Top Historic Sights in Pärnu, Estonia

Explore the historic highlights of Pärnu

St. Elizabeth's Lutheran Church

The Lutheran church named after Empress Elizabethis one of the most significant Baroque-style churches in Estonia. It was built betweenn 1744-1747 under the guidance of J. H. Güterbock from Riga. The neo-gothic pulpit and altar were made in 1850; the altarpiece (“Resurrection”) dating from 1854 was completed in Van der Kann’s workshop in Rotterdam. In 1893, the wooden building of the oldest theatre of the town (K ...
Founded: 1744-1747 | Location: Pärnu, Estonia

Red Tower

The Red Tower (which is actually white) is the only defence tower left from medieval Hanseatic city of New-Pärnu. It is the oldest city’s architectural monument and was used as the prison. According to the chronics, in 14th century Pärnu was encircled by a fortified wall with many towers: the round Viliand Tower, also know as the White Tower, in the north-eastern corner and Red Tower in the south-eastern c ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Pärnu, Estonia

Tallinn Gate

So-called Tallinn Gate is the only remaining 17th century gate of the city wall in Baltic Countries. It was built between 1675 and 1686 and designed probably by Swedish Erik Dahlberg. During the teardown of the fortification in the 19th century only the Tallinn Gate was preserved, as well as the embankments and the trench that leads to the Venuse Bastion at the riverside - the so called Vallikäär.
Founded: 1675-1686 | Location: Pärnu, Estonia

Pärnu Kuursaal

Built in the 1880s, Kuursaal (Casino), a restaurant and musical salon, has always been an important centre of Pärnu's resort life. In summer evenings, most events have taken place outside, around the outdoor stage. The outdoor stage, designed by the city architect O. Siinmaa in 1936, was an elegant interpretation of Pärnu's "resort functionalism" in wood. As a result of the renovations carried out in 1980s, it ...
Founded: 1880's | Location: Pärnu, Estonia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Externsteine Stones

The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.

In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.

The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.

The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.