The last two days I have written about the day I spent on Saaremaa Island back in mid August during my trip around Estonia. I also told you how I had to cut my time on that island short because I had to catch a small ferry across to Hiiumaa Island and it only runs a couple times a day.
Hiiumaa Island is most famous for its lighthouses and two of them were good, had great views of the surrounding area, were cast iron, and were brought in from Pars in 1873. The Ristna lighthouse is on the western most point in Estonia, while Tahkuna Lighthouse (cover photo) is at the northern end of the island.
But it was Kõpu Lighthouse that I liked the most and that is because of its history. You see this massive lighthouse is the third-oldest constantly active lighthouse in the world and did not even start out as a lighthouse. It was completed in 1531 as a landmark for vessels to see during the day. If you look at the photo you can tell the building and the pedestal it sits on are made of different construction. At first the pedestal stood by itself as a massive, solid structure and in 1649 a ladder was attached to the side and a metal basket affixed to the top so wood could be burned to make it a lighthouse. In 1810 the building with two rooms and the stairs leading to it were cut into the structure and oil lanterns were used. In 1949 electricity was introduced.
Another thing to make sure you see on Hiiumaa Island is Suuremõisa Manor, the grandest baroque manor ensemble in Estonia. Although the history of the estate can be traced back to at least the 16th century, the current building was erected in 1755-60 by the Stenbock family. It has a fascinating history, but boiled down to the family squandering its money and the manor ending up in the government’s hand. It is now a museum and a school, which is an interesting combo but it works.
I also accidentally found these really cool bunkers…..maybe I should hold off on that story and tell you about it tomorrow. 🙂 I hope you join me, because it turned out to be my favorite part of the island.