atop the towers and terraces of the castle, spectacular view on surrounding landscape opens up. A tourist route leads through parks surrounding the castle and allows to get a better view on a lake neighboring the castle.

Outskirts of the town

70 kilometers from Mustvee, down the road to Tallinn, another town rich in history, Rakvere, can be found. Rakvere does not boast the rich city life as much as Tartu, but it holds its own charm. Here, remnants of a keep dating as far back as 1272 can be seen. In XVIII century, the major part of the keep was rebuilt into a magnificent palace in Rococo style. In the palace yard, Pyltsamaa (the name of the region) museum can be found; palace cellar holds a collection of local wines open for testing.

Further to the north from Mustvee lies Rakvere, a town featuring an old castle on a hilltop. In summer, events and fests are held in the castle, including exhibitions, medieval cuisine restaurants, and medieval-style entertainments.

In the village of Kyremaa, not far from the town of Johve, Puhtitsky monastery can be found. Found in 1891, the monastery has never been closed, and up until now is the only open Orthodoxal Convent. The monastery is open, and excursions for history lovers are carried out by the nuns.

Places of interest within the town

The town of Mustvee lies in Western Estonia at the shore of Chudskoe lake, the fourth biggest lake in Europe. The first written mentions of the village of Chorna date as far as 1439. In the 18th century, the village was mostly inhabited by Old Believers. Mustvee’s current name is explained by dark waters in the river which flows through the town. Today Mustvee’s population is close to 2000, with 57% of population being Russian. Major part of these people are distant descendants of the Old Believers who fled the religious prosecutions in Russia. Today Mustvee is a cozy provincial town with five churches of different confessions.

Places of interest for promenade

The closest to our hotel is a church of the old believers. Constructed in 1877 and paid by the emperor’s coin, the church was donated for perpetuate use to Svyato-Troitsky Yedinovercheskiy Parish. The church used to have six bells, one of which weighed 30 poods and five pounds (482 kg.) and was inscribed with the words “Highly donated by Lord Emperror to Chernoselskaya Yedinovercheskaya Church”. The church’s iconostasis used to sport three levels of ancient icons. Services were carried out within this church up until the year 1957, when the church was closed by the government. In 2003 the church was re-donated to the Parish for perpetual use.

Places of interest within the town

Next to the church building, a local history museum is situated. The exposition of the museum is mainly dedicated to everyday life and commons of Old Believers’ community.

Places of interest within the town

Another place of interest is a granite stone with inscription in German. The stone served as a border sign for Bishopric of Tartu. The stone was found in the river in 1910. Currently is situated in the center of Mustvee.

Places of interest within the town

Temple of st. Nicolas

Stone temple dedicated to Saint Nicolas was funded by government and constructed by the project of architect Edelson in 1861-1864; sanctification was carried out in 1866. The temple’s iconostasis has two levels and is gilded. The Parish used to have a priest’s house and three schools: a school for boys, a school for girls and additional school in village of Raja.

Places of interest within the town

Further down the road to Tartu is a Lutheran church, which was constructed in 1880 in neogothic style. It is known that one of the church’s towers collapsed during construction. In 1939, the church’s interior was severely damaged by fire; a new altar was provided by Viliandy’s church.

Places of interest within the town

Across the road from the Lutheran church, a small street with an unusual name for Eastonia is situated. Benito Agirre street is named after a Spanish pilot who was shot down by Nazi air force in the year 1944 not for from Chudskoe lake.

Here, you can proceed further by a road leading back to the shore of Chudskoe lake. Here, next to the wharf, an Old Believers’ church is situated. This is the biggest church of Old Believers in Estonia.

Old Believers’ church was constructed in 1927. Initially the building was built from wood, however, several years past the completion additional works were carried out in order to make the church into a stone building. Famous local icon artists Frolov, Safronov and Solntsev took part in perfecting the church’s interior. The church was sanctified in the summer of 1930, with more than 3 thousand people attending the ceremony.

Places of interest within the town

Across the road from the church, a mass grave is situated; statue by the name of “grieving maid” by Elmar Rebane signifies its place. A memorable cross not far from this location signifies the place of now forgotten graveyard of old believers.