Top Historic Sights in Valga, Estonia

Explore the historic highlights of Valga

Valga Town Hall

The Town Hall was built in 1865 and its high half-hipped roof, skylights and turrets make it one of the most outstanding examples of historicist architecture in Estonia. There is a memorial tablet to Johannes Märtson, who was the mayor from 1902 to 1917, in the foyer of the Town Hall.
Founded: 1865 | Location: Valga, Estonia

St. John's Church

The St. John’s (Jaani) church in Valga is one of the most beautiful churches in Estonia. The construction started in 1787, but it was not completed until 1816. The church represents Baroque and Classicism styles. It was built according to the design of architect Christoph Haberland and it is the only church in Estonia with an oval ground plan. The unique organ has been preserved in its original shape and it is the o ...
Founded: 1787-1816 | Location: Valga, Estonia

Stefan Bathory Monument

Valga is first mentioned as a meeting point of tradesmen in the Riga Credit Book of 1286, but it got its city rights only in 1584 from the king of Poland, Stefan (István) Bathory, who was originally Hungarian. To commemorate this, a monument to Stefan Bathory was opened opposite St John's church in the centre of the town in 2003.
Founded: 2003 | Location: Valga, Estonia

Valga Roman Catholic Church

The church was built of natural stone and bricks in 1907. Lithuanian and Polish railway workers were actively involved in building the church. The church operated until 1940 and from 1945, the building was used as a warehouse and later as a gym. The extension of the church was built in 1995 and the church was renovated.
Founded: 1906-1907 | Location: Valga, Estonia

Valga Orthodox Church

The Orthodox church of Saint Isidore was built between 1897-1898 and it was designed by V. J. Lunski. The church has five octagonal cupolas and represents the neo-classicism style.
Founded: 1897-1898 | Location: Valga, 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.