Some info about Orissaare Parish

Kaart lähiümbruskonnast

Main tourist attractions in Orissaare Parish are the Castle of Maasi with its moat, Islet of Illiku, Rannaküla marina, Pulli cliff and on 19th century built poultry in Rannaküla, with its rather original architecture.

Sea and boat tourist are certainly interested about Orissaare harbor which is located on the Islet of Illiku, distance just 700 m from the Orissaare town center. It is a convenient harbour for yachts and other vessels with maximum 2.5 metres draught. Sailing visitors can get everything they need here. Orissaare marina with the Islet of Illiku and a Small Channel (Väike Väin) are offering good conditions for sailing.

The Islet of Illiku also belongs to the international bird protection reserve where people have a good opportunity to observe birds and hear their "singing concert".

Small travel guide

First of all we would recommend you to visit the nearest attraction - the ruins of Maasi stronghold that are located only 400 meters from the Holiday Home just right beside the sea. Orissaare Parish started the restoration of the castle in year 2001. Castles first floor and gate are almost fully preserved, partially are preserved also second and third floor where it is possible to take a good look to the surrounding sea and land. Visiting the castle is free of charge as most of the tourist attractions in Saaremaa.

After visiting the castle we would first recommend you to take the tour to the west if you have the possibility to travel a bit further. The Panga cliff (Mustjala pank) is located on the western side of the north coast of Saaremaa, close to the village of Panga. Distance from the Holiday home is ca 50 km if you drive through Leisi and besides a beautiful northern coast of Saaremaa. It is the highest of the Saaremaa and Muhu cliffs, reaching to a maximum of 21.3 meters. The entire cliff is approximately 2.5 kilometers long and from that cliff. It is quite obvious that from that cliff you can take breathtaking photos from the surrounding sea.

If visiting that area, you could go and take a look to fascinating springs of Odalätsi in the midst of wild nature (distance form Panga cliff ca 25 km). Close to Odalätsi village the water "springs" to the surface in tens of bubbly springs that form pools, streams and ultimately the Pidula stream. Quite close to the springs is a fish farm and if you feel bit hungry you could pay a visit and try you luck in fishing :) No problem if unsuccessful - good assistance is available and nobody does not have to leave hungry - food will be cooked and served on spot.

One place that you certainly should visit is also one of the greatest symbols of Saaremaa - group of windmills in Angla. They are located on the 32rd km of Upa-Leisi road (driving ca 5 km from Leisi to the inland direction, distance from the holiday home ca 30 km). It is the only one remaining windmill hill on Saaremaa. In 1925, when the village of Angla consisted of 13 farms, there were nine wind catchers on the hill but even preserved five have an impressive look. Of the five windmills at Angla, four are typical Saaremaa type of wooden windmill, built in the beginning of 20th century. The largest one on the hill is a Holland-type of windmill built in 1927, except that typically Holland-type windmills were built of stone. This one is an eight-sided wooden construction.

Very close to windmills (ca 3 km towards Koikla) is located unique Church of Karja. This is the smallest medieval church in Saaremaa, dedicated to St. Catherine and St. Nicholas. Although small, it is the most beautiful of the churches in Saaremaa. It is the sculptural decor that makes the church a real jewel. Its portals, bosses and vaulting supports are decorated with superb High Gothic stone decor. Such rich ornamentation and artistic quality cannot be found anywhere else in Estonian limestone architecture. The vault above the choir is covered with strange signs the meaning of which remains unclear. It has been assumed that they were intended for keeping demonic powers out of the church, following the principle that evil should be warded off with evil.

If you managed to visit all those places mentioned above you have been extremely fast and organized! Most likely you should head back now towards Maasi holiday home and even if you did not manage to visit some of those places - well, these places most likely will be there also tomorrow and day after that :)

Our "neighbor" on the other side of the Small Channel is Koguva Village and Muhu museum on the island of Muhu. Direct distance is only 4 km but if you don't have a boat or are not extremely good swimmer then most likely you need a bike or some other vehicle to get there. Driving distance is ca 19 km. After crossing the dam and short ride you have to turn left on the 15th km of Kuivastu-Kuressaare road. After that turn you need to go on ca 5-6 km. Koguva village is the best preserved 19th century village in Estonia. All of the buildings are architectural landmarks. Most of the buildings date from the 19th century. The oldest buildings, dating to the 18th century, are in the middle of the village. The stone fences found throughout Koguva village are over 200 years old. The family home of famous Estonian writer Juhan Smuul, Tooma farm, is a museum. It should also be mentioned that aside from the one museum complex, Koguva village is a lived-in village. It is home to the villagers of Koguva.

When being on Muhu Island we also suggest you to visit beautiful St. Katherine's Church of Muhu. On the way back to Saaremaa we recommend to visit Nautse Village and Laasu ostrich farm on Muhu Island. Kind people will tell you lot of interesting information about these big birds and of course you can see and feed some of them. There is also a possibility to purchase souvenirs related with ostriches.

After crossing the dam and returning to Saaremaa Island you might as well may turn left and head to the Kübassaare peninsula - the most eastern part of Saaremaa. Distance from the dam ca 15 km and from the holiday home ca 20 km. On that peninsula you can find wild and primeval broadleaf forest which is unique in the whole Island. Besides the forest there are also very beautiful costal meadows and seaside areas that offer plenty of opportunities for swimming and picnic.

Next place on the list could be Pöide St. Mary's church. Distance from holiday home ca 9-10 km. Pöide church can be seen from afar due to the flatness of the surrounding landscape. The size and massiveness of the church make it look more like a castle. In fact, the church of Pöide is closely linked with the fortification of Saaremaa during the middle ages. In previous year there has been also possibility to go to the church tower where one could just gasp due to this absolutely remarkable view to the surrounding scenic landscape.

Very close distance to the church of Pöide is located Kahutsi ring fort. Oldest findings are dated back to Stone Age - more than 4000 years ago. Unfortunately there is not much left from the 12th century built new and mighty stronghold that was built on the place of old one. But nevertheless the banks of the fortress that are 10-11 m high from outside and 5-6 m high from inside give us a clue about the past mightiness. The size of the inner yard of the stronghold is ca 4500 m² which is much bigger than fortifications have in Muhu, Valjala or Kaarma. And of course there is also a beautiful view to the surrounding area.

These were just some of the sites that are worth visiting while staying in Saaremaa. Certainly there are many other interesting places as well. For example if you have more time then you could spend one day visiting Kuressaare and its Episcopal Castle and on the way back also Kaali meteorite craters or any other places not mentioned here before. But sometimes it is not necessary to go very far to feel the spirit of Saaremaa. One could feel that even when walking about in villages close to the Castle of Maasi. There are many archaic farms with beautiful gardens and village roads bordered with old stonewalls...

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