Top Historic Sights in Hiiumaa, Estonia

Explore the historic highlights of Hiiumaa

Kõpu Lighthouse

Kõpu Lighthouse s one of the best known symbols and tourist sights on the Estonian island of Hiiumaa. It is one of the oldest lighthouses in the world, having been in continuous use since its completion in 1531. The most important East–West shipping lane in the Baltic Sea passed the Hiiu sandbank. Already before the year 1490 the Hanseatic merchants were seeking permission to mark this peninsula with an outs ...
Founded: 1531 | Location: Hiiumaa, Estonia

Suuremõisa Manor

The first record of Suuremõisa Manor date back to the year 1519. The present manor house was built by the countess Ebba Margaretha Stenbock in the middle of the 18th century. The countess is buried in the mausoleum next to Pühalepa Church. Several dramatic events took place at the manor at the turn of the 18th–19th century. Baron Otto Reinhold Ludwig von Ungern-Sternberg (1744-1811) was a nobleman of Baltic German or ...
Founded: 18th century | Location: Hiiumaa, Estonia

Pühalepa Church

The Pühalepa Church is Hiiumaa’s oldest stone church. In 1255, the German Order started the construction of a stone fortress-church. Initially lacking a steeple, the arched stone church was completed in the 14th century, but the construction of the steeple was not started until 1770. During the Livonian war (16th century) the Pühalepa church was plundered, but it was restored again at the beginning of the 17th centur ...
Founded: 1255 | Location: Hiiumaa, Estonia

Reigi Church

The stone church of Reigi was built between 1800-1802 to replace the earlier wooden one built in the 1690. It was donated by Count Ungern- Sternberg, who had the church built in memory of his son Gustav who killed himself because he was heavily in debt to gamblers. Gustav is buried in the churchyard at Reigi. On the top of the church steeple you can see a sculpture of a lily which was part of the coat-of-arms for the Ung ...
Founded: 1800-1802 | Location: Hiiumaa, Estonia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Heraclea Lyncestis

Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.

Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.

The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.

Late Antiquity and Byzantine periods

In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.

The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.

The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.