Setomaa & Võrumaa tour

8:30 Departure from Tartu (the Dorpat hotel parking lot, address Soola 6)
9:50-10:30 Mooska Farm
11:00-12:20 Vastseliina Episcopal Castle
12:20-13:00 Lunch at Neuhausen’s House
13:10-14:20 Meremäe Hill and Seto Art Gallery at Obinitsa
14:50-15:30 Jumalamägi (God's hill) and Old George's Soap Chamber
15:45-16:30 The Seto Farm Museum in Värska
16:45-17:00 Podmotsa village
18:30 Arriving back to Tartu

Organisers have a right to make changes to the tour programme.

NOTE: Most places will not accept debit or credit cards. In order to buy souvenirs plase bring some change with you. 

 

The day starts at Mooska farm where we can see traditional smoke saunas, which have a dignified place in the list of UNESCO intangible cultural heritages. Smoked meat and fish are also part of the local tradition and one of the smoke saunas is used for excactly that - smoking different kinds of meat.

"We live and breathe in harmony with nature and ancester's legacy," say the family who run the farm. 

The next stop will be Vastseliina Episcople Castle. In 1379 the Master of Order Vrymersheim described Vastseliina as the strongest and the most reinforced castle in Livonia.

It was only in the beginning of the Livonian War, in 1558 than the defence capacity of the castle was pushed to its limits facing the 80 000 warriors of Ivan the Terrible. In order to avoid the fatal damages, the castle’s garrison surrendered to Russian army.

The castle was completely destroyed during the The North War (1700–1721) by the solders of Tsar Peter I. Only some years earlier the Tsar himself had visited Vastseliina. Today you can roam around between the walls and see what was life like before the destruction of the castle in a nearby museum.

After that, we have an introduction to Setomaa at Meremäe Hill, where we can see the Setomaa map. The Meremäe Hill belongs to the eastern part of Haanja upland and a large part of Setomaa can be seen from the Hill in clear weather as well as Petseri abbey church domes and reflection of water from Pihkva Lake.

Then we head to Obinitsa, that is one of the culturally richest villages in Setomaa and had an honour of bearing the title of the Finno-Ugric Culture Capital. It means that this small village was the capital for 25 million finno-ugric people. We also visit a Hal´as Kunn Art Gallery, where we can find permanent exhibition of older and contemporary Seto art

 

We will also visit Jumalamägi (God's hill), a small hill with a statue of Peko, Setomaa's fertility god on top of it. After that we will enter Old George's Soap Chamber, which to the best of our knowledge is the first soap chamber in Setomaa's history. They make only ecological hand-made soaps and use holy water from the Pskov-Caves (Petseri) Monastery in Russia. A local man looking for a new output has made a new career out of it!

 

 

Then we will enter Russia legally and without Visa and visit the Seto Farm Museum in Värska. The museum enables the visitors to learn about the farm architecture, old tools and rich collection of handicraft items dating from the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. The exposition comprises a half-enclosed yard, a dwelling, storehouses for clothes, grain and food, a bam with a hay shed, a workshop, other sheds, a smoke sauna, a pottery, a smithy, a barn and kiln house and a tea house. The majority of the buildings are original and originate from Nothern Setumaa. 

The museum also organises temporary special exhibitions. Visitors can participate in various events, such as winter holidays, Seto lace days, Folk tales’ nights and celebrations of folk calendar holidays.

We finish off our day by visiting Podmotsa village, where we will see a tsässon (small prayer house) from the 18th century and get a glimpse of Russia as the village is on the border of Estonia and the European Union. Kuulja Church on Russian side is only a 100 meters away!