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LIHULA - little town with big history

Autumn brings cloudy skies, but also golden leaves and mystical views that just invite me to explore. What can be better place for this gloomy season than a little hidden town with big history. Not that I am into spooky places but just need add some thematical thrill and spice into life on the lowest season possible around here. And to tell the truth I had to travel there because of my work and just took some time after for some exploration.

LIHULA - a small town in Estonia that has city rights since year 1993 but known as a settlement since the middle of the 1st century.

You find it in the middle of lowlands of Western Estonia on a surprizing element for the area - a limestone hill. The steep limestone hill is on the northern edge of the town and is named Castle Hill.

The Castle Hill is undoubtedly one of the most exciting places in this town. The ruins of the old stronghold and the main building of the classicist manor (built in 1824) can be found amicably side by side.

It's exciting to wander around these ruins, enjoy the view of the plains, and the more daring can also enter the castle's basement, which is open 24/7. And why not to visit the manor as well while already there (google the Lihula Muuseum site for further information).

According to Lihula Museum In 1211 Riga's archbishop Albert inaugurated Theodorich as the bishop of Estonia. The centre of the bishopric was to be in Lihula. The Construction of the Bishop's Castle began after the conquest of Estonia, namely in 1238 and it was finished in 1242.

The main castle was located on an oval-shaped hilltop, surrounded by a wall, which was at the same time an outer side of the buildings. The north and west sides of the hill were steep, the south and east sides shelving. For that reason the castle was protected from the south and east with two outworks separated by dry moats and stone walls.

During the Livonian War (1558-83) the castle repeatedly changed hands and it was greatly damaged. It was last besieged in 1581. After the war it was decided that the castle would not be restored and in 1643 the Queen of Sweden gave the permission to demolish it.

In 1990-1996 archaeological excavations were carried out on the east side of the main castle, where the walls of the pre-defence system of the main gate were uncovered. Research has shown that the Bishop's Castle of Lihula is one of the most unique defence buildings from the 13th century in the Baltic.

On the way down to the city from the Castle Hill, the Lihula Eliisabet church (built in 1876 to replace the earlier versions) is on the way. It looks grand but feels kind of gloomy for me.

The town itself definitely belongs to the category "cute", like most of the towns and villages in Estonia.

It is visible that nowadays trends have added modern and humorous touch to it. My personal favorites are definitely the bus stop and the sign on the wall of the Tapamaja gallery with the words: "If door does not open do not enter!" :)

Although modern fast roads direct us to move around cities and villages, it is always worthwhile to drive off those if possible, because there is never a direct road to a place worth visiting!


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